(Beauty)

How Supermodel Beverly Johnson Actually Feels About The Phrase 'Black Don't Crack'

Retrouvé

There's not a soul alive who doesn't aspire to age as gracefully as Beverly Johnson. The first Black model to grace the cover of American Vogue in 1974, she looks almost exactly the same now as she did then. At 68-years-young, she's seemingly cracked the code for locating the fountain of youth, leaving everyone asking "what's the secret?" And while model Beverly Johnson says there's no one isolated trick to flawless skin, these days, she's relying on Retrouvé, a luxury natural skin care brand, to keep her remaining youthful.

I got to speak to Johnson as well as Retrouvé founder Jami Morse Heidegger, who gave me all the details on this exciting partnership. Heidegger says that long before they connected about beauty, the two were frequently connecting about social issues. "We started working on a few projects together, including a charity event where I asked Beverly, and she very generously agreed, to present me with a Lifetime Award that I received at Project Angel Food," she tells TZR. She says that they briefly discussed a partnership, but in the midst of the pandemic and social unrest, they chose to focus on more pertinent issues than beauty. "When the George Floyd video happened, that really rocked our nation," Heidegger says. "And during that, I actually reached out to Beverly to ask her if she could consult with our company or with me privately about how we could have a voice or become better allies."

Retrouvé

Johnson presented the Beverly Johnson Rule, one that Retrouvé immediately pledged to adopt. "The Beverly Johnson rule is when strategies and policies are set in place that ensure that Black professionals are offered equal opportunities to higher-up positions," Johnson, who recently penned a candid letter in The Washington Post about the racism that plagues the fashion industry, tells me. "This includes the board of directors and executive positions. I love seeing globally diverse models on the runways, on the covers and in pages of fashion magazines, but real change is still needed in the board rooms, in C-suites, and among executives, photographers, editors, and designers. That's when we can say that true inclusivity it happening. Everyone is really impacted by these times so for me to not only be able to impact in the beauty space, but even further in the civil space, this partnership was perfect." From there, the duo finally began to bond over natural ingredients, and the Beverly Johnson Collection with Retrouvé was born. With a percentage of the proceeds giving back to Project Angel Food, the collection includes five of Johnson's favorite existing products: the Luminous Cleansing Elixir, the Ultimate Balm Body Oil, the Dermal Defense Hand Cream, the White Jade Roller, and a limited-edition Keepsake Velvet Drawstring Bag.

No stranger to beauty, Johnson is basically a skin care expert in her own right, dedicating decades to mastering her routine. "The real skinny of it is that in the way of beauty products, I'm a researcher," she says. "I always tell people my bathroom is like a CVS or Walgreens aisle. I have so many products because I'm always trying to find that special hand cream, that special moisturizer." That diligent attitude is something that spans further than just skin care. "I'm a firm believer that anything that you pay attention to, a plant, a marriage your children, will grow and prosper," she says. "If you want to look a certain way, you have to find out what's out there in the world and in the market that's going to give you the kind of results you're looking for." That said, as Johnson grows older, her routine continues to evolve. "That's what's so exciting because at my age, it's about hydration," she says. "I live in a desert, I play golf and hydration is the most important factor when you're talking about age, because as you age, you don't have the dewy skin, and plumpness that you have when you're younger. So my skin care routine is always evolving, even in the way of food, nutrition exercise and exercise."

However, Johnson insists that another reason for her flawless skin is the continuity of products she uses. "I like to give the products the opportunity to work with the like products they were created with," she says. "That's why, whenever I'm committed to trying a new product, I'll try the entire line, and that brand only. I don't like to mix."

But it's not just the outside that Johnson does work on. "I'm one of those people that are not a big component of ageism," she says. "I think all kind of state of mind. So I do both of my attention to my inner work." She does, however, acknowledge the benefits of being Black. "Black people have been blessed with melanin in our skin, which gives us a leg up when it comes to aging of the skin," she says. "But even with that genetic gift, if you don’t take care of your skin and give it the attention it deserves... Well, my Mom always said, 'Beverly, you better count and take care of your blessings.' And that's something I'm constantly instilling in my daughter."

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