Beverly Johnson (source: Conde Nast Store)

October 13 is Beverly Johnson’s birthday.

Libras are collaborators. For that reason, it doesn’t surprise me that I often find myself mentioning Francesco Scavullo when I discuss Beverly Johnson. I don’t want to give anyone the idea that I don’t appreciate Beverly Johnson and her contributions to the world of fashion, but with many photographer/muse relationships, you have to wonder where one would be without the other. Plus, I’m a Capricorn like Scavullo, so it’s important for me to insert myself into the conversation.

On her own, Johnson was the first African-American to appear on the cover of “Vogue,” way back in 1974. But I’ll always remember her for her collaborations with Scavullo. When I was a kid, I’d see “Cosmopolitan” covers in the grocery store and other magazine editorials featuring the work of the duo. I always associated Johnson with class and sophistication as a result. She just seemed so uptown to me.

In my new book, I mention that her greatest talent was making anything in her vicinity look expensive. I’m sure that many people would prefer that I discussed her as the trailblazer that she is. Still, I had no idea that she was blazing trails when I was an eight-year-old kid living in Western Canada. I just knew that she exuded class and sophistication, just like a Libra woman should.

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