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Sunday, August 23, 2015

REVIEW: The Face That Changed It All by Beverly Johnson

by Cyrus Webb

Many of us know Beverly Johnson because of the headlines, the face and the fame she has acquired over the years, but few of us really know the woman behind it all---and the story as to how she became to be the woman the world now recognizes. That is until now.

This year Beverly Johnson (along with acclaimed writer Allison Samuels) gives us THE FACE THAT CHANGED IT ALL (available August 25, 2015). It's a look not only at the success that Beverly has achieved but the price that has come along with her life both publicly and privately.

For me the book is full of revelations that I was completely unaware of. We learn about her childhood, growing up in a time when the world was changing and being in a home where those changes weren't always understood and dealt with. We're able to learn of the strong work ethic of her father and what that taught Beverly about achieving things for herself.

Some recognize Beverly instantly for being the first African-American woman on the cover of Vogue---and that is indeed a major accomplishment. In the book, however, we are also able to take the road that would lead her to fame, one hard-fought situation at a time. Regardless of what we might believe Beverly allows us to know that being in the public life is not all fun, games and parties. It's a daily struggle that can make or break you. In the chapter SEX, DRUGS, AND ROCK AND ROLL she shares this: "What was clear was that the fashion industry had the potential to crush even the best and strongest of us. Your life was not your own... It sounds fun, and it can be for a time, but it can also emotionally stunt you, leaving you ill-equipped to face the future."

Fame didn't come easy for Beverly. She talks about in the book about the lack of places for women of color not just in modeling but acting, and how it was another one of the things that many women had to contend with. Ironically this is a conversation that continues to our day. It's just one of the comparisons you will see as you are looking at her path then and the path of other models and actresses now.

We also see the journey that Beverly had to travel when it came to her family, namely her marriage and kids. This was something I knew NOTHING about before reading the book, but it once again reminds us that no matter who you are we all have to deal with the troubles that life throws our way. What matters is what you are able to learn and how much you are able to grow moving forward.

Regardless of what your profession or what you think you know about the celebrity life or even more specifically Beverly Johnson, this book is definitely well worth your time. It allows you to see the woman in her totality: flaws and all, and I think it will motivate you to not just be your best but to bring your best to everything you do.

Follow Beverly on Twitter at @beverlyjohnson1. You can pre-order the book THE FACE THAT CHANGED IT ALL on Amazon.