As a Young Model, Beverly Johnson Recalls Going to Unhealthy Extremes to Stay Thin

The legendary supermodel opened up about disordered eating and past drug use.
Beverly Johnson.

Beverly Johnson.

She’s starring in a self-written one-woman show entitled “Beverly Johnson: IN VOGUE” that chronicles her childhood, personal life and career, and now, veteran supermodel Beverly Johson is sharing intimate secrets about her early days as a young model in the 1970s.

Encouraged to look “chiseled to the bone,” Johnson recalled using drugs to curb her appetite while eating as little as possible, which often led to dizzy spells. “I remember eating two eggs and a bowl of brown rice a week. I would be shaking in a cab, and I would say pull over because I have to get a bag of M&Ms,” Johnson told Page Six

Johnson’s mother finally intervened, making her get out of the bath and look at herself in a three-way mirror. “It was the first time I saw my bones looking back at me,” Johnson told the outlet. “It was a major wake-up call for me.”

Now sober for over 50 years, Johnson lives a much healthier lifestyle and looks better than ever. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Johnson’s historic moment as the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue. She made a return to the catwalk for two designers at New York Fashion Week in February of 2022.

Her personal life is also thriving. Johnson quietly wed beau Brian Maillian in Las Vegas last October. “Two days before my birthday, Oct. 13, [Brian] kept saying, ‘What do you want for your birthday,’” Johnson revealed on Sirius XM’s Sway in the Morning show. “I sat up in the bed on Oct. 11 and said, ‘I know what I want for my birthday.’”

After all, she’s accomplished, she deserves her every wish to come true.

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Beth Sobol


Beth is a New York-based freelance writer. In addition to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, she contributes to editorial outlets including Women's Health and Reader's Digest. She also does content writing for marketing firms and private clients.