Spreading Knowledge

Spreading knowledge amongst the women of the world.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Black History Fashion: Ophelia DeVore

First African American Model who established on of the first Modeling Agency in America

Had a great weekend, loves? This week continuing on my Black History lessons, I will talk about African American designers and agents that helped pave the way for African American models. Our first agent is Ophelia DeVore!

Photo Credit
Ophelia DeVore was born on August 12 of 1922 in Edgefiled, South Carolina. She was one of ten children born to John Walter DeVore and Mary Emma Strother. She has German American and African American descent from her father side while her mother was a Black Indian (people of African American and Native American descent). Growing up, Ophelia's father taught her to communicate efficiently with people and her mother stressed the importance of proper education, appearance, and etiquette.

Ophelia began modelling at the age of 16 in 1938. Given she had a light skin-color, she passed for Norwegian, thus attaining many contracts throughout  Europe. Determined to create a market for non-white women in the US, DeVore established The Grace Del Marco Agency in 1946. Many household names, such as Helen Williams, Richard Roundtree, Diahann Carroll, and Cicely Tyson, began their careers at Grace Del Marco. Because of racism in the fashion business, the agency was more like a safe haven for non-white models.
Photo Credit|| Grace Del Marco Models
Many of the shows that the Grace Del Marco would hold took place in churches, on college campuses, and in ballrooms of the Diplomat and Waldorf-Astoria hotels. Much of DeVore's breakthrough and success took place in Europe, especially in the French fashion world (they were quite fascinated with black beauties!)

Ophelia was a hard worker. She was wanted to maintain her role as an activist for non-whites in the fashion world. She hosted for ABC's Spotlight on Harlem around the 1960's as a way to bring media into her fight for equality. Some of her other activist work was The Ophelia DeVore School of Charm was a school that educated young African women on etiquette, poise, posture, grooming, speech, ballet, and many other aspects that a woman should know. Faith Evans is one of the many notable graduates.

In 2004, Ophelia DeVore was honored by FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and the Fashion Arts Xchange, Inc. for her contributions to fashion and entertainment. She is currently the CEO and publisher of The Columbus Times Newspaper.

Poise and Elegance

Before she established her agency, Ophelia worked as a model, predominately with Ebony magazine. She was graceful, poised, elegant, and all around determined to make a change. An iconic look from the 1930's was the bathing suit, which was composed of either a one piece short jumpsuit or a cropped top and a highwaisted short or skort. Resemble this look when you pair a cropped top with a highwaist, skater skirt. I choose the color burgundy because berry colors are my favorite, and purple sometimes mean royal. Perfect for an elegant doll! Complete the look with simple, ankle strap heels and fun accessories, like this Pucker Up necklace by NastyGal and these adorable drop earrings!

Beauty Inspired

Beauty Inspired - Ophelia DeVore

Part of Ophelia's Charm School was to teach women how to apply makeup properly and to style their hair. Get a clean, fresh look when you dust your cheeks in powder foundation, lightly coat your lids with a shimmering gold, and curl your lashes with mascara. Don't forget to apply hair mousse for a elegant curls, and brush your hair with a wide brush to add a little more emphasis.

Until tomorrow, loves! Ciao!
~~ReneA P.

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