The New York Times reports that Naomi Sims, sometimes referred to as the first black supermodel, passed away this past Saturday at the age of 61:

Naomi-Sims-Collage

The Pittsburg native overcame significant obstacles to become the first black woman to cover Ladies Home Journal in 1968. The trailblazer walked for designers like Teal Traina, Fernando Sanchez, and Giorgio di Sante Angelo, covered Cosmopolitan in 1973, and starred in spreads for Life and the Times Style Magazines. In a 1974 New York Times article, designer Halston said, “Naomi was the first. She was the great ambassador for all black people. She broke down all the social barriers.

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Naomi paved the way for black models like Beverly Johnson, Naomi Campbell, and Chanel Iman, knocking down doors by grace of her sheer determination and undeniable beauty:

Naomi-Sims-Life-Magazine

Naomi Sims Life Magazine, October 17, 1969

She will forever be remembered as a true fashion pioneer, and one of the first to set the tone for diversity and inclusion.

Read more about her here.

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