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  • Mikelle Drew

28 Days of Black Fashion History: Billie Blair

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

Today, she’s Reverend Billie Blair, but back in the 70’s and 80’s, Billie Blair was one of the highest paid Black models in the fashion industry.

A native of Flint, Michigan, Billie Blair began modeling in her 20’s for local auto shows. She soon got booked for a 3 day gig in NYC, being photographed in Central Park. That assignment would lead to a 20 year career in modeling that would take her all over the world, from Paris to London to Dubai, Japan and more. Blair would go on to model for fashion brands such as Halston, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Scott Barrie, and Yves Saint Laurent.

In 1973, she would become one of the main models in the legendary Battle of Versailles. One of the 9 Black models on the American roster, she said, "I realize that that was my time in history. I was this skinny black girl, taller than Jesus, with no boobs and no booty, but for the first time, I was really proud of what I was and where I came from. I was recognized." Another model, Jennifer Brice said, “The designers loved her. She was a fully blossomed woman.”

Rose Hartman/Wire Image