Meet Veronica Webb

The Story Of Veronica Webb The First African-American To Sign An Exclusive Beauty Contract With Revlon In 1992

Early Interest in Fashion

Growing up in Detroit, Veronica Webb always had a special interest in clothes and style. “Even before the supermodel’s phenomenal rise to the top of the modeling world, Webb took great pride in how she presented herself,” said designer Sophie Theallet.

Though wearing clothes sewn by her mother, Webb treated them like couture and possessed an early understanding of style versus fashion.

Webb didn’t care as much about big brand names as having the confidence to present oneself well. This attitude would carry through even as she built an arsenal of designer pieces during her successful modeling career.

Breaking Down Barriers in Modeling

In 1992, Webb made history by becoming the first African-American model to sign an exclusive contract with a major cosmetics company – Revlon. For Webb, the deal was the “perfect confluence of events.” She had supportive figures like model-turned-agent Bethann Hardison and stylist Elizabeth Saltzman championing her.

There was also growing diversity behind the scenes. Revlon chemist Jerri Baccus-Glover, developed the new Color Style line specifically for women of color.

The contract was a breakthrough – not just financially with its multi-million dollar value – but in its cultural impact. Said Webb: “I knew that it could be possible that this contract would happen.

When the contract finally came through, I had such a sense of relief that women could go to their corner drugstore in little towns and big cities and get cosmetics at an accessible price point that matched their needs.”

Paving the Way for Others

Webb saw her history-making Revlon contract as a chance to open doors for other people of color in fashion and beauty. She pushed for more representation on her own shoots.

“The Revlon contract gave me the power to say that I needed to see top-flight Black talent on set, because at that time there wasn’t a Black hairdresser or makeup artist, photographer’s assistant, or caterer, for that matter, who was working with me,” Webb recalled.

Though change was gradual, Webb helped move the conversation forward. Three decades later, models like Adut Akech represent the growing celebration of African beauty in fashion.

Said Webb:

“My legacy at Revlon and in the fashion industry is creating opportunity for people of color.” She holds the door open for new voices and continues to inspire through her multi-faceted career in fashion, television, and business.