You probably know more about the people associated with Bethann Hardison than you actually know about her...for instance: her son, the actor Kadeem Hardison of a Different World fame, (he played DeWayne Wayne) or supermodels Naomi Campbell, Veronica Webb, Kimora Lee Simmons, Roshumba, Cynthia Bailey (yes of RHOA fame) and Tyson Beckford- all of whom she discovered, coached and/or signed to her agency, the Bethann Management Agency in the early nineties. Ms. Hardison’s contributions to fashion cannot be denied and her history goes way back and continues to be recognized...
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Hardison attended both the New York University Art School and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Working as a saleswoman in the garment district she was discovered by legendary fashion designer Wili Smith and became his fit model before trying out print and runway modeling in the 70's. Along with Iman, Pat Cleveland, Beverly Johnson, Billie Blair and Alva Chin, she helped change the way fashion was being presented on the runway by top designers. At the end of her modeling career, instead of fading to black, Bethann opened up her agency and help usher in a "new look" for runway models in the early 90's. She then started the Black Girl's Coalition to celebrate the black models working in abundance in those days.
Hardison still continues to fight and be a voice for new up and coming black models. Teaming up with Naomi Campbell and Iman, Hardison recently wrote an open letter to the industry calling out several designers and fashion houses including McQueen, Chanel, Prada, Versace, and Marc Jacobs for their lack of diversity on the runway and in ad campaigns and a call to do something about it. She continues to be a champion and voice for the voiceless black models that exist today. Ms. Hardison’s contributions to fashion cannot be denied and her history goes way back and continues to be recognized...
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