Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Black is Beautiful: Naomi Sims

Black History Month runs from February 1st until February 28th.  We want to celebrate all of the amazing women who have brought so much to fashion and to the world.  So many times we separate ourselves because of race, religion, creed, etc. and forget we all have one common thread that connects us; we are all women.  For centuries, no matter what race, religion, creed, etc. to which we belong; we as women, have been second class citizens.  In this day, we want to uplift and support women around the world and create a system that is not biased, but based upon what one can bring to the table - period.  For this very special month we celebrate the African American women who, some you may know and others you may not be familiar with, made an impact on the world in their own special way.  Visit our blog each and every day through the month of February and get to know these beautiful women and the extraordinary lives they lived or are living.

Cover of Life Magazine 1969

Today we will feature Naomi Sims.

Considered the first black supermodel, Naomi Sims was born March 30, 1948 in Oxford, Mississippi. After growing up in Pittsburgh, Sims majored in psychology at New York University at night while attending the Fashion Institute of Technology. Sims started modeling with the help of Wilhemina Cooper, founder of the Wilhemina Modeling agency.

Cover of Cosmopolitan 1973

Though Sims was repeatedly shunned because of her dark complexion, she was the first African American to grace the covers of magazine like Ladies Home Journal and Cosmopolitan, a feat that is difficult for even current black models and actors.

In 1976, after Sims' stint as a model, she started a multimillion dollar wig line called the Naomi Sims Collection and a cosmetic company soon followed. Her beauty products are still sold online and throughout the New York City area. Sims wrote five books on health and beauty.

Sims lost her battle to breast cancer on August 1, 2009 at 61 years old.

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