I wrote this for the LA Times.

Beverly Johnson was a 21-year-old ingenue sleeping on a mattress on the floor of her midtown Manhattan apartment when she went into the photo studio with legendary photographer Francesco Scavullo 35 years ago this month.

The atmosphere, she remembers, was "magical." "You could kind of feel it in the air during the shoot," says Johnson. "I knew it was going to be a good picture."

But the rising model was stunned when she learned that an image from the session -- of her in a simple, powder blue sweater and a Mona Lisa smile -- would become the cover of Vogue in August 1974, making her the magazine's first black cover model.

Read the rest here.