The cover was historic. When the August 1974 issue of Vogue arrived with Beverly Johnson on the front, it marked the first time in the magazine’s history that an African-American model had been showcased in such a fashion.
To mark the issue’s 40th-year anniversary, Women’s Wear Daily New York correspondent Rosemary Feitelberg recently caught up with Johnson and got this great memory:
“I was in my first New York apartment on the East Side — mattress on the floor, candles,” Johnson said. “I threw on my jeans and ran to the newsstand. All these people were rushing to work trying to buy their papers so I had to wait. Of course, I didn’t have any money on me.”
“I told the guy that it was me on the cover and he kind of rolled his eyes like, ‘Oh lady please, if you were on the cover you would have enough money to buy the magazine,’” she laughed.
Reading between the WWD lines, we assume Johnson returned to her apartment to get the cash needed to buy Vogue. She goes on to relate how she had to in that moment of excitement rely on two antiquated tools: the NYC payphone and collect call.