Eunice Walker Johnson

Born Eunice Walker on April 4, 1916, in Selma, Alabama, she graduated with a degree in sociology from Talladega College in 1938. She met her future husband, John H. Johnson, in 1940 while she was attending Loyola University and was married after she earned her master's degree in 1941. 

The first magazine introduced by the Johnsons was Negro Digest, published in 1942 as a response to the very successful Reader’s Digest.  Based on the strength of this publication, the couple launched Ebony magazine in 1945 and Jet magazine, a weekly news magazine, was begun in 1951. Both were extremely successful. 

In 1958, a friend of Eunice Johnson’s asked Johnson to help her with a fashion show for a hospital in New Orleans.  What began as a one-time event soon became a major fundraising enterprise with black models wearing clothing by black designers, all overseen by Eunice Johnson.  The Ebony Fashion Fair traveling fashion show was launched in 1958 by the Johnson Publishing Company.  It showcased annually for over 50 years and was directed by Eunice until 2009 and she died in 2010. 

Fashion Fair Cosmetics was born in 1973 after the fashion show that inspired it.  It was working on the fashion show when Eunice realized that the models were working hard to blend multiple colors and brand together to get colors that would work with their skin tones.  With its pink packaging and a wide range of shades, Fashion Fair Cosmetics was strategically marketed in high-end department stores. The line continued to expand by introducing skin care, fragrance and hair care products that addressed Black women's needs.  Fashion Fair was once the largest African American owned Cosmetics Company in the world.  Eunice Johnson passed away on January 3, 2010 in Chicago and she and her husband created a world where African Americans could see themselves in the middle- and upper-class sections of society.