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Beverly Johnson, Supermodel and Advocate to Deliver Keynote Address at East House

In the Community: From East House

Beverly Johnson, photo provided.

East House welcomed supermodel, entrepreneur, author and advocate Beverly Johnson who appeared in-person at East House’s 13th annual Hope & Recovery Luncheon on Friday, September 30 at the Harro East Ballroom, located at 155 N. Chestnut Street. 

Johnson stepped in for Oscar nominated actress Gabourney Sidibe, who was unable to participate as guest speaker due to unforeseen circumstances.

The hybrid event featured a blend of VIP in-person and virtual options. The annual fundraising event is a celebration of hope for people living in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders – not just within East House programs but the broader community. 

Beverly Johnson has been an active force in the fashion and business industry for decades. She made world history as the first Black model to appear on the cover of Vogue, leading the change of the beauty ideal in the fashion world, and would ultimately grace more than 500 magazine covers. Her remarkable career, which spans over three decades, is a showcase of accomplishment: from model to mom to actress, author, activist, businesswoman, and TV personality. 

Throughout her career, Johnson was a fierce advocate for women’s rights, mentoring and empowering Black models and demanding equal pay, despite vicious competition in the industry.   

Many may not know, but Johnson understands both mental health and substance use disorder, survived emotional and physical abuse, she is in recovery from an ongoing struggle to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. 

In her 2015 memoir, The Face That Changed It All, she shares honest details of a life that began in her hometown of Buffalo, NY and the career that took her around the world, with many ups and downs in between. Through it all, she demonstrates incredible resiliency and optimism we can all learn from.   

The local nonprofit partnered with WXXI Public Broadcasting who served as the 2022 East House Hope & Recovery Luncheon Media Sponsor.   

East House’s mission is to empower individuals in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders to recover and to live healthy and fulfilling lives. The agency meets every individual on their recovery journey, providing a wide-spectrum of housing options as well as recovery support services to benefit more than 1,300 clients and their families each year. 

The innovation that East House was built on in 1966 continues today, in the belief that safe, quality housing is necessary for healing and recovery, according to the agency’s website.

For more information, call 585.238.4800 or visit