Actress Beverly Johnson rallies for Black model rights, workers act ahead of NY Fashion Week

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Monday, February 5, 2024
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- Actress Beverly Johnson joined fellow models and advocates on the Upper East Side ahead of New York Fashion Week to rally for black model rights.

Johnson spoke at the Model Alliance's press conference outside the Elysabeth Kleinhans Theatrical Foundation building on Sunday calling for support of the Fashion Workers Act. The act is a state bill that would help regulate predatory management companies in New York that operate without oversight.

At the press conference, Johnson emphasized the challenges that Black models face in the industry when it comes to getting jobs, compensation and workplace protections. She expressed concerns about Black survivors being able to speak out about past abuse and being believed.

"The lack of regulation in our industry makes it so much more difficult for Black models to flourish," Johnson said. "Something as exciting as signing a contract to a modeling agency can take a quick turn into an agency becoming your decision maker, and having power over your finance, life and body."

The rise of artificial intelligence in the industry also poses a new threat to Black models.

In 1974, Johnson broke barriers by becoming the first Black model to appear on the cover of American vogue.

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