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Beverly Johnson hopes reality show inspires families

Beverly Johns(right) her daughter AnansSims Pattersstar reality show “Beverly’s Full House” Oprah Winfrey Network.

Beverly Johnson (right) and her daughter Anansa Sims Patterson star on the reality show “Beverly’s Full House” on Oprah Winfrey Network.

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Updated: April 4, 2012 6:59PM

At age 60, the first black model to appear on American Vogue is reflective about life and beauty.

“I just read a book about the oldest, independent living people in the world and there were four things they did for a happy life,” saysmodel-author-businesswoman Beverly Johnson.

“All of them did some kind of daily exercise for an hour or more. They ate modestly. They had a community of family and friends. They had a faith or a religion or meditation. I’m out there trying to do those things. I’m putting those principals in motion.

She’s also putting it all out there in other ways. Her new series, “Beverly’s Full House” airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and features Johnson reconnecting with her daughter, Anansa Sims Patterson, baby granddaughter and son-in-law, a former pro football player.

“It’s a really constructive reality show. Along with the drama and tears, you actually see me building my company,” she says. “I wanted it to be very inspiring to people.”

The show came about when Johnson “started telling Oprah some stories about my life and my daughter. We stopped and said, ‘This would be a great show.’”

She says that doing a reality show hit hard.

“We walk around thinking that we’re perfect, but we’re not perfect. I challenge anyone to put a camera on yourself in your house. You’ll watch the film and think, ‘Did I really say that! Do I really look like that?”

Born in 1952, Johnson’s famous Vogue cover was published in 1974. A year later she was the first black woman to appear on the cover of the French edition of Elle. Johnson grew up in a middle-class family in Buffalo, New York, where she was a champion swimmer who wanted to become a lawyer. She was studying criminal justice at Northeastern University when she began modeling and never stopped working. She has graced over 500 magazine covers.

Johnson is beyond upset with the onslaught of anorexic-looking models these days.

“The anorexic look is horrifying to me. Thanks to the Internet, we can find out what’s going on on the other side of the world. There is this influence now over regular young women who want to look like all of these images. I do believe models do have a responsibility to put out healthy images. I’m so proud of my daughter who is a plus-size model.

“It’s important to say, ‘I love my body — the way it is,’” Johnson advises. “A size 12 can be a healthy weight if you’re supposed to be there.”

Her beauty products, The Beverly Johnson Lifestyle Brand, can be found on her website They will also soon be sold in Target.

If you tell her that she’s stunning beautiful, she will burst out laughing.”

That’s sweet, but it’s not me,” she says. “It’s in the genes. My mother is 82. She’s this amazing looking woman.”

“I found the best beauty secret at this age — or any age — is just being happy. We all deal with stressful situations. As women, we have so many responsibilities with family, jobs and the home. It’s so much. Most of us don’t take the time to take care of ourselves mentally and spiritually. You have to make a healthy you first and then you can give away your heart to other people.”

Big Picture News, Inc.

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