Beverly Johnson is celebrating her monumental modeling career with a special project, a one-woman off-Broadway play. Johnson, a woman who is a legend in her own rite is telling her unique story through her lens at 59E59 Theaters in Manhattan. For this intimate show Beverly Johnson: In Vogue she recants her experiences over the years as an international muse.
One might recall the magazine cover that catapulted Johnson, a Buffalo, New York native into the spotlight. The August 1973 moment features her smiling and looking directly into the camera. When the cover was published, she became the first Black woman to and a Vogue cover. It’s somewhat a wholesome shot too, in it she dons a teal sweater with a stylish scarf wrapped elegantly around her neck. Gold earrings are the choice of accessories. This iconic moment was Johnson’s official foray into high fashion. At the time, Black models were not the norm so this was a historic moment not just for Johnson but also for models who aspired to be her.
The barrier-breaking that Johnson did nearly 50 years ago is important now largely because diversity in fashion still has a ways to go. Perhaps, Beverly Johnson: In Vogue, co-written by Johnson with the show’s director Josh Ravtech was created to also showcase the artistic depth of the model and actress. Vogue reports that the play is a monologue with pictures and music.
As for some takeaways from her life in the fashion industry: “My biggest lessons are in my huge mistakes. I’m happy to be alive; a lot of people didn’t make it,” Johnson tells Vogue. “A part of the show is really Beverly Johnson as tour guide, taking us through the last 50 years of America,” Ravetch adds.
Beverly Johnson: In Vogue is at 59E59 Theaters ending on February 4, 2024.