My apologies for not posting a Black History fact last Friday. Before I knew it Friday night was here and gone. This next post for Black History Month is quite interesting though. While I knew about Beverly Johnson being the first black model to debut on the cover of American Vogue, I was unaware of Donyale Luna. Have you heard of her? Apparently she was the first black woman to appear on the cover of any Vogue magazine in history… like ever! She was featured on the British edition in March 1966, just eight years earlier than Johnson.
Her iconic cover image (top middle photo) shows Luna covering most of her face, which was allegedly a request of the magazine’s editors to help mask her ethnicity. Interesting!
A 1966 Life magazine article titled “The Luna Year” described her as:
“A new heavenly body who, because of her striking singularity, promises to remain on high for many a season. Donyale Luna, as she calls herself, is unquestionably the hottest model in Europe at the moment. She is only 20, a Negro, hails from Detroit, and is not to be missed if one reads Harper’s Bazaar, Paris Match, Britain’s Queen, the British, French or American editions of Vogue.”
The striking Detroit native made some noise in the modeling industry. She also was an actress appearing in films such as Andy Warhol’s “Camp.” Unfortunately Donyale passed away due to a heroine overdose in 1979.
I love learning this sort of stuff. I hope you do too!