Beverly Johnson thrusted herself back into the spotlight a few months ago when she made shocking allegations about being drugged by Bill Cosby back in the day, and now, the supermodel/entrepreneur is back making waves. This time she has a tell-all book coming out, which features more juicy details about her life.
“I’ve talked about bulimia, anorexia, depression and losing my daughter in a custody battle but never about drugs,” the iconic model who was the first African-American face on the cover of American Vogue back in 1974 tells PEOPLE.
Johnson reveals that her memoir entitled, The Face That Changed It All, will detail more of her darkest secrets, including a drug addiction and a near overdose. “You laugh and cry but it’s my life,” says the 63-year-old. “I hope it can inspire. ”
Back in the early seventies, the modeling agent Eileen Ford first dismissed Johnson (then 5’9″ and 125 pounds) with two words: “Too fat.” Ford also told her the career of a model in front of a camera wouldn’t last more than five or six years. Johnson would prove her wrong – on both counts.
To become a size zero, Johnson nearly starved herself until she weighed just 103 pounds. “I was eating nothing, zero,” she says. “I drank black coffee, a sip of broth if things got tough, and in the evening, a glass of champagne as a pick me up. We didn’t even drink water. We thought it was was fattening.” One day, she began having convulsions in the back seat of a taxi and had to grab a bag of peanut M&M’s to jolt her blood sugar back. Asked how she survived those years, she says, “You didn’t have to think.”
“The skinner you were, the more fabulous you were,” says Johnson. “Drug use was encouraged. It was like ‘Oh my god, you are chiseled to the bone.’ All of the things you needed to be a high class model: high cheekbones, bright eyes, that was all provided by the drugs. It was like being offered a drink. It was one of the perks. People around us always had it.”
Johnson became a cocaine addict at one point, and she suffered a near overdose in 1983. By then, Johnson was at her lowest point. She was almost broke, not working, and fighting her soon to be ex-husband for custody of their then toddler daughter. Their tumultuous marriage ended after just 18 months when he allegedly stole her modeling profits, hit her and threatened her with gun.
Her memoir also features more light hearted moments too. She dated Eddie Murphy, Chris Noth and even Arthur Ashe. “If we married, we would have been the Beyonce and Jay-Z of our day,” she wrote about her situation with Ashe.
The book will also include a chapter on Bill Cosby.
Sounds like it’s going to be really juicy. Johnson is definitely back on top of her game. She has a new reality show in the works, a mineral makeup line, hair extensions, and more. Slow down, for what?
Will you be picking up a copy when it hits stands on August 25th?