Beverly Johnson Hops to Rewrite How We Talk About Menopause

Beverly Johnson is a fashion icon that has lived on for more than 50 years. Beverly Johnson was the first African-American woman to grace the covers of Elle. Vogue Johnson created the perfect beauty look for the fashion industry in 1974. Johnson wants to make menopause more accessible for women.

Johnson has experienced menopause many times. Johnson was 47 when she had her first hysterectomy. “full-blown menopause.” Johnson was shocked by the result. The model hadn’t been warned by her doctor that menopause would happen immediately following the surgery.

“It was a major operation,” Johnson made this observation. “I didn’t fully understand what the procedure entailed. The doctor didn’t explain and I thought menopause would come on gradually.”

Johnson’s hysterectomy occurred after being diagnosed with fibroids in her 30s. Johnson had myomectomy at first to get rid of the fibroids. But they quickly grew back. After they came back, her painful uterine fibroids caused her to have anemia for one year.

The hysterectomy was a positive procedure, but it had a severe impact on her body. Johnson was still sweating throughout the night for two months after her operation. 

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“My body changed,” She was silent. “You start gaining weight in the middle. And I was still modeling. I felt tired. I remember talking to older women and when they’d break out in a sweat, I’d say ‘What’s wrong? Are you okay?’ And the response was always ‘You’ll know about it soon enough.’ I never connected the two. Well, I was that woman now.”

Johnson turned to friends for advice

Johnson, aged 70, shares his experiences with the menopause “when there was no Google” This was very difficult. Menopause was a taboo issue that people wouldn’t talk about, including her family members. “My mom would say ‘It’s nothing. It will be over soon,”’ the model reflected. “She downplayed it, but she downplays anything that is kind of uncomfortable.”

Johnson sought advice from her friends, just like other women going through menopause. “I got more helpful information from girlfriends than my own doctors,” Sie says. “As soon as you mention it to someone going through it, it’s the topic of conversation.”

Johnson has joined the menopause conversation to support other women. Johnson hopes women will continue to tell their stories about how they destigmatize the menopause. “Why do we have to stay in the Dark Ages when it comes to this?” Johnson asked. “It’s life changing, but it also causes some health changes, so it’s wonderful people are talking about it.”

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