Bethann Hardison is a walking, talking legend.
Her modelling career began in the late 1960s, when she graduated from fashion sales girl to a muse for designers and photographers. She then went on to model for Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Issey Miyake and Kenzo, amongst many others, with her closely cropped afro, dark brown skin, and big, brown eyes signifying what “black is beautiful” could mean on the runway.
Later she went on to start her own agency, representing a truly diverse roster of models, actors and singers. She launched the career of Veronica Webb – the first African American model to land a cosmetics contract – and managed Kimora Lee Simmons and Brandy too. Bethann was the driving force behind Tyson Beckford’s ascent as the world’s first male supermodel, and she inked his contract as the first black model to have an exclusive agreement with Ralph Lauren.