Interviewed and written by Tocarra Eldridge
Capturing the world of the fashion industry at a young age, international supermodel and actress Beverly Peele would rise to fame throughout the late 1980’s and 1990’s with her amazing body structure and perfect features. Stunning the world with her beautiful look, she became well-known for her unique talent and incredible work by attracting a global fan base.
Beverly Peele has appeared in numerous music videos from recording artist and music groups such as Heavy D & the Boyz, Jodeci, and George Michael, just to name a few. Having a standout appearance and gaining much popularity as a Hollywood star, Peele has braced the cover of more than 250 magazines, mostly appearing in Mademoiselle. As an actress, her acting career consists of her appearing on shows such as Sister, Sister and Girlfriends, as well as having a role in the film Sweet Friggin’ Daisies.
I had the opportunity to interview the international Supermodel, Beverley Peele, regarding her recent endeavors, latest happenings, her goals, setting an example for young women around the world and much more. During this exciting interview, she brought humor to my life with her realness and amazing personality. Here is what the beautiful and talented supermodel has to share with the readers.
Tocarra Eldridge: Thank you for taking out the time to interview with Consciousness Magazine.
Beverly Peele: Thanks for having me! Thanks for being interested.
Tocarra: You have appeared on over 250 fashion magazine covers. When you look back over the course of your career, did you see yourself having so many accomplishments and becoming an international supermodel?
Beverly: Oh my goodness – wow! No! Actually, I had no idea. The way I started modeling, it was more like an after school activity and it just blew up. I wasn’t one of those little girls who followed modeling. I didn’t want to be a model. I didn’t look at magazines; I wasn’t allowed to watch TV. I was a dancer, track runner, swimmer – I took piano lessons and was in theater at school. My mom put me in everything to keep me from being bored. I wasn’t raised in a bad neighborhood. My parents were very wealthy. We were upper middle-class. So, it was just one of those things, my mom put me in etiquette school which evolved into modeling, and the next thing I know I’m the youngest African-American supermodel. Out of all the stuff I did, I had no idea where it could take me or what it could do. When you’re that age, up until you probably hit your 30s, you don’t really foresee the future. You know that it exists, but you don’t think like ‘wow I can see me here’.
Beverly: In hind sight, going back, if I knew the knowledge that I know now, as far as what you can do with your name, etc., I probably would have a million more magazine covers. I would have taken it a lot more seriously. Now, I take it serious. Now, it’s a trade; it’s a craft. It’s something I’m good at. It’s what people pay me for and I respect that. Back then it was just like ‘oh, well I don’t know why they think I’m pretty’ or ‘oh, I got the cover that’s great; that’s cool’ – but it wasn’t one of those things like ‘oh, I want to get on this cover or that cover’. Now, I envision myself on certain covers and I want to project myself and emulate a certain type of person towards people. Back then I didn’t have a master plan. All of the covers that I did – I didn’t know that it was going to have such an impact. I didn’t know that people were looking at me wanting to be me. I didn’t know that I made a difference. Now, I see it and I respect it. I love it! I’m grateful and blessed that I still have the opportunity to teach and give the world what I was born to do. But girl back then, I was just having fun. (Laugh)
Tocarra: That’s very interesting how your career evolved. It’s like it just happened for you…fell in your lap.
Beverly: Yeh, it really did. It was either being at the right place at the right time or it was my destiny.
Tocarra: Some people never make it to superstar status, however you did. I’m sure you put in a lot of hard work and dedication to follow your dreams and goals. With all of your achievements, what kind of gratification is this for you?
Beverly: I didn’t really look at it as hard work. It was one of those things where I could be away from my mom and dad, have my own apartment, and all I had to do was finish school. So, I didn’t see it. Now, I get younger women, aspiring models coming up to me asking me questions or telling me I’m the reason that they even thought about modeling and that seeing my skin tone or seeing my interviews helped them through hard times. That’s gratifying! That’s worth everything in the world. I just did a Tommy Hilfigure fashion show in Paris. They had like every ethnicity of black that you could imagine. For the average African American, you don’t know that there are so many different shades of black. It was a beautiful thing! All of the girls and all of the young models – I was intimidated by them because I’m old and I’m like ‘oh my God, these girls can walk in these tall heels’. And here I am… I haven’t been on the runway in years. They all came up to me and gave me my props. So, it’s rewarding and gratifying in the sense that I know I’ve touched some people lives; that’s what we are here for. As long as we can get our story across – you know I have a story; I’ve been through a whole bunch of things. I have four beautiful children that I’m raising by myself. Every day is not a walk in the park. So, when people actually stop me and tell me that something I did helped them get through something or encouraged them to do something, that’s worth every penny in the world to me. I love that!
Tocarra: How has the fashion industry changed since you became a part of it?
Beverly: My goodness! It’s like a different world. I feel like I’m just an old timer right now. Everything is just social media. That in itself has changed the whole game. The way that people even book models – everything is internet, everything is digital. You don’t even see that many copies of magazines anymore on the stands because it’s all digital. It’s really different – the way that they pay you. I’m glad that I started when I did, in the era that I started. These girls nowadays are not going to experience what it is to be a supermodel. What we had to go through, they wouldn’t even be able to imagine it. Not saying that it was difficult, but it’s just very different. Now, they’ve changed the laws. Everything has changed; there’s a tighter grip because we’ve lost some lives. The social media side has changed everything. I’m not an Instagram person. My daughter who is 25 and my 15 year old son have way more followers than me. They’re always teaching me how to do things on social media. It’s just way too much to intake. When you go out on a casting call or an audition, the first thing they ask you is how many followers you have. I’d literally turn around and be like ‘there’s nobody following me, what are you talking about’. (Laughs) It’s just weird. You don’t even meet people. You just do everything over the phone or over the internet. Technology has definitely changed the way the world is run.
Tocarra: Do you feel like social media and the new technology wave has taken away from the essence of the industry?
Beverly: I do, I do feel that it has taken away a little bit of what it means to be a model. These Instagram people are flaunting their weight around talking about they are supermodels, but they’re Instagram supermodels. That to me is not a model because it’s all retouched and they can Photoshop their pictures.
Tocarra: You are also an actress. How has that been going for you?
Beverly: I’ve not really acted that much. The things that I have done have been mainly – they tell me what they want me to do. I’ve never had a script of anything. I’ve never been to an acting class. I have some things under my belt. I wouldn’t consider myself an actress, but I do want to act where I get a huge script and I have to memorize it and I get an acting coach. That’s my next step. Everything I’ve done in the acting world, as far as in front of the camera for a motion picture, has been cameos. I do want to do acting. Anybody who reads this and is looking for a supermodel who wants to act and kick-ass on screen please get in touch with me. (Laughs) Tyler Perry I want to meet you. (Laughs) I definitely want to get into that, because that’s one of those things on my bucket list that I need to cross off. I just love becoming another person. As much as I grew up a tom boy I liked playing dress up. It’s like acting without words, that’s what modeling is – when you do an editorial or you’re on the runway. Whatever it is that you’re doing, you’re becoming something outside of yourself…you’re becoming the clothes, you’re becoming the food you’re advertising or the sunglasses. Whatever it is, you have to become that person to make it fabulous.
Tocarra: Outside of modeling and acting, do you have any other endeavors that you would like to pursue or become involved with in the future?
Beverly: Yes. I’m writing my book. It will take me approximately a year to complete because I want to take my time doing it and make sure I cover everything and get this story right. It’s motivational; it’s a journey. It has some drama in it, some he said she said, the ups and downs, but it’s more motivational. I just turned 44. Me being a single mom of four – there’s been times when you want to dig a hole and put your head in it like a ostrich and never come out. I’ve gone through everything that I’ve gone through, and I still have a good head on my shoulders. My kids are well-rounded and very well-mannered. I may not be as rich as I used to be, but that’ll come back. I still have my pride. I have my dignity. I can look at myself in the mirror and say ‘good job Beverly’! I hope to do a couple collaborations with agencies. I don’t really focus on getting back on the runway unless I did a show and they throw me out there as a special guest in one outfit and I just make a spin appearance. To go out there and do a whole model run and see all the designers and do all those shows in a short time frame, no I’m not trying to do that. I like my weight. I’ve got a little bit of hips on me now; I’m a thickems as they call it, (laughs) or whatever the street name is (laughs). There’s a lot more to be on the lookout for. It’s a now or never kind of thing. I’m ready to just focus on it. My two boys don’t even know me as supermodel Beverly Peele. They’ve never seen me in action. My 25 year old knows me as a supermodel. She knows that life because she was born into it – up until she was 10 years old. She traveled the world with me. She knows all the hype and all the notoriety that comes with it. My boys just don’t understand it.
Tocarra: What does Beverly love to do or spend her time when she’s not modeling or being in front of the camera?
Beverly: I like making jewelry and I paint. I taught myself how to paint. I have a studio where I go when I can’t sleep at night. I taught myself by mimicking. I study different styles of art. I love to cook. I like to just sit and play video games on my phone sometimes. (Laughs) Reading a book, it’s kind of funny because I picked up a book about 6 months ago. My son was like ‘what are you doing?’ I told him I was reading. Kids nowadays read books on Kindle or they read little blogs. People don’t really pick up books and that’s crazy. I remember traveling and going to another country and I’d have a backpack full of books…scary books, romance novels, thrillers. I’m just a mom 100%. I juggled being supermodel with that. I’m a mommy first and then I’m a supermodel. Super mom supermodel! (Laughs)
Tocarra: Having reached a great level of success, do you have any words-of-encouragement or inspiration for young upcoming and aspiring models who would like to be successful as yourself?
Beverly: Of course I do! I have a whole book of them. (Laughs) Before you get into anything you have to dig deep and really figure out if this is what you want to do or is it something that you just see as fabulous, like you see Kim Kardashian and you want to be like her. Kim Kardashian is not a model. She is an influencer who markets for looks and she is very smart with her family’s background. They take the opportunities and seize it and it becomes lucrative for them. But, she is not a model. Little girls see that and they want to be her. People literally go get plastic surgery to become her or whoever they idolize. So, is that what you really really want? Or is it because you see and think it’s all glamour, and that’s why you want it. That would be my first thing to ask. Secondly, if that is what you want then you need to study it. You need to know what it is to be a model. Being a model is not just somebody who gets free clothes and people doing everything for you. That’s an upside of it, but to differentiate a supermodel from a model, we know the lines of the clothes, we know what angle is the best for our face, and we know if we put on something how to make it look presentable. You’re a walking hanger. You’re selling whatever the designer is selling. They are not really choosing you because you’re a great person; they’re using you for your body and your looks, so you have to give back what it is that they want to make their stuff look good. So, as long as people understand that and don’t take things personally then you’ll go far.
Tocarra: Great advice!
Beverly: For the women of color and men of color, racism and bigotry is everywhere, so you just have to be strong. Have a strong heart and a strong mind and just know who you are because you can easily get lost in the business very quickly. I’ve seen it a million times. It’s cliché to say follow your dreams and goals, but it’s true you should follow your dreams. However, sometimes following your dreams can leave you broke or doing heroin, or lead you to selling your body. You have to follow your dreams with a plan. For example, if it doesn’t work out in a certain amount of time, then have something to fall back on where you can still survive and make money. That’s the worst thing you want to do is spend a whole bunch of money to follow your dream and then you’re left with nothing.
Tocarra: That’s great advice! Beverly, before we close the interview, would you like to add anything that we haven’t discussed?
Beverly: I just hope that everybody stays blessed and spend time with their children, their husbands, their wives, and their partners because all you have in this world is yourself and the ones that love you. You have to respect everybody and give everybody love because you never know when the last day is going to be that you might see that person. It sucks to be alone, so stay happy and happiness will come to you.
Last modified: June 24, 2023