Model Naomi Sims died after suffering from cancer on Saturday. She was 61.
Sims was regarded as the first black supermodel for appearing on the cover of Ladies Home Journal in November 1968, a time when African-American models were few and far between. She subsequently modeled for designers like Halston, Fernand o SÃ¡nchez, Teal Traina, and Giorgio di Sant’Angelo.
She also posed for many other magazine covers, and two images”“ a 1969 cover of LIFE and a 1967 New York Times fashion magazine over”“are on display in the Metropolitan Museum’s “The Model As Muse” exhibit. After five years, Sims retired from modeling and started a multimillion-dollar wig-making business that specialized in designs for black women.
Also known for her writing prowess, Sims penned several advice novels including “All About Health and Beauty for the Black Woman” and “How To Be a Top Model.” She also authored an advice column for Right On! magazine.
She was married to Manhattan art dealer Michael Findlay from 1973 to 1991. Sims is survived by a son Robert, a daughter, Betty, and a grand daughter.
Born in Oxford, Mississippi, Sims moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she attended high school. Due to her height, she was ostracized by many of her classmates. Sims credits her upbringing as a Catholic for getting her through adolescence.