2008 : Jody Watley VOGUE ITALIA The Historic Black Issue
Photography: Herb Ritts
Makeup: JoAnn Gair
Hair: Peter Savic
This issue featured 4 covers (Naomi Campbell, Liya Kebede, Jourdan Dunn Sessilee Lopez) only black models, all the feature topics are related to black women in arts and entertainment. It sold out in 72 hours, with 60,000 more copies ordered for reprint. Currently selling for $2,500 on eBay. Did you grab a copy?!
An honor to be in the issue, led by the visionary editor Franca Sozzani.
Jody Watley pictured in vintage dress and clutch attending legendary photographer Herb Ritts birthday party in 1991. “You don’t have to spend a grip and wear designer clothes to look like a million bucks. Style is finding what works for you. Today vintage and repurposed clothing are more commonplace so seek out these options – you’d be surprised as well what you’d find at Goodwill – many items barely or gently worn. In addition you can often find cool deals at consignment stores as well, though more on the pricey end. Pair vintage with contemporary but most of all know what works for you not what trends are. With the prevalence of designers fashion and Instagram photo opps with pricey outfits – don’t get caught up in that game.
It was an cool to be a part of the “People Magazine 50 Most Beautiful Summer 1990” issue needless to say (actress Michelle Pfeiffer was on the cover). I believe true beauty radiates from the inside out and honestly having smarts is higher on my list though being in the entertainment industry there is a level of superficial so I get it. In my interviews it’s always been key to get that across, not just being a ‘pretty face.’ The feature makes mention of my godfather music legend Jackie Wilson who will finally be honored with a Star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood September 4, 2019.
In this opportunity it’s noted that I was ok with my crooked bottom teeth..they are still crooked though I could easily have them straightened. Perhaps I will before all is said and done but they don’t bother me and are a part of being distinctly me. Imperfections are a part of who we are, it’s also what I replied recently to someone trolling me on Facebook who mocked me for my bottom teeth ‘you have enough money – why don’t you get your teeth fixed, people are talking about you behind your back..” Sure, we are all works in progress and if definitely fix or work on what needs improvement if it makes you feel better about yourself – go for it but don’t let society or certain standards make you feel less than or inferior in any way. You decide – I decide.
Going with short hair was also a statement in itself and somewhat rebellious in it’s own way..it’s not about my hair but my artistry and quest to always be what and who I want to be at any given time – not who and what other’s want to define or box me into. The short hair was not received well at the time with fans, or my record label. As an artist and a human being most of all, it’s often challenging to hold on and fight to be who you are and want to be while others may only see you one way and try to keep you marginalized to their vision.
This was also around the time I was photographed by legendary Herb Ritts for the GAP groundbreaking ‘celebrity’ ad campaign ‘Individuals Of Style’ – loved this session. Herb Ritts was so kind and easy going. Any intimidation I may have felt going into the session melted away as soon as I met him. We shot in natural light on the rooftop of his Hollywood studio, I wore my own denim jeans and Doc Martens, customizing the white GAP t-shirt to suit me, just a simple snipping off of the sleeves. Peter Savic, another legend in the fashion and celebrity hairstylist..actually he’s a master of hair, an artist not just a stylist worked with Herb Ritts often but it was a first for us. Wanting to do something fresh, modern and bold but not sure what – Peter suggested short and so we agreed on the pixie cut and he knocked it out of the park! An image from this session was also used for my “Precious Love” single…as well it was around this time I was nearly booed off the stage and received heavy backlash after by my only performance on the Soul Train Awards…that’s another post entirely. I do touch upon being black and forward thinking as an artist back then, the politics of the music business .. in my work in progress memoir.
Be bold if you feel like it – be you – live your life!! Wattage!