Supermodel Beverly Johnson Opens Up About the Dark Side of Fashion and Struggle with Drugs


Renowned supermodel Beverly Johnson, famed for breaking barriers as the first Black woman on the cover of Vogue, recently opened up about her harrowing experience with drug addiction in the 1970s. Johnson shared her journey from the pressures of the fashion industry to overcoming addiction, shedding light on the dark side of the modeling world.

The Cocaine and Two Eggs Diet:

In an exclusive interview with Page Six, Johnson revealed that she succumbed to drug addiction during an era when the fashion industry propagated unrealistic beauty standards. Encouraged to be “chiseled to the bone” for photo shoots, she adopted a diet consisting of cocaine, a bowl of rice, and two eggs per week.

The drug, initially believed to be non-addictive, became a prevalent tool for models aiming to suppress their appetite.

Johnson disclosed, “We were led to believe that cocaine was not addictive. We didn’t know cocaine was addictive.” The pressure to maintain an emaciated appearance led her and many others to use drugs as a means to curb their hunger. Models were often praised for extreme thinness, fostering a culture of unhealthy habits.

Johnson’s awakening came when her concerned mother confronted her about the destructive path she was on. Describing the pivotal moment, Johnson said, “It was the first time I saw my bones looking back at me.” The realization prompted her to confront the perilous impact of the industry’s demands on her physical and mental well-being.

Recalling her eating habits during that period, she stated, “I remember eating two eggs and a bowl of brown rice a week. I would be shaking in a cab, and I would say pull over because I have to get a bag of M&Ms.” The narrative exposes the harsh reality behind the glamorous façade of the fashion world.

Road to Recovery:
Having faced the grim consequences of her drug-induced lifestyle, Johnson decided to make a change. Her sobriety journey began over 50 years ago, marking a significant triumph over addiction.

The supermodel emphasized the lack of awareness about the addictive nature of cocaine during that era, highlighting the industry’s complicity in perpetuating destructive behaviors.

Beverly Johnson In Vogue:
Now, at 71, Johnson is sharing her story through a one-woman show titled “Beverly Johnson In Vogue.” The performance delves into various aspects of her life, including her modeling and acting career, family, and the challenges of growing up in Buffalo, New York. The show serves as a tribute to the influential women who paved the way for her and those who followed.

A Message of Resilience:
Beverly Johnson’s revelation underscores the importance of addressing the toxic standards prevalent in the fashion industry and the toll it takes on models’ well-being. Her resilience and commitment to sobriety offer a beacon of hope for those grappling with similar challenges.

In a recent appearance on Sirius XM’s “Sway in the Morning,” Johnson shared another surprising revelation – her secret marriage to financier Brian Maillian in Las Vegas last year. Despite the challenges she faced, Johnson continues to inspire with her strength, resilience, and commitment to authenticity.

Beverly Johnson’s journey serves as a powerful narrative of triumph over adversity, shedding light on the hidden struggles within the fashion world. As “Beverly Johnson In Vogue” continues its run at the 59E59 Theatre, audiences witness not only a legendary model’s life unfold but also a story of resilience, redemption, and the pursuit of authenticity.

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