In The Face That Changed It All , Beverly Johnson brings her own passionate and deeply honest voice to the page to chronicle her childhood growing up as a studious, and sometimes bullied, bookworm during the socially conscious, racially charged '60s. Read more...
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In The Face That Changed It All, Beverly Johnson brings her own passionate and deeply honest voice to the page to chronicle her childhood growing up as a studious, and sometimes bullied, bookworm during the socially conscious, racially charged '60s. Initially drawn to a career in law due to the huge impact the Civil Rights movement had on her life, Beverly eventually made her mark as the first black cover model of American Vogue in 1974. A successful three-decade career in modeling followed.
Offering glamorous tales about the hard partying of the 1970s and Hollywood during the '80s and early '90s, Johnson details her many encounters and fascinating friendships with the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Halston, Calvin Klein, and Andy Warhol, as well as stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Jack Nicholson, Keith Richards, and Warren Beatty. But not everything that glitters is gold, and Johnson's memoir reveals the countless demons she wrestled with over the course of her storied career. She brings us into the heart of her struggles with racism, drug addiction, divorce, and a prolonged child custody battle over her daughter that tested her fortitude and sanity. She shares for the first time intimate details surrounding her love affair with the late tennis icon Arthur Ashe, giving little known insight into the heart, mind, and spirit of the revered tennis legend. She also pays homage to her mentor, the late Naomi Sims, while lifting the veil off the complicated, catty, and often times tense relationships between black models during her fashion heyday. Familiar names from the catwalk, such as Pat Cleveland and Iman, appear regularly in her story, illustrating how each had to fight various battles to survive not just the system at large, but each other.
Featuring gorgeous, never-before-seen photos from Johnson's childhood and modeling days, The Face That Changed It All gives a no-holds-barred look at the lives of the rich, fabulous, and famous. It is also a story of failure and success in the upper echelons of the fashion world, and how Beverly Johnson emerged from her struggles smarter, happier, and stronger than ever.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-08
- Reviewer: Staff
In this entertaining memoir, supermodel Johnson tells of her rise to success—from her youthful work in a fashion store to juggling college and modeling and then on to taking the fashion world by storm. Johnson became the first black cover model of American Vogue 1974 then continued to model for decades. She also struggled with difficult marriages, drug addiction, financial exploitation, and custody arrangements for her daughter before finally reaching some measure of peace. Johnson details every part of her life, leaving nothing out, and the reward for readers is an intimate look at the world of modeling and the grit and glamour of the 1970s and ’80s. She recalls Bill Cosby attempting to assault her, and reflects on how she had the strength to talk about it after other women came forward. While the memoir sometimes jumps in time, making it difficult to follow, the vignettes are clear. Johnson’s memoir ends on a note of personal growth (that is, when Johnson decided to get clean and sober). While the writing is lackluster, fans of her career will find much here to interest them. (Aug.)