Supermodel Beverly Johnson, The First Black ‘Vogue’ Cover Girl, Gets Engaged At 67

by Sarah Bregel
Sarah Bregel is an editor at LittleThings.com covering entertainment, trending stories, adorable stuff, parenting, and more. She is also a freelance writer, mom of two, dog mom, feminist, and deep-breather.

Supermodel Beverly Johnson, best known for being the first Black model to grace the cover of Vogue, is engaged.

The 67-year-old shared the happy news with People, telling the publication, “Just finding the love of my life at this point in my life has been amazing.”

It’s truly inspiring, too! Many people assume you have to be young to fall in love and get married. Beverly is proving that that’s simply not true. You can find the love of your life at any age. Sometimes, that love is even more meaningful later in life.

Beverly truly seems to have met her match. She says it’s the first time she’s dated someone so close to her age, which makes the connection she and fiancé Brian Maillian have truly special.

They share so many similar life experiences. “This is the first time I’ve dated someone so close to my age! We know the same songs and we’ve lived through a lot of the same things,” she shared.

Beverly Johnson has had an incredible life. She’s truly a force. She became the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine in 1974. It was a huge accomplishment, but she didn’t stop there.

She has continued to fight for inclusion when it comes to race. Recently, she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post where she revealed hard truths about her early days as a model and the injustices she often felt being the only Black model in the room or on a shoot. She says she was scolded for asking for Black hairdressers and makeup artists, and she’s trying to change things for Black models today. She proposes “that at least two black professionals be interviewed for influential positions.”

“This is a time of disruption and with disruption, there is a crack in the door,” she says. “The door that was always closed is a little more open now. You can shout through the crack and people are listening.” Beverly is certainly doing her part to throw the door wide open. She makes a point of speaking out and of hiring Black photographers, and she even wrote a book about becoming the first Black model on Vogue‘s cover, The Face That Changed It All.

It seems like Beverly was so driven and focused on her career that she wasn’t worried about falling in love. But love found her anyway, and at the age of 67. The story of her engagement to her financier fiancé is truly touching, too. Beverly says it was totally unexpected.

It happened when they were in Palm Springs. “My older sister Sheilah was there and she said to Brian, ‘I didn’t hear you give my sister an answer when she asked you to marry her,'” she recalled. “And he said, ‘I have answered her. I have asked her to marry me. And she said, No. Besides that — I don’t have a ring.'”

Then something magical happened. “Brian’s 88-year-old mother took off her wedding ring and passed it down the table till it got to Brian and he got down on one knee. I was sobbing uncontrollably and he said ‘Will you marry me?’ and I said yes!” It’s definitely one of the most beautiful engagement stories we’ve ever heard.

Beverly has always been a beautiful and driven woman, breaking down barriers when it comes to race. Now she’s teaching us a new lesson, simply by allowing her life to happen. She isn’t letting her age stop her from living her life fully — that means welcoming love into her life.

View this post on Instagram

Getting a little sun 😀🦋💐

A post shared by BEVERLY JOHNSON (@iambeverlyjohnson) on

Aging happens to us all. But many women fear growing older, in part, because society sometimes makes women feel as if they are no longer desirable. And plenty of people give up on dating at a certain point altogether, viewing it as pointless. But you don’t have to be young to fall in love or to get married.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BEVERLY JOHNSON (@iambeverlyjohnson) on

Beverly wasn’t expecting to ever get married again until she said yes. She told People that just after the engagement, she couldn’t believe what had just happened. “I was like how the heck did that happen? I was saying I’m never going to get married again.”

Still, she was thrilled. She did have to give the ring back to her future mother-in-law at the end of the day. But a ring was never really a top priority for Beverly anyway. Brian ended up taking her to a jewelry store to pick out her own, but she opted out. She said, “I don’t know how to say this but I don’t want a diamond ring, let’s buy a house instead.” And they did!

It seems like one thing about getting engaged when you’re older and wiser is that you know exactly what you want.