Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Donyale Luna

Sing Eclectic was forged not only for the purpose of sharing my latest fascinations and discoveries, but also to celebrate diversity. In honor of Black History Month, I want to briefly feature of one of the first notable African-American models, Donyale Luna.

Donyale, who was born Peggy Anne Freeman in Detriot, Michigan, began her career as a model when she was spotted on the street by photographer David McCabe. Soon enough, she was a part of Andy Warhol's crew and appeared in a handful of movies produced by him. In 1966, she became the first African American to grace the cover of British Vogue. She also landed the following publications: Harper's Bazaar, Paris Match, Britain's Queen, the British, French or American editions of Vogue. Luna

Her figure, which one could describe as "unearthly"- she was 6'2"!- paralleled her personality. In a 1968 New York Times article, a relative said that she was "a very weird child, even from birth, living in a wonderland, a dream." Unfortunately, Luna's dream-like nature cost her modeling career as she, according to Beverly Johnson (another rising model of Luna's time), "went up and down the runways on her hands and knees. She didn't show up for bookings. She didn't have a hard time, she made it hard for herself."

Luna's mysterious and ambiguous nature also reflected on her racial identities. In the Times article, she said, "If it [a movie appearance] brings about more jobs for Mexicans, Chinese, Indians, Negroes, groovy. It could be good, it could be bad. I couldn't care less." Despite her nonchalant comment and her uneasy attitude toward her race at times, Luna's presence in the fashion world undoubtedly contributed to the opening of doors for many talented African Americans.

Info from: Wikipedia, Style.com


Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

I've never heard of her, thank you for introducing me!

WendyB said...

I've always been fascinated by her and her tragic end. Because I'm morbid.

CHIC NOIR said...

she was so fly.