Donyale Luna was a model and actress. She was the first African American Model to appear on the cover of the British Vogue. Donyale had a tough childhood, and her father was abusive and alcoholic. And her mother was Indigenous Mexican. Although her mother wanted her to go to nursing, she pursued a modeling career. And soon, she rose to fame in the modeling world with Harper’s Bazaar featuring a sketch of her on the cover of its January 1965 issue. An article titled “The Luna Year” was also published in Time magazine in 1966.
Donyale Luna moved to London, where she was photographed by famous fashion photographers of the time, including David Bailey, William Klein, Helmut Newton, and William Claxton. And in March 1966, she became the first black model to grace its cover. However, the photo showed her hand covering nearly her entire face except for one of her eyes, accented with very bold eyeliner. This was done for fear of criticism from the readers. Luna often wore blond wigs and contact lenses.
In 1966 Luna married an unknown actor, but the marriage lasted for ten-month and ended with a divorce. Later she reportedly was engaged to the Austrian-born Swiss actor Maximilian Schell. Luna was also romantically involved with German actor Klaus Kinski. In 1976 Luan married Italian photographer Luigi Cazzaniga, and they had a daughter. The couple separated while still legally married.
Donyale Luna’s death
Although Luna did not smoke, drink, or take any drugs when she first moved to New York. But when she moved to London , alcohol, heroin, and other drugs became an increasing part of her life. In fact, in 1969, Kinski threw her out due to her increasing drug use. And in the early morning hours of May 17, 1979, Donyale Luna died of a heroin overdose in a Rome clinic. She was 33 years old.
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