Woman of Strength
Born in Oxford, Mississippi and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Naomi Sims was tall, Black, and beautiful, but in her young world, her peers didn’t know or understand her rare beauty. So she was often left out of social circles in high school. She credits her catholic faith for getting her through this tough time called adolescence. She later shows ’em when she achieves success as one of the first Black models while still a teenager, garnering her world recognition in the 60’s and 70’s. She’s snagged the covers of many of the worlds top fashion magazines, and even appeared on the cover of Life in 1969.
Woman of Worth
Modeling wasn’t her only thing. She passed up a potential career in Hollywood when offered a leading role in the movie Cleopatra Jones when she realized that Blacks would be portrayed negatively after reading the script. However she did go into business for herself. She came to know a lot about beauty doing her own hair and makeup because many of the studio assistants were unfamiliar with working with darker complected skin. She also noticed that there weren’t any commercially available wigs for the African American woman, so she began to create her own. This too proved to be a success as she later gained $5 million in annual sales.
Naomi had come to be an expert on Black beauty and put out several books on the topic: All About Health and Beauty for the Black Woman, How to be a Top Model, All About Success for the Black Woman, and she’s even penned a column for teenage girls for Right On magazine!
Naomi Sims died on August 3rd from cancer at 61. But, her legacy and contributions to not only African Americans but the entire world will live on, motivate and inspire many. We at Lavish thank you, Naomi, for being a pillar in the community and a picture of strength, brains and beauty.