*This Black History Month Feature was originally published in November 2014.
I’ve always admired this woman. Her unparalleled beauty is beyond extraordinary; however, it is the story behind her struggle that truly captured my heart. In addition to showcasing an exceptional modeling talent, she’s also established herself as a successful businesswoman and an author. Although many may not recognize her face, her accomplishments speak volumes. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct pleasure to present today’s esteemed trailblazer – the legendary Miss Naomi Sims.
Naomi Ruth Sims was born on March 30, 1948 in Oxford, Mississippi. As the youngest of three daughters, Sims was cited as a standout early on in life. Due to her tall and slim stature, Naomi was steadily criticized and shunned by other children who failed to understand her extraordinary physique – at the tender age of thirteen, she was already a towering 5 feet 10 inches. After completing high school, the stunning beauty won a scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and, from there, she began to work as a struggling model while facing racial prejudice head on. Little did Naomi know, her downfall would soon be the sole factor in her unstoppable rise to fame. Naomi Sims’s popularity grew wildly from the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s ; furthermore, one of her more defining moments was her appearance as the first African-American cover model to be featured in the Ladies’ Home Journal (November 1968).
Aside from her ground-breaking accomplishments, this model’s style was also quite bomb-worthy. Sims was drawn to a more classic aesthetic – with everything from fabulous button-downs to the ever-so-chic belted maxi dress – Sims knew what looked good and she rocked it well!As a muse for Halston, Naomi also sizzled in flowy jumpsuits, printed coordinates, ladylike hats and enviable furs. Her style was infused with functionality coupled with a conservative appeal. In my opinion, she was THE first street style star. Don’ t believe me? Check out her concrete runway looks!
Talk about endless beauty! I have to admit – this Vintage Vision was one of my favorites. I thoroughly enjoyed sifting through Miss Sims’s photos and I discovered so much more than I could have ever imagined. I was definitely blown away!
To learn more about this groundbreaking model, read more about her story here.
Signing Out — Esmesha