Legendary supermodel Beverly Johnson talked about new new memoir, The Face That Changed It All, and reflected upon her trailblazing career and admissions of drug use in the 1970s. She also said that she has forgiven Bill Cosby for the alleged incident which she has also written about in her memoir.
The trailblazing 62-year-old supermodel’s new book is full of eyebrow raising revelations of her life back in the 1970s when she became, at age 21, the first African-American woman to grace the cover of Vogue, hence the title ‘The Face that Changed It All.’
And while admissions of cocaine use are drawing notice, so too is what she has said about Bill Cosby is also seizing attention. She was asked about Cosby and what she would tell him. In her live interview with Good Morning America, Beverly Johnson did not shy away from the topic which she first wrote about in an explosive essay in Vanity Fair late last year, as the growing numbers of women who had brought forward allegations against Bill Cosby was growing. That number is now, by last counts more than 40. A staggering number.
To that, she said, “I forgive you.” As for what she wanted to have happen to him now in the aftermath, she said, “I’m going to leave that to the Justice Department.” And, echoing comments she has made in previous interviews she went on to say, “ I just feel that he’s a lightning rod for a much bigger conversation, and that conversation would be the rape culture in America.”
But the main focus of the conversation was of her amazing life, of which she has written about with such palpable candor. In speaking of the demanding life of a model back in the days, Johnson said, “We thought water was fattening back then.” And when asked how she sustained herself, she said, ” Youth. Youth. Youth.”
When asked, she described a typical day of getting up at 5 in the morning and “going on a shoot and traveling the world and working with amazing photographers.” Calling it a “a wonderful career” she went on to say, “you have a personal life also.” And of that she said, “So I got married very young at 19 years old and I had an ex-husband that didn’t get the meaning of ex and that kind of was a little complicated but basically it was really an extraordinary life.”
Beverly Johnson went on to admit it was a life that was “extraordinarily glamorous and incredible but also painful.” She continued, saying, “I mean, the drug addiction was real and serious and life-threatening.”
She said of cocaine in the 1970s that people said it “increased your intelligence” and made your eyes sparkle.”
She added, “We lost a lot of people to and we are still losing a lot of people to drugs.” Asked to comment on the contemporary modeling world, she said, “I’m not there in it but hopefully people understand the complications of drugs and the dangers of drugs.”
She went on to say, “That’s why I really wanted to do my memoirs and that’s why I really wanted to share my sobriety with everyone.”
When asked how she achieved sobriety, Johnson said, “I found sobriety in a 12-Step program and I found sobriety with the spiritual path that I started to go on and also with the strength of my daughter and my family and also just wanting to have the life that I always wanted and the life I think I deserved.”
The video has gone viral as is not a surprise, given the explosive subject matter and, one hopes, the cautionary tale on drug use that she herself intends. You can watch the replay in its entirety of Beverly Johnson’s live interview on GMA below.