Beverly Johnson reflects on historic Vogue magazine cover 50 years later: “I’m so proud”

Beverly Johnson reflects on historic Vogue magazine cover 50 years later: "I'm so proud"

Trailblazer Beverly Johnson on her career

Model Beverly Johnson on her life, career 50 years after historic Vogue cover


Fifty years ago, Beverly Johnson made history as the first Black model to grace the cover of Vogue magazine. But Johnson told “CBS Mornings” she didn’t know she would be on the cover while shooting her infamous photo.

“In those days, you never knew if you were on the cover until you were on the cover,” she said.

The model recounted the surprise and joy of receiving the news from her agent and her rush to the newsstand, despite not having enough money to buy the magazine.

Looking back at her younger self on the cover, Johnson expressed a mix of pride and amazement. 

“I really love it. I’m so proud,” said Johnson.  

Beverly Johnson’s iconic Vogue cover from 1974.

CBS News

Johnson admitted it took time for the realization to sink in that she was making history. 

“It wasn’t until I was introduced as the first Black woman on the cover of Vogue that it hit me,” she said. “I literally went and studied this whole thing about racism,” said Johnson, who said she grew up in Buffalo N.Y. in an all-White neighborhood but had a desire to understand the responsibilities and implications of her groundbreaking role.

“I didn’t know the depths of that. I used to watch the civil rights movement on my black and white television, and that’s why I wanted to become a lawyer. So the whole thing kind of collided,” she said. 

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this groundbreaking moment, Johnson has taken to the stage with her one-woman, off-Broadway show, “Beverly Johnson: In Vogue,” an intimate narrative of her journey in the fashion world.

She’s also enjoying her new role as “grandma” and living her life away from the cameras and catwalks.

“It is the most delicious time of my life,” said Johnson.

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