August 3, 2009

Famed Model Naomi Sims Dead at 61

By Ram

Naomi Sims, the famed model and designer whose 1968 appearance on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal marked a breakthrough for African American women in the fashion and design industry, died Saturday, according to a report in the New York Times.

Sims, who most recently resided in Newark, was 61, and died of cancer, the report said.

Sims, who is often acknowledged as the first black supermodel, struck two poses in the late 1960s that are still on display today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City: a 1967 Times fashion magazine cover and another image from a 1969 issue of Life Magazine, the report said.

After enjoying five years of success on the runway, Sims launched a successful wig-making business, sparking a lucrative enterprise by designing hairstyles aimed specifically at African American women, according to the report.

Also known for her writing prowess, Sims penned several advice novels including "All About Health and Beauty for the Black Woman" and "How To Be a Top Model." She also authored an advice column for Right On! magazine.

She was married to Manhattan art dealer Michael Findlay from 1973 to 1991. Sims is survived by a son Robert, a daughter, Betty, and a granddaughter.

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