Beverly Johnson: Supermodel and DV Survivor

Supermodel Beverly Johnson, one of Oprah’s Legends in 2006, announced today on Oprah that her new mission is to become a voice for survivors of domestic violence:

I am a victim of domestic violence.  I just think we’ve become so desensitized towards women being beaten and abused and murdered that everybody just thinks it’s okay, and it’s not.

Oprah appeared to be shocked by the revelation which didn’t get much press except in the tabloids.  Mark Anthony Burk’s conviction for domestic violence in January 2009 didn’t hit the tabloids until he leveraged it into “Pipe Dreams” on the Golf Channel about being homeless after Ms. Johnson kicked him to the curb.

Ms. Johnson was understandably livid, and her attorney Hans Fleischner told Page Six:

I don’t think these domestic violence issues are a first for Mr. Burk.  He was the subject of multiple restraining orders in Los Angeles dating back to 2004.  I have written to the Golf Channel saying this isn’t just a case of someone’s life suddenly taking a bad turn, which is how they’re trying to depict it.

Mr. Burk had the audacity to sue Ms. Johnson for $5 million in palimony.  Her publicist released a statement:

It is our understanding that Mr. Burk has been convicted of making terrorist threats against Ms. Johnson and is presently serving that sentence.  We also understand that since his conviction, he has been found in contempt on three different counts of willfully violating probation.  Ms. Johnson is in fear for her safety, but she’s actively working with law enforcement to resolve this situation.

Championship Swimmer to Supermodel

Ms. Johnson was a championship swimmer in college and aspired to be an attorney.  However, when she learned how lucrative a career as a model could be, she boldly approached the editors of Glamour.  They featured her on their cover in 1971, but it was her historic Vogue cover in August, 1974 that propelled her into the international spotlight.  She has since graced the covers of over 500 magazines.  She told the Los Angeles Times:

When the magazine came out I had no idea at all that I was the first black woman to be on the cover of Vogue.  I was just overjoyed to be on the cover because that’s what you strive for as a model.  That’s when you know you have arrived.

She was so excited to learn from her agent that she had made the cover that she raced to the local news kiosk without change to buy the magazine:

I told the guy at the kiosk, “It’s me on the cover, I live right down the street, I promise you I’ll bring you the money!”  And he said “no.”

A few weeks later, the significance of being the first Black model to grace the cover of Vogue sank in:

I felt angry at first ~ like, why hadn’t a black woman appeared on the cover of Vogue already?  As a woman of color in America, I had heard about prejudice, but I didn’t know the depth and the breadth of it.  And then I felt a profound sense of responsibility.  I grew up, that’s what I did.  Overnight, I became an adult.

Ms. Johnson was born on October 13, 1952 in Buffalo, NY.   She is a singer, actor, published author, celebrity judge, and owner of Beverly Johnson Hair Collection.  Her daughter, Anansa Sims, is also a model.   The mother-daughter models are getting ready for Ms. Sims wedding in the next photo.

Ms. Johnson is also a very talented golfer ~ with a 14 handicap.  She lives on the PGA West golf course in LaQuinta, CA.   In this next photo, she is greeting guests at her 12 foot front door:


11 responses to “Beverly Johnson: Supermodel and DV Survivor

  1. Overcoming the stalking and domestic violence challenges we face today requires a new proactive and socially innovative vision for tomorrow.

    Increasing stalking awareness and helping to prevent domestic violence will make the state of our union stronger and our future much brighter.

  2. This email is intended to reach Beverly Johnson Sr. if you will, the Super Model of the 1970s.

    Our client, Mr. David Coles was the creator/ founder of a cosmetic line specialy formulated for darker skins called MOCA, Natural Tone Cosmetics in the early 1970s. Beverly Johnson was one of the models used in the Moca advertising campaign. The advertisement campaign and the products which sold in major Department Stores in the North East was a hit and we credit this to the appearance of Beverly on our POP and other advertising materials. Mr. Coles is now embarking on an even greater endeavor: the creation of a new line of cosmetics formulated with natural Ingredients for every skin shade under the sun, including Sun Tanned skins. The product will be marketed World Wide with China being one of the major investors.

    If there is any interest in Beverly becoming involved with this new venture in any manner, please have her contact David Curry at; for further discussions.

    David Curry, Investor Relations

    Equidata1, Inc.

  3. I am a domestic violence survivor also. Currently I am in court fighting for a divorce I currently have an oder protection that my husband violates daily. The state of Illinois is not helping me at all. This man has threatened to kill me several times and police reports were made. Currently I am being told I can not leave the state to keep me and my child safe because of this case. I need help asap please

    Thank You,

    Ambe Regina

  4. Ambe Regina,

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources to help individual people. I have written a number of posts on this issue to share my insights on how people can stay safe. You will find most by searching “litigation abuse,” “pit bull abusers,” and “PAS.” is an excellent resource. There’s nothing about PAS that Nancy Carroll doesn’t know. She’s in Indiana, but she too doesn’t have the resources to help individual people.

    Since I’m from IL, I know painfully well that it isn’t the most enlightened state on the issue of DV. That’s a big part of the reason I relocated to WA State which isn’t perfect either ~ better than many.

    If you haven’t yet connected with your local prosecutor’s office, some have special DV units that specialize in the legal issues DV survivors face. There’s also the judicial guide that you can get for free and give to your judge. There’s a link on my blogroll.

    Some mothers have found packing the court room during their hearings helps. However, this strategy has also backfired when the mothers got too aggressive.

    If you are lucky to have enlightened brothers, cousins, or male friends, you might ask them to have a “chat” with your ex. As you know, most abusers are cowards. They’ll back down if they know there might be consequences.

    You are a resourceful person ~ that’s the most important factor. The system sadly isn’t where we need it to be. Yet, I know for sure that it is survivors like us who will demand change and get it.

    Good luck,
    Anne Caroline

  5. The National Domestic Violence SafeLine number is toll free 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). Help is available 24/7.

    You are very welcome Anne Caroline. And thank you! It our pleasure to be another loop in the safety net…

  6. Ms Johnson your my most favorite MODEL ever!!! Since being a small and growing up in Asbury Park N.J. I’ve aways had mad love for you.Yes Ms.J no one will ever touch you On the runway or just walking down a sidewalk!!!
    Thank you
    Imhotep Muhammad. aka little Leroy

  7. To the owner of this blog website. Please take notice on Feb. 13, 2013 , through the State of California in the County of Riverside the conviction of Mark Anthony Burk and was overturned to NOT GUILTY the case is dismissed – vacated from the entire County data base. I must demand you [ CaroliaDrake] remove the blog claiming a [conviction] exists in this matter. IN the event this webpost is not removed immediately than the next step will be a legal remedy to ‘cease and desist”. Defemation Slander & Libel Tort as the only remedy. . Please take this matter serious.

    Mark A. Burk

  8. Mr. Burk:

    If you want people to take you seriously, you would be wise to use proper grammar and legal terminology as well as adopt a more professional demeanor rather than threaten and harass journalists.

    No media outlet has the legal obligation to help you repair your reputation.

    I noticed today that the original report of your conviction remains on Page Six. Your comment updates readers on your current status. Quite frankly, it coupled with your second comment (which I deleted as a courtesy to you) creates the strong impression that Ms. Johnson had valid reason to be concerned about the pattern of your conduct.

    I do not tolerate threats, harassment, or cyber-bullying.

    Anne Caroline Drake, MBA/JD

  9. Pingback: Beverly Johnson Vogue - VideoClip4U·

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