I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Face That Changed It All by Beverly Johnson
Published by Atria Books on August 25, 2015
Pages: 256 pages
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A revelatory and redemptive memoir from Beverly Johnson, the first black supermodel to grace the cover of Vogue, and who, over five hundred magazine covers later, remains one of the most successful glamour girls ever.
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.
I am still in awe from the power punch delivered with this book. “The Face That Changed It All: A Memoir” by Beverly Johnson and Andre’ Leon Talley, pulls you into a story full of revelation and insight about one of the most famous Black females to ever impact how women of color would view themselves.
The story is told in the voice of Beverly Johnson, and Ms. Johnson holds back nothing. A Literary work filled with names, dates, places and times involving many of our Artistic heroes for decades, I was at times shocked into immobility at the non-filtered accounts provided for the Reader. A pretty well-written book (there are occasional typos and grammatical errors), the stories shared in this Memoir, take you on an emotional roller coaster. By the end of the book, I had experienced everything from admiration; anger; disgust; pride and inspiration.
I recommend this book. Especially for anyone fighting the challenges dictated in following your dream and overcoming any obstacles, particularly women.
Reviewed by: Jamesina