The famous 69-year-old model returns to the fashion show

Many years ago, Beverly Johnson was one of the original “supermodels.” She walked on tracks of fashion shows around the world.

Today Johnson is 69 years old. She’s not letting her age stop her from walking the catwalks again. She has a simple answer to why she decided to get back into fashion during New York Fashion Week: she was asked to.

Johnson, a writer and businesswoman, has helped break down barriers for other black women in the modeling industry. In 1974, at the age of 22, she made the cover of the American magazine vogue magazine. This made her that magazine’s first black cover model. She has had great success in her modeling career. She became a sought-after face for many years, appearing on the covers of hundreds of magazines.

During this year’s New York Spring Fashion Week, Johnson scoured the fashion runways for designers Sergio Hudson and Bibhu Mohapatra. She was the last model to participate in the Mohapatra fashion show on February 15. The crowd cheered and cheered when they recognized her.

She wore a floor-length white dress, called a gown, with a spectacular black cap. She said she needed a little pre-show practice to walk the runway well.

“After taking that walking lesson, I was fine. It’s a wonderful, beautiful experience,” Johnson told The Associated Press after the show.

She said she was moved by today’s push for more the diversity and respect for different cultures in the fashion industry.

“All the models were models of color in honor of Black History Month,” Johnson said as she began to cry. “In 2024 it will (will be) my 50th anniversary of this historic cover of being the first black woman to cover American Vogue,” she added.

Johnson said Sergio Hudson is a successful black designer in the fashion industry. “It’s just wonderful to see that.”

Fashion from Sergio Hudson’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection is shown during Fashion Week, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in New York City. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

When Johnson first emerged in the fashion industry in the 1970s, she said she didn’t see that kind of representation by black designers or models.

Johnson said she enjoyed hanging out with the young models during this year’s New York Fashion Week. She found them “beautiful, elegant and wonderful”.

She noticed a big difference between them and her. And it wasn’t their age.

“The girls are much taller.” In the Hudson show, she said, no model was shorter than 1.8 meters. Back when she was a model, she says, 1.5 meters was enough.

Model Beverly Johnson walks the runway during the NYFW Fall/Winter 2022 Sergio Hudson Fashion Show at Spring Studios on Sunday, February 13, 2022 in New York City.  (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

Model Beverly Johnson walks the runway during the NYFW Fall/Winter 2022 Sergio Hudson Fashion Show at Spring Studios on Sunday, February 13, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

I am Anna Matteo.

Brooke Lefferts reported this story for Associated Press. Anna Matteo adapted it for VOA Learning English.

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words in this story

track – nm a platform along which models parade during a fashion show

fashion – nm the dominant style (as in dress) at any given time

designate – nm one who creates and manufactures a new style or product design: Above all : one who designs and manufactures haute couture clothing

spectacular – adj. attracting attention

course – nm a sleeveless outer garment or part of a garment that fits tightly around the neck and hangs freely over the shoulders

the diversity – nm the condition of having or being composed of different elements: Above all : the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization

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