A Timeless Beauty
JoAni Johnson is a first generation American whose parent hailed from the island of water and wood, Jamaica. She was raised in Harlem and hung out at Studio 54 during Warhol’s heyday Now at 67 years young, she’s come out of semi-retirement for a completely unexpected modeling career.
Johnson enters an industry unsure of what to do with her story. The odds would typically be stacked against her: She’s in her seventh decade of life and stands tall at 5’4” (and a half). And yet, following a viral 2016 Allure video, walking for contemporary and emerging designers including Caribbean pop star turned fashion designer Robyn Rhianna Fenty.
In 2016, while walking down the streets of Chelsea in Manhattan with husband Peter (“During the summertime, we used to take parts of the city and just cover them [on foot], just to see what has changed”), she was stopped by a street style photographer who asked to take her photo. Johnson unenthusiastically obliged. “I didn’t want to. But my husband said, ‘C’mon, let her take the photo.’,” she remembers. A few weeks later, a casting agent reached out to Johnson asking her to film a video about someone with grey hair. “I asked my husband first and, again, he said, ‘Go ahead, just try it.’ I didn’t know what they wanted. I was semi-retired and working on my tea blending business. But then I went and that was the Allure video.”This video sent her on a new career path and is showing the world how Caribbean beauty is timeless.