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Reply #150: Donyale Luna (1945-1979), first black supermodel [View All]

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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-12-08 08:44 AM
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150. Donyale Luna (1945-1979), first black supermodel
Donyale Luna was the first black supermodel, cover girl and the first model of ethnic origin to appear on Vogue, appearing on the March 1966 issue.

Born Peggy Anne Freeman on Jan. 1, 1945, Luna was described by a relative as a very weird child, even from birth, living in a wonderland, a dream. Her mother wanted her to be a nurse, but after being discovered by British fashion photographer David McCabe, Luna became the first black woman to be featured on a U.S. fashion magazine: the January 1965 issue of Harpers Bazaar.

According to her birth certificate, Luna was born to Peggy and Nathaniel Freeman, but she insisted her biological fathers last name was Luna and her mother was Mexican. Her reportedly abusive father was murdered when she was 18 and after meeting McCabe, she moved to New York City. Described as having the tall strength and pride movement of a Masai warrior, Luna was under exclusive contract to famed photographer Richard Avedon.

Donyale Luna saw her heritage as a thorn in her side. She was known to wear blond wigs and obvious green contact lenses. The journalist Judy Stone wrote a profile for the New York Times in 1968, titled Luna, Who Dreamed of Being Snow White, and described her as secretive, mysterious, contradictory, evasive, mercurial, and insistent upon her multiracial lineage exotic, chameleon strands of Mexican, American Indian, Chinese, Irish, and, last but least escapable, Negro.

She appeared nude in Playboy in April 1975, as photographed by her lover Luigi Cazzaniga. Donyale Luna died in 1979, of an accidental pill overdose in Rome at age 33. Today, Luna is survived by a daughter, Dream Cazzaniga (b. 1976), who works as a professional dancer in Italy. /
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