Friday, 19 July

Naomi Campbell and the black models who changed the face of fashion

Getty Images: Naomi Campbell

As a new exhibition opens in London exploring the career of Naomi Campbell, Britain's first black supermodel, a look at the women who forged a path in fashion – including the first black American Vogue cover model, Beverly Johnson.

"Do you want to be a model?" asked talent scout Beth Boldt as she approached a group of schoolgirls in London's Covent Garden. Fifteen-year-old Naomi Campbell stepped aside, thinking Boldt was talking to her fair-haired friends. But it was Campbell that Boldt locked eyes with. "I'm talking to you," she said.

The shy teenager would go on to become the most famous black model in history: a supermodel of extraordinary versatility – said to have the best "walk" in the business – as well as a media personality and advocate for equal rights in an industry where black people had long been sidelined.