HBO has debuted the documentary for Donyale Luna: Supermodel, a film exploring the life, career and legacy of one of the first Black models to grace the cover of a Vogue magazine.
Often considered the “first Black supermodel,” Luna — who died in 1979 at the age of 33 — broke ground at a time when it was not only still rare to see Black women who weren’t white-passing in fashion but Black women on major magazine covers at all. Through her heyday in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Luna challenged the modelling world’s conventions and made history by becoming the first Black woman on the covers of both Harper’s Bazaar in 1965 and British Vogue in 1966.
Born Peggy Ann Freeman in Detroit, Michigan, Luna became a larger-than-life character who broke barriers in the fashion industry, challenged the prevailing ideals of beauty, and influenced culture.
The HBO documentary sheds light on her life, unearthing the racism she faced in the fashion industry and the high-profile gatekeepers who tried to stop her career. “Donyale Luna: Supermodel,” streaming now on Max, is a powerful retelling of the life and death of the otherworldly supermodel who captivated the fashion world when white beauty standards were the only standards and 1960s America was rife with racial inequality.