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Naomi Sims’ Legacy: Entrepreneurship, Inclusion and Black Is Beautiful

The late model and beauty entrepreneur is remembered for her business acumen and inventive approach to beauty products.

Photo by Harry Morrison for WWD

Naomi Sims’ legacy as one of the first Black supermodels continues to resonate more than a decade after her death.

A trailblazer in both fashion and beauty, Sims realized a multimillion-dollar beauty business that spanned wigs, cosmetics and fragrance. She is remembered as an elegant and gracious woman who championed fellow Black models of her time.

André Leon Talley, who spoke at Sims’ funeral, called her “the pioneer, superstar Black model.”

“She was, most importantly, an elegant woman,” he said in a recent phone call with WWD. “She always exuded contemporary, modern, minimalist elegance in her entire career.”

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