First African American Model to Break into the MainstreamHappy Black History Month to you loves! For the rest of this month, I will be posting articles about great African American men and women, as well as provide fashion inspiration. This week is all about African American Models. Our first icon is Helen Williams!
|Photo Credit|| DeVore's mission was to present African American models "in a way that was not stereotyped" (Ebony).|
However, things were much different in France. When Williams moved to Paris around the 1960's, she modelled for many famous designers, such as Christian Dior and Jean Dessès. Black beauty held a much higher interest in France than in America. Thus Helen was able to work for around $7,500 a year. Similar to Josephine Baker, Helen received many marriage proposals by French admirers who "worship the ground [she walks] on," (Arogundade).
After moving back to America, things had not changed for dark-skinned models. As Helen searched for a new agent in New York City, she was determined and stubborned. After being rejected by one agency who claimed they already had a black model, Helen began a new cause, which grabbed the attention of journalists Dorothy Kilgallen and Earl Wilson. By writing about Helen's struggle and the problems African American models faced in the industry, Helen was offered jobs by Budweiser, Loom Togs, and Modess.
After fighting for equality for African American models, Williams became the first to break the four hundred chain that deemed dark skin as ugly. From seeing dark skin as simply "maid-like" in media and television, a new window was open for dark models, thus making Helen the first black, mainstream model!
Perfect in ParisHelen Williams was a beautiful woman with great bone structure, lovely features, and an iconic style that any fashionista can replicate. Get her look when you pair a blouse with a flared skirt. Just tuck in the top and pull it back out just a bit to get that 50's/60's vibe. Complete the look with simple patent heels, gold knot earrings with crystals, and a gold cuff bracelet.
Beauty InspiredHelen's iconic bouffant wig, sculpted brows, and giraffe-like neck was her signature look. Simply wet your hair and add about a dollop of hair mousse and style to get shiny, voluminous curls. The color of the lipstick you should use should be at least one or two shades darker than your lips to get a glamorous feel. Lastly, coat your lashes, add liner, and sculpt your brows!
Ads featuring Helen!Helen had a smile that could entrance her audience. She was featured in many ads, as well as modelled for Ebony and Jet magazine, two popular black magazines during her time!
Here's to a black beauty! Until next time, loves!