Beverly Johnson is On the Couch with CurlyNikki! Ms. Johnson was the first Black woman to grace the cover of Vogue in 1974. Since then, she's been on the cover of more than 500 magazines, ripped all the runways, authored books and appeared on television.
Currently, you can find her on the Oprah Winfrey Network, starring in her own reality show, "Beverly's Full House." You can also find her new hair care products on the shelves at your local Target.
During the interview, Beverly talked staying young, weaving as a protective style and revealed pics of her real hair! Enjoy!
On her new hair care line, "Hair by Beverly"
I've been chasing the formula for 10 years, so I can't really take all of the credit. I was the spokesperson for this line, that's how much I loved it. When I was doing my hair care line for Target, I decided to check back in and see if it was available. It's the most incredible product in the sense that we take science and also natural ingredients and put them together.
I feel that there is a huge void in the market for an affordable, quality product, and this should fill that space. With all the perms and improperly installed weaves, our hair has gotten really, really beat up, so my line promotes healthy hair and growth.
I'm proud to say that there is no compromise in the quality of the products. And I don't get to say that a lot. I've represented a lot of products, I'm a model, that's what I do. But with this, I'm really happy to be an owner in the sense that I manufacture and distribute. Every single ingredient, every single step of the way has been this amazing team effort that I've been very involved with. I'm blown away and I hope you will be as well.
On her hair
I don't perm my hair. When I take my hair down, people don't even believe it's all mine! It's so thick and long. It's crazy. Also, I'm proud to say, I have all of my edges — all of them.
What happened was, 14 years ago, a wig and weave care company approached me and I wasn't even wearing extensions at the time. My manager was like, "You can't do that, don't even go there." But I'm glad I did. It really paid off because we went from a $3 million company to an $80 million company.
That was a fantastic and interesting journey in that I really got to know the hair business. We people of color have had a love affair with our hair since the beginning of time and that's not going anywhere. But what I found is that, through all of this experimentation with relaxers, wigs and hair extensions, our own natural hair took a serious beating. And the relaxers are just deadly. You look under a microscope at a hair strand from a perm — forget about it! It's amazing that it can exist on our heads.
So what I started to do was not to relax my hair at all, use good products, braid my hair up and use a regular sew-on weave, netting the hair. This is what jump started my hair growth. Whenever my hair is out, I'm careful not to wet it too much, and I only use wide tooth combs. Once a year, I let my hair down for a while, and people just can't believe the growth. For me, it's easier with my schedule to have extensions. I like my hair to look a certain way all the time. I don't care what you do to your hair or how you wear it, as long as you feel beautiful.
On weaves as a protective style
I know a lot of women, my daughter included, who wear clip-in pony tails. That's a great protective style that's easy and not very invasive. My daughter doesn't wear weaves at all, but for shoots, she'll use a clip-in. It's fun. We like to change it up. Every woman has a bad hair day every now and then which is why I have the line of ponytails as well.
Also, if you choose to wear extensions, you really have to go to someone who knows what they're doing. And please, stay away from the glue at all cost. Try the clip ons. You can clip it in, take them out and there's no damage to your hair. The sew-ins with the net on top are what I use, and they really do protect the hair and edges. My stylist braids in hair with the edges to reduce the tension, puts the netting around just the edges and proceeds. I get my hair done a lot. I don't leave my hair in for long periods of time, and my real hair is conditioned and maintained in between.
On keeping it tight and smooth as we age
This scientist went around and interviewed regions of the world where people live the longest, where people are over 100, and he asked them their secrets to longevity. He discovered four things about them. Most of them had daily exercise and routines. A lot of them live in the mountains, so just walking around is exercise, but they work in the fields, etc. That was one of the main components. Everyday, doing something, moving your body. And we have a generation with the TVs and computers. We sit on our a**es a lot and it's not good.
Another thing they do, of course, is eat their fruits, veggies and fish, and just about everyone ate meat only in moderation if at all. I've tried to incorporate this into my life. The other thing is that they have frequent and meaningful communication with family and friends, a very tight network. And finally, a place of worship. Finding faith in something other than themselves. Those are the four things that are keeping me vibrant and young.
On her new reality show on OWN
I'm a businesswoman. I manufacture and distribute beauty products. I've known and loved Oprah for many years, so I pitched her some shows. I didn't think she would pick my reality show! I trust and love Oprah and absolutely loved the idea we developed. It's about the mother, daughter relationship. It's so interesting, that relationship. It's a show about building bonds and the whole thing of better communication. Hopefully people will laugh and cry a lot and have a lot of fun.
Even though I'm the executive producer, I've only seen a couple of the episodes, so I'm a little scared [laughter]. It should be a lot of fun. Check it out on March 31st! Everyone can always go to my website BeverlyJohnson.com and I'll keep you abreast of what's going on!