Beverly Johnson “Modeling Involved Starving”

Beverly Johnson (1979). Image by Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

The 59-year-old is widely considered the world’s original black supermodel and was the first black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue.

She is one of the stars featured in a new documentary called About Face: Supermodels Then and Now and has discussed how the industry has changed.

“You don’t eat. Really. Seriously. You starve,” she said, when asked about her days as a runway model. “That was part of the occupational hazard of modeling and so it’s really sad to see, like, regular people doing the same thing to remain thin and particularly, the young girls.”

Fellow model Carol Alt can also recall denying herself food. Looking back, she can’t believe the things she put her body through.

“When you’re crazy and you’re young and you just starve,” she told Access Hollywood. “I had no rhyme or reason, I didn’t work with a doctor, which is crazy. So, you know, I always advocate health above everything else.”

Carol revealed she was axed from a job for being too slim at one point. She was a size 4 and is astounded that these days models are more likely to be a size 2.

“The obsession with being thin is global, I think now,” Beverly added. “Where before, when we were models, we were the only ones thin-thin. And no one wanted to emulate us. Now… everybody wants to be thin and so now, we really do have to be thin.”