Anna Wintour icy toward Vogue’s first black cover model, ex-publicist says
Anna Wintour was cold as ice to Vogue magazine’s first-ever African American cover model, Beverly Johnson, according to the supermodel’s former publicist James Hester.
Hester told Page Six he had to fight tooth and nail to get Johnson invited to the mag’s 100th anniversary party in 1992 — and even then Wintour snubbed the model at the bash.
“Beverly made history as the first African American model to grace the cover of Vogue and they refused to invite her. It was a momentous occasion and obviously a huge moment in Beverly’s life. They kept saying, ‘We’ll get back to you’,” Hester said, “So, I had to get creative. I was working with C&C Music Factory and they were huge at the time, producing for Mariah Carey. I made a deal that they would dj for free and [“Deeper Love”] singer Deborah Cooper would perform in exchange for coverage in the magazine,” Hester told Page Six. “Anna Wintour gets the message, and I deliver them. I go back and I make another deal and said, Beverly Johnson would really love to be invited, and they finally agreed.”
Author Hester attempted to introduce Johnson to Wintour at the event. “I go up to her, and tell her I organized the music. I then asked, ‘Do you know Beverly Johnson?’ She said, ‘Yup,’ and walked away,’” he said.
Wintour did, however, include Johnson in the party coverage, but not in the way they hoped. “There was a double-page spread with a collage of pictures. Beverly’s picture was in there with her head cut off. [Wintour] has been awful to the black community,” he said.
When we reached out to Johnson, she replied: “Jimmy…. really does have a great memory… and that’s like a nice story.”
Wintour’s rep told us, “Anna has done much to champion diversity and inclusion throughout her tenure as editor-in-chief of Vogue, from putting Naomi Campbell on the cover of Anna’s first September issue in 1989 to supporting so many designers of color via the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund.”