Biography

Bethann Hardison, The First High-Profile Black Model And Activist: Age, Son, Net Worth, And Battle Of Versailles

The American fashion industry is blessed with so many beautiful people from diverse bases, and Bethann Hardison is one of them. She is, infact, one of the first high-profile black fashion models and activists. Hardison gained huge attention when she appeared in the Battle of Versailles fashion show in 1973. She immediately grabbed the limelight being the modern, confident, and most importantly, black. Her efforts led many young people of color to pursue their modeling dream. The model also works as an activist who advocates for diversity in the fashion industry. She has won many awards and recognitions for her work, including the prestigious CFDA Founders Award in 2014.

Short Bio: Age, Early Days

Bethann Hardiso was born on 30th December 1942 in Brooklyn, New York. As of now (August 2021), she is 72 years old. She spent her entire childhood in Brooklyn.

Hardiso graduated from George W. Wingate High School. Her keen interest in fashion and modeling drove her to attend New York University Art School and the Fashion Institute of Technology. However, she didn’t complete her education.

Career: Modeling, Fashion Designing, Battle of Versailles, Vogue

The inspirational model cum activist started her work life as a correction officer in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for a short period. In the 1960s, she worked as a saleswoman in Cabot, a garment district of New York.

While working there, Hardison did modeling for Federated Stores, the largest and most profitable department company. She entered the industry when she was discovered by an African American designer Willi Smith in 1967. She started working with him as a fitting model and muse.

With her hard work and talent, she made an entry into the fashion and modeling industry. Her beauty and talent made her a highlighted person in the fashion and modeling industry in a brief time.

During the ‘Black is Beautiful movement, the international runway model flourished with charm and elegance. Breaking the stereotypes, black models like Beverly Johnson, Iman, Pat, Cleveland, and Bethann appeared in the top magazines like Allure, Harper’s Bazar, and Vogue during the 1970s.

In 1973, Hardison was the cast member for “Battle of Versailles,” a grand fashion show program where top French fashion designers competed with the then top American fashion designers. The program was held as the fundraiser for restoring the Palace of Versailles’ Marie Antoinette Theater. The bold lady stood out among all of the models, and hence American designers marked victory over the French designers.

Black and White Picture of American Models representing America for Battle of Versailles.
Models of America for the Battle of Versailles in 1973.
Source: [email protected]

Until the late 1970s, the diva had already established herself as a top model. Moreover, she also started working as a creative director and producer. She worked for designers like Bill Kaiserman, Valentino Couture, Kansai Yamamoto, Issay Miyake and so on.

Bethann also designed swimwear for Ibiza which is still identifiable in today’s swimwear market.

Involvement In Agencies, Activism and Advocacy: CFDA Awards, Gucci

After working for Ibiza, the 72-year-old joined Click Models in 1980, where she played a huge role in revolutionizing the modeling industry. With her assistance, Click Models contributed a lot to changing the orthodox and redefining beauty standards.

In 1984, the international runway model left Click and formed her agency, Bethann Management, where she featured models of all diversity. She continued to challenge the existing notions and so-called beauty standards. Her agency constituted all kinds of models who came from diverse places, cultures, skin tones, and so on. She groomed a lot of models who have now become prominent personalities in the field of modeling.

The modeling activist is continuing her advocacy and activism to diversity the sector of fashion and modeling. For her excellent work and advocacy, she received the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Eleanor Lambert Founder Award in 2014.

In 2018, she worked as an advisor to the CFDA, and in 2019, the model became a member of Gucci’s Changemakers Council. In 2020, Bethann started to work as Gucci’s Executive Advisor for Global Equity and Cultural Engagement.

Bethann Hardison in a long gown for the GucciCruise show.
Bethann Hardison’s looks for the GucciCruise show in Rome.
Source: [email protected]

Currently, Bethann is maintaining management for Tyson Beckford and Kadeem Hardison (her son). She is reportedly working on her autobiography, developing a documentary titled “Invisible Beauty”, and is also a consulting producer on HBO’s upcoming scripted version of “The Battle of Versailles” by Academy Award-nominated director Ava Duvernay.

Relationship Status: Marriage And Son

Bethann Hardison is not really open to public regarding her relationship and marriage. However, reports show that she was married to Donald McFadden. She has 7 children with her husband, 4 sons Myles, Michael, John, and Kadeem, and 3 daughters Nydia, Gretchen, Caroline.

Her son Kadeem Hardison is a popular actor of America who has worked in number of movies and sitcoms. She also has a granddaughter Sophia Hardison.

How Much Is Her Net Worth?

The mother of Kadeem Hardison is one of the most popular and wealthiest models in America. Her net worth is approximate $2M-$3M. As a prominent figure in International Fashion Industry, she must be earning a significant amount from her career.

The average earning of an American model happens to be $112685 per annum. Since she is the international; diva, we can only imagine how much she must have earned as a model and fashion designer.

Moreover, as she holds a prestigious post as executive officer of Gucci, she earns more than $50 per hour. This is already a lot. However, there are still some more income sources of the multi-millionaire. She earns a lot as a creative director and producer.

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