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Donyale Luna Was A Strange Beauty

Not much is known about Donyale Luna, one of the first black supermodels, except that she was weird and beautiful. It is believed that Donyale created the story of her heritage from her imagination. Born Peggy Anne Freeman in Detroit in 1946 to parents Peggy and Nathaniel Freeman, Donyale was hardly truthful rather creative about her background. Despite the evidence of her birth certificate, she said her biological father’s surname was Luna and her mother was of Native American, Mexican, and Egyptian descent. She even claimed one of her grandmothers was Irish and had married a black man. Perhaps Donyale created this story to escape her true upbringing — her father was reportedly abusive and was murdered when she was 18. Or maybe she thought the fashion industry would be more accepting of a more “exotic” beauty. Of course, we’ll never know, but one thing that we’re sure of is that Donyale was a pioneering force in modeling and remained strange throughout her short life. Keep reading »

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