Happy Mod Monday!!!


We would like to dedicate this Mod Monday to the first black cover girl Donyale Luna. Donyale had huge modeling success in the 1960's and 1970s, before her early death in 1979. She died at the age of 33, of an accidental pill overdose in Rome. Even after her death Luna still inspires many today. She has left behind a beautiful legacy,  paving the way for African American models to be Cover Girls. 

Donyale was discovered by David McCabe in 1964. "I was stunned ... She was so tall and so slender, and had the most incredible bone structure." He invited the 18-year-old to New York, where she was introduced to Nancy White who was so struck by her beauty that she immediately had her sketched by an illustrator. The illustration ran as the cover for the January 1965 issue of Harper's Bazaar , the first ever to feature a black model.  In a letter to her childhood friend Mary Ann, Luna wrote, "New York is a dream… a man danced me down Fifth Avenue, and all up and down Broadway men were eyeing and whistling at me, and so many other unbelievable things. I'm really getting the works from head to toe by Harper's Bazaar's best! As soon as possible I'll send you a picture of the new me. I'll be on top of the world if it takes every breath I have, every muscle of my skinny body. I feel it, I know it. I'll be some kind of star real soon. Real soon." 

Luna was right, she would become a star. She was a muse for designer Paco Robane and was apart of Andy Warhol's circle. 

 In an interview, Luna expressed her fondness for LSD stating "I think it's great. I learned that I like to live, I like to make love, I really do love somebody, I love flowers, I love the sky, I like bright colors, I like animals. [LSD] also showed me unhappy things -- that I was stubborn, selfish, unreasonable, mean, that I hurt other people."

 Beverly Johnson  complained about Luna’s weird behavior in a New York Time interview,  saying “she doesn’t wear shoes winter or summer. Ask her where she’s from — Mars? She went up and down the runways on her hands and knees. She didn’t show up for bookings. She didn’t have a hard time, she made it hard for herself .”


Luna's sister described her as being ""a very weird child, even from birth, living in a wonderland, a dream". She would routinely create fantasies about her background and herself." According to Judy Stone, who wrote a profile of Luna for The New York Times in 1968, the model was "secretive, mysterious, contradictory, evasive, mercurial, and insistent upon her multiracial lineage -- exotic, chameleon strands of Mexican, American Indian, Chinese, Irish, and, last but least escapable, Negro."

Luna has appeared on the covers of British Vogue in 1966, Harper's Baazar in 1965 and Playboy in 1975. Salvador DalĂ­ declared her 'the reincarnation of Nefertiti'' At a New York nightclub in 1966 Jackie Kennedy went up to Luna and simply said, 'You are very beautiful.'  Besides appearing in several of Andy Warhol's films, she also stared in Otto Preminger's film Skidoo, as God's mistress. 

"When asked where she came from, Luna would reply, 'I'm from the moon, darling.' She told one boyfriend that her parents were killed in a car accident and that she was adopted. She once informed the Italian press that she ate three kilos of meat a day. 'She had no tits, but lots of presence,' quipped her model friend Pat Cleveland. 'We'd walk down the street and men's mouths would drop open in awe. When we walked into restaurants people would stop eating and stand up and applaud. She was like a mirage, or some kind of fantasy." If you want to learn more about Luna click here.

Fun Fact: Donyale's real name is Peggy Ann Freeman.  She was also the first black model to appear on the cover Vogue, not Beverly Johnson who many believe was. 

Got some extra time? Watch the full version of Skidoo below. 

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