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Supermodel Beverly Johnson admits she used cocaine to stay thin, ate just a bowl of rice and two eggs a week


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On the 50th anniversary of her historic American Vogue cover release, supermodel Beverly Johnson is reflecting on her path to success.

The first Black model to appear on the cover of the prestigious fashion magazine, Johnson says she went to extremes to appear thin.

"We were led to believe that cocaine was not addictive. We didn’t know cocaine was addictive. Everyone used drugs back in the day, but that particular drug for models was used because we did not eat," Johnson revealed to Page Six. "I remember eating two eggs and a bowl of brown rice a week. I would be shaking in a cab, and I would say pull over because I have to get a bag of M&Ms."


"I would just stop and get the shakes. We did not eat, and every time you came to work they would say, ‘Yes! Chisel to the bone girl. Yes,’ like congratulating you. Nobody really told you the truth," she admitted.

Johnson says it was her mother that made her realize she had a greater problem, forcing her out of the bathtub and putting her in front of a three-way mirror. "It was the first time I saw my bones looking back at me," she remembered. "It was a major wake-up call for me."

Johnson, now 71, has been sober ever since.



Also an actress, starring in films like "Crossroads" and "Loaded Weapon 1," Johnson has created and is starring in a one-woman off-Broadway show called "Beverly Johnson: In Vogue." A celebration of her illustrious career, Johnson told Vogue magazine that the show would be engaging.

"My scars and my mistakes and my learning process can be exposed in a way that’s not unapologetic, but also not sensationalized – because I’m too old to be sensationalized," she explained. "This is my story, it’s totally true – as my daughter would say, a little bit too true. And as my brothers and sisters say, ‘Can’t you keep anything to yourself?’"

Her biggest takeaway from the show was recognizing the experiences she lived through, of which there have been many.

"It’s definitely an American story… in the way that you have a chance at opportunities that you would never have anywhere else in the world… and how it’s possible to stumble upon success. I was a student and I wanted to be a lawyer [when I was scouted at 18]; this never was in my scope. It’s only in America where you can totally redesign your life unintentionally."

"My biggest lessons are in my huge mistakes. I’m happy to be alive; a lot of people didn’t make it," she shared. Another lesson she garnered: "There’s enough time for everything. Time is in your imagination."

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