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Barbara Summers

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From Barbara Summers (September 6, 1944 — November 2014) was an American writer and educator who had also had a long and successful career as a fashion model, working for 17 years with Ford Models, one of America’s top agencies. Her 1998 book, Skin Deep, the story of Black models in America and abroad, is a definitive work on black women in the modeling industry. She spent more a decade interviewing fashion professionals on three continents to record their experiences

“My wonderful, hard-working father used to call me ‘Daughter #2.’ He and my mother had 4 girls before their one and only son arrived. We girls were born in Springfield, Mass. When the family moved to Hartford, Conn. my parents literally built our house. My beautiful mother—a Hunter College graduate—mixed the mortar, and my father - a Morehouse man - laid the bricks. Their passionate, productive partnership laid the foundation for my concept of how women and men should - and could - live together.

I went to the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, and the Sorbonne, where I promptly became a grad school dropout and a lifelong Francophile. In the surprising adventure that is my life, I have been a Ford fashion model, a world traveler, a teacher, a writer and editor, a lover, wife, and mother, a sister to several, a good friend to many. I define myself as an artist. Artists are charged with the special responsibility not just to speak truth but to sing it.”

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Printed: November 17, 2017, 11:08 pm
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