Naomi Sims has been called “the first black supermodel” by people of the fashion industry. She was the first face of the term “Black is Beautiful” and in 1968, Sims was the first black woman to appear on the cover of the Ladies Home Journal.
Born in Oxford, Mississippi in 1948, Sims was the youngest of three daughters. She never knew her father. He and her mother divorced when she was a child. She was only led to believe that her father was absent by her mother. When her mother fell sick, Sims was put up in poor foster homes. The kids teased her because she was tall and black.
After graduating high school and moving to New York with her oldest sister, Sims enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology. At the urging of friends, she tried to get an agent, but was told her skin was too dark. After going directly to photographers, she shot the cover of Fashion of the Times. Still at a loss for an agent, even with her own cover, Sims decided to pair up with Wilhemina Cooper who was starting her own agency. Sims agreed to send out her cover photo with Cooper’s card and she could keep any commission.
Using her business skills with Wilhemina, Sims eventually landed a TV campaign with AT&T, which put her in full demand. She booked major magazine covers, like the Time Fashion cover and Life, both of which are now in the New York Met Museum. She modeled for Halston and other top designers.
In 1972, she turned down the role of Cleopatra Jones because she thought it was too stereotypical and offensive to blacks.
With her business savvy at hand, Sims started her own wig making line which resulted in a major beauty empire. By the 1980’s she owned the Naomi Sims Collection, and had written several books on fashion and beauty.
Naomi Sims passed away in August 2009 from cancer. She was 61 years old.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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