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Starring in Your Own America’s Top Past Model

August 5, 2009

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Before Naomi Campbell ever rocked a runway, Naomi Sims was blazing trails. The first African American model to ever grace the cover of the Ladies Home Journal went from foster child to high fashion model through sheer grit and determination.

She died of cancer last Saturday at the age of 61.

Her bio says that when she wanted to work with a top photographer, she did the unthinkable. She picked up the phone and called him herself. It worked. He booked her. She had already tried to go the agency route but she was told repeatedly that she was too dark.

As I always say, you’ve got to fight for your right to sparkle. 

I relate to that. Just recently someone told me that I was “pretty” for an African because most of  the “ones”she met were dark and had high cheekbones. The last I checked I have both of those attributes. Yes, I said attributes.

Regarding that “compliment,” I turned the other high cheekbone.

The dark and high cheekboned Naomi rolled with the likes of Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali while modeling for Bill Blass and Halston.

After five years of modeling Naomi decided to pack it up. That’s even though she had an offer to star in the movie Cleopatra Jones. She didn’t like the way black people were portrayed in the script so she passed.

Naomi went on to create her own role and own star in her own life as the head of a multi-million dollar beauty business.

Her story is all the news that’s fit to bling.

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