Besides the fact that she was born in Pittsburgh, we had little in common. Yet the story of her life inspires me and will continue to inspire generations to come, just as her death saddened us all when she died August 1, of cancer at the age of 61.
The following was written by Keli Goff, author and political commentator in the August 17, 2009 TIME magazine ariticle, p. 20 under "Briefing" Milestones...
"Tall, striking, confident and chiseled, Naomi Sims forever changed how America defines beauty. Sims...was one of the first black super-models, and her appearance on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal in 1968 broke the color barrier for major women's magazines. She was not the only succcesful black model of that era--Donyale Luna was another--but she was the first darker-skinned beauty to enjoy such success.
Born in Oxford, Miss., in 1948, Sims endured a troubled childhood in Pittsburhg, Pa., that included time spent in foster care. (She later credited her upbringing with fueling her drive and determination). When she arrived in New York City in 1966, modeling agencies turned her down, pronouncing her "too dark". Undeterred, Sims forged ahead on her own, landing a photo spread with the New York Times by contacting a photographer directly".
In addition, Goff goes on to write in TIME magazine "Person of the Year 2009 Edition"...that "she went on to grace the covers of Cosmopolitan, Essence and Life. She opened the runway door for others, including "her" role model, Michelle Obama and another supermodel Naomi Campbell, to walk through. And she made it possible for girls everywhere to embrace their inner balck beauty".