Julia Gets Wise with Beverly Johnson

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This week on Wiser Than Me, Julia spends time with 71-year-old supermodel and trailblazer Beverly Johnson. Julia and Beverly dive into modeling in the 1970s, including what it was like for Beverly to find out she would be the first Black woman on the cover of American Vogue. Julia and Beverly discuss self confidence, and the two open up about their experiences with menopause. Plus, Julia follows up with her mom, Judy, about being in front of the camera.

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Beverly Johnson, Mommy

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  00:00

You know, I don’t usually play characters who are first and foremost beauties. I mean, you know, Elaine, for example, she was cute enough, but there was no requirement of beauty and the character didn’t lead with that. And maybe it’s a lucky thing too, because I have a semi uncomfortable relationship with my looks. I mean, well, no, I mean, not not exactly. Okay, that’s not fair. I’m actually perfectly fine looking how I look. What I mean is, is that sure, some days I wish I looked younger, prettier, sexier, you know, whatever. But that’s a, you know, that’s like a cultural requirement for women. And that is a different subject so nevermind. I like to play characters, that’s what I like. When I’m required to be just me when the focus is my image in front of a camera with no script, no character, that’s, that’s harder for me. I’ve, I’ve always felt so ill at ease on the red carpet. For this reason, I’m not exactly complaining, I really am not, I know I’m lucky to be there. This is a good problem to have. But it doesn’t mean I feel comfortable. And the same thing is true at photoshoots, too. I’m always trying to look like I’m at ease. But my interior monologue is just, it’s going a mile a minute, and it’s basically saying, get me the fuck out of here. I mean, really, don’t get me wrong I do love to get dressed up. I love pretty clothes. Like, I mean, I really love them. I love having my hair and makeup done, generally speaking, you know, assuming it turns out, okay. But the part of walking the carpet or posing on a photographer set has always been a challenge for me, like, I often find myself actually holding my breath. Without realizing it, I actually get lightheaded, I have to remind myself to breathe. I never really feel quite up to the task. And I can really obsess on how I look after the fact which is a bad place for me to go. I have, I’ve discovered that my resting face is not always good for photos, because I look sort of mean. And if I smile, it’s it’s usually better. So sometimes I just am smiling like a crazy person up and down the carpet. Oh, god, it’s hard man. This is such a silly thing to complain about, of course but here’s where I’m going. I am amazed at how some people can just command that moment, that moment in front of a photographer’s lens when it’s really only about you. So I have enormous admiration. I’m in awe of the people who can do it, what a skill. It takes a kind of daring and confidence and fearlessness that just blows me away. So once I was shooting Veep, in London, and Lady Gaga was seeing at the same hotel, where we were all staying and a ton of fans were always waiting outside the hotel behind these little barricades at all hours waiting for her to make an appearance. And every time she came out of the hotel, and this could be by the way, several times in a day, she would be in a completely totally different outfit every time. And each one was more outrageous than the last. Like there was one sort of a Heidi thing with braids that were wired to stick straight out. And then there was one with the most extravagant, giant feathered parasol, and one that was like a hefty bag with these crazy revealing holes in it. And then one night, I was coming in, she was coming out and she was in this kind of a white gown like a chrysalis or something and she barely move her feet. And she goes out in front of all these fans clamoring for her. And she just unfolds herself and holds her arms out like this like wings. And the front of her gown becomes a bedsheet of the Mona Lisa may say the whole goddamn painting. It was just so dazzlingly preposterous. If I ever worse, like that, be more just have to laugh at me. I would laugh at me just thinking about it. It cracks me up but Gaga can do it. Because she’s got that thing. You know that total commitment to her persona. She’s like, I am fucking Gaga. And I was gobsmacked as they say in the UK by her presence, her delivery. She owned that space. And the real the super super superstar supermodel types. That’s what they can do. They own it. It’s their superpower. So sure I can fake it or parody it, no problem. I think I could play it and get a laugh. But I need that distance. It’s not really me, so if you see me on the carpet for some awards thing or a gala or benefits smiling away, and this is just between you and me dearly listener gets a performance. But a select few women, they can do it for real, and fewer still can take that skill that command and through hard work, brains and yeah, beauty, create a career that goes well beyond celebrity and fashion and opens up opportunity for women across the world. And one of those women is with us today, Beverly Johnson.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  05:34

Hi, I’m Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and this is Wiser Than Me, the podcast where I get schooled by women who are wiser than me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  05:59

Okay, so imagine you are a super smart, bookish nerd. You’re a lanky five foot 10. You’re an Olympic level swimmer with a full ride scholarship to Northeastern University. But you’re also so gorgeous, that you get the chance to give up the pool and become a supermodel. Would you take it? Well, that’s exactly what happened to our guest today. And she did become a supermodel and convinced her professors to give her college credit for modeling. I told you she was super smart. But when she got in front of a camera, boom, she became one of the most successful models of all time. And this started in the 1970s in New York. So that means she’s Queen of the city, you know, hanging out at Studio 54 with Halston, and Grace Jones and Andy Warhol, she and Jackie O, were on a first name basis. She was living vivid life. I mean, honestly, I cannot even imagine the glamour. So how successful was she? She did the cover of Vogue, the first ever black model on the cover of the magazine. Do you know just how impactful it must have been for so many women to finally see themselves on the cover of the most important fashion magazine in the world? That historic moment marked a turning point in the fashion industry and open doors for models of diverse backgrounds to finally step in God it was about time, and she’s done more than 500 magazine covers since the New York Times named her as one of the 20th century’s 100 Most Influential People in fashion. She has become this powerful symbol for representation in the industry. So you get the idea. This is a true fashion icon. And it doesn’t stop with a modeling. She’s also an actress, a businesswoman, a trailblazer, an important activist, a mother and a grandmother and a force of nature. And she’s clearly wiser than me. God, it is so fabulous to welcome Beverly Johnson. Hi, Beverly.


Beverly Johnson  07:58

Hi, thank you for that introduction.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:01

Oh my god, thank you for your wonderful self. So we always start this podcast with some pretty upfront questions. Are you comfortable telling me your real age?


Beverly Johnson  08:11

Yes. What is it?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:12

You tell me? What is your real age?


Beverly Johnson  08:14

I lie so much. I really don’t know.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:21

I believe you’re 71 Beverly, is that correct?


Beverly Johnson  08:24

Oh, okay. Yes, I’ll go with that. Okay, yeah.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:27

but now listen, how old do you feel?


Beverly Johnson  08:30

Oh, gosh, I’m embarrassed to say.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:32

Tell me.


Beverly Johnson  08:33

I’m a teenager.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:36

You are for real?


Beverly Johnson  08:37

Yes, I’m a teenager.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:40

Explain to me what why are you a teenager at heart? How would you characterize that?


Beverly Johnson  08:46

Well, I’m blushing. Now. I’m all giddy after that introduction. Yes, not like I haven’t heard it before. But it’s just something that comes over me that becomes very young and naive and feeling very kind of giddy.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:03

Yeah, that’s nice. And so and so what would you say is the best part about being your age? What’s the best part of that? I mean, if there is a best part of it.


Beverly Johnson  09:11

Oh, it’s all good. It’s really all wonderful. I’m more in touch with how I feel and how my spiritual aura is, you know, when I’m doing it my going to the parent teacher meeting for my grandchild. I mean, I’m all about other things. And so I don’t really think about the 71 if that makes sense.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:32

Yeah, it does. It means you’re living life fully is what it sounds like to me. In the moment. I’m in there in the moment.


Beverly Johnson  09:40



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:40

You’re a mindful person.


Beverly Johnson  09:42

Yes, I am. have always been. I have girlfriends that we were best friends since the day we were born.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:49

Is this is this Data?


Beverly Johnson  09:50



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:51

We’re talking about in your book?


Beverly Johnson  09:53

Data and, and she says you’re exactly the same person, I’m like, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  10:00

That’s very good thing. I mean, I think I know what you mean, though. I mean, you want to evolve right as a human being.


Beverly Johnson  10:05

Right, but I think she was talking about personality. She gave me this letter because we should pass letters to each other every single day on the bus. And we live next door to each other.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  10:15

How lucky you.


Beverly Johnson  10:16

And she’s a pack rat. And she collected everything. Beverly Johnson in her attic. I mean, like mannequins and everything I said, this is getting creepy Data. This is getting creepy, and I’m not sentimental at all. So she gave me one of these letters, which I’m sorry she did, because I’ve lost it already. But hey, he didn’t speak to me. But that’s okay. I know. He likes me. I’m just going to ace this test. And and have a great day. I said I’m the same person.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  10:46

Okay, so now that speaks to what I am so struck with about you, Beverly, I mean, okay. You seem to me to be a very driven person.


Beverly Johnson  10:55



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  10:55

I mean, from the get go as a student as an athlete. I mean, you have to be driven to be an athlete as a model as a business woman as an advocate.


Beverly Johnson  11:04



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  11:05

And I think this drive is also spilled into your ability to stand up to bullies and to sexual harassers and to stand up to leaders in the workplace, you know, like Eileen Ford and Anna Wintour, just to name a few. So where where do you think that that extraordinary drive comes from Beverly? I mean, and it hasn’t gotten bigger, stronger, more muscular. Where does where does this come from in you?


Beverly Johnson  11:29

I believe that I was born with the fire in my belly. I believe I was just born this way.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  11:34



Beverly Johnson  11:35

Because I can’t think not being this way. I’m an introvert. I’m a very quiet child. And they used to call me the alien. You know, my brothers and sisters, because I was very methodical. You know, I get the A’s on my report card Nixa. Here she is. She’s getting A’s again. You know, she’s already her clothes for the whole week of school.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  12:01

Oh, I see. Uh huh.


Beverly Johnson  12:03

It’s just, you know, who I am.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  12:05

Where your parents like that?


Beverly Johnson  12:07

Well, they were very methodical in what they were doing. And in life and, and about us, you know, us children and in the household. So I would say more my mother, then my dad, my dad, you know, I was a steel laborer, and my mother was a nurse. But she, she was a housewife before that, I remember her studying, because, you know, they weren’t, they needed more money. And she was studying these books about becoming a surgical technician. And, you know, I’m always fascinated with books, and my father was a big reader. So all of us kids are very big readers. And I just looked at her. And I was like, wow, it was so complicated. And I said, are you going to pass? She said, oh, yeah, I’m gonna pass. So I think I got that from her.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  12:55

Oh, yeah. You got that from her, yeah. And there she was, you know, the woman in your life modeling this example of total excellence and determination.


Beverly Johnson  13:06

Yes, yeah.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:07

Obviously, you are known for your extraordinary all of your work, but in particular, the famous American Vogue cover? I mean, that was not a fluke. That was something that you had been working towards as a young model.


Beverly Johnson  13:22



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:23

Can you explain what happened then?


Beverly Johnson  13:25

So Eileen Ford, was the most powerful woman in the fashion industry.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:30



Beverly Johnson  13:31

And it was the first woman that I saw that really wield the power, you know, I go to the agency just to observe her. And the business because I’m learning. That’s what I do, you know, I’m learning watch. And I watch and I realized that I needed that vo cover to be top model in the world. And I needed to get a cosmetic contract, do a beauty book, because this is what I’m learning, right?


Beverly Johnson  13:56

And so I make an appointment with her. I lean forward. And she’s very matter of fact, I adore her. And she’s been a big, very big help for defining who I am. I just wanted to say that upfront. But then I said, you know, Eileen, I’d like to have, I’m going to do a beauty book. I’m going to cosmetic contract, and I want to be on the cover of American Vogue. And she said, You’ll never be on the cover of American Vogue. And she’s a tough lady, but I was like, take it back to you. Who do you think you are Cleopatra? And I thought to myself underneath my breath, I said, that’s exactly who I think I am.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:56



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  14:33

Yeah, exactly.


Beverly Johnson  14:34

But one thing I knew was, as this 19 year old or 20 year old, however old I was that I wasn’t going to get that cover there.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  14:43

But let me ask you something for a second when she said that to you in that moment. Did you feel did she make you feel shame at all or not? No. Is there a glimmer of it?


Beverly Johnson  14:52

None of it. No.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  14:54

God, I just love this.


Beverly Johnson  14:56

Right? I don’t know why but no, no, I didn’t feel ashamed. I analyzed the situation and thought, well, I’m not going to get that cover here. And you can’t leave this woman because I’ve heard about who leaves Eileen Ford, what happens to that model? And that’s why I decided that I was going to write her a note and tell her how her and Jerry were like, parents to me and how much respect I had for them. And that, you know, I’m going to another modeling agency, but I would hope that if I ever changed my mind that they would accept me back.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  15:32

Okay, you know what? It’s like you’re playing chess, and you’re five steps ahead. That’s what’s happening right now, in this story, to me anyway, that’s how it strikes me, because that is just smart as shit that you did that. And so she obviously was not offended, correct. She wasn’t offended that you left. Once you read the letter or what?


Beverly Johnson  15:53

I have no idea. All I know is that my bookings increased, so that people were booking me to find out why I left Eileen Ford. And what has she done?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  16:03

I don’t think that’s not the only reason they booked you. You had good representation, then the Wilhelmina agency, right?


Beverly Johnson  16:10

Wilhelmina was an amazing lady. An incredible woman in person, yes. And first of all, there’s she had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Vogue cover. I mean, she was a huge fashion model. And she was modifying for it. So she’s in and I go in the office, they say she see you now go in the office. And she has a feet up on the table. Legs crossed on the table.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  16:35



Beverly Johnson  16:35

And she has a slice of pizza on one hand, and a cigarette and the other.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  16:40



Beverly Johnson  16:41

And I’m like, oh, I liked this lady. I mean, I’m just like, she was just the coolest ever. And that’s how our whole relationship started. She’s just a really nice woman. And, and I told her what I want. And she said, I’ll get it for you. I’ll do it. And she did. But the one thing that I like to say. After I got the cover that was there. I don’t know, maybe six months, maybe eight months to a year. I went back to Ireland for.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:07

Oh, you did?


Beverly Johnson  17:08

Oh, absolutely.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:10

Okay, now, wait a minute. Explain that to me, why?


Beverly Johnson  17:13

I’m so curious, because she’s the biggest modeling agency in the world. And that’s where I needed.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:17

So she could get you more gigs, better gigs?


Beverly Johnson  17:19

I could capitalize off of the vocal cover me. Now, I don’t know where I got that from. But I learned a lot from her because when she saw me she Eileen Ford said, welcome home, baby.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:31

And did she say was there any kind of no ownership that she had made a mistake or anything?


Beverly Johnson  17:36

No, none. None. It was business as usual. It was business as usual. They were bugging me. They were they were they were on top of it. I was like, I think I just shot, you know, and I knew that.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:49

He was just shot.


Beverly Johnson  17:50

Straight up.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:50

Yeah, right. Well, what about Wilhelmina? What was that like? Leaving Wilhelmina?


Beverly Johnson  17:55

I did the same thing with her.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:57

He wrote another letter I hope.


Beverly Johnson  17:58

I didn’t write a letter. I told her in person. If she understood, smart lady, she understood. And I had gone back and forth to her cup a few times. Anyways, I was just making moves. How I how I knew this to do as a 19, 20, 21 year old, little naive, young lady from Buffalo, New York. I have no idea.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  18:20

Yeah, exactly. And you say you’re naive, I’m not so sure you’re that naive? I mean, it sounds like you got.


Beverly Johnson  18:27

Intuition, I don’t know.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  18:29

Yeah. It’s an instinct. It’s an instinct. It’s a drive. Its ambition. It’s an instinct, that’s just really strong. But wait a minute, so can we just talk about life in New York? In the 70s?


Beverly Johnson  18:42

Oh, my goodness.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  18:44

First of all, you’ve got so many fabulous stories. I would love to hear every single one of them. But there’s one in particular I need to know about you talk about being at Studio 50. Studio 54, for three days once, but it was for three days straight.


Beverly Johnson  18:59

For three days for three days, yes.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  19:01

Okay so, could you please walk us through what that was all about? Because you actually slept there?


Beverly Johnson  19:08

Well, I really know we were sleeping. But I was there for three days. But what you have to understand is, I’m working all the time all over the world. And I don’t really get a chance to partake in the nightlife and all that was going on in that era in 70s or 80s. Because I’m gone, right? I’m living out of a suitcase. So I take this opportunity to sit I’m gonna go to studio 54. And I drive up in a taxi and of course, you know, mounds of people like standing out front. And I see this little guy Steve Rubell now I didn’t know that. He says, come up in his like the parting of the parting of the seas sake you and I walk in and I had never experienced anything like that before. Studio 54, just the music and the joy and you know people walking around and you’re unaware me, it wasn’t all out front. You know, there’s different layers and and you know me I have to investigate every part of it some places I shouldn’t have gone down to but I went everywhere in Studio 54.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:12

And what places should you not have gone down to?


Beverly Johnson  20:15



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:16

What happens?


Beverly Johnson  20:17

Not? Well, I just want to see it was a lot. It was a lot going on. Let’s just put it that way. It was a lot going on down there things that I had never seen before.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:25

Now come on.


Beverly Johnson  20:26

Up close and in person.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:27

Are you talking about sexual things going on?


Beverly Johnson  20:30

Yes. I mean, yeah, yes.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:32

Everyone’s doing it every which way?


Beverly Johnson  20:34

Oh, actually, it was truly an education. But then, then Halston, and Steve […] and all the designers and you know, that, that don’t really get to see me in a really social setting, just embrace me. And we, we know, we had just had really deep conversations, you know, all night, and I don’t know if somebody went home or whatever, and then they had racks of clothing, for models or whatever, or women or whatever, we could change there. I mean, it was just, it was just one of those kinds of things.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:07

And you would stay there, you would have breakfast and sort of, and then have conversations, and then the partying would start up again.


Beverly Johnson  21:15

The party starts up all over again.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:17



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:19

Don’t go anywhere. There’s more with Beverly Johnson in just a few moments.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:35

So I’m so intrigued about one aspect, or the main aspect of the when you got your Vogue cover, that it hadn’t occurred to you, that you were going to be the first black woman on the cover. And that you, you were sort of thrust into this role of role model.


Beverly Johnson  21:53



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:54

And, you know, it’s funny, because as I was thinking about that, I was thinking about my own experience, like, when I was on Seinfeld, and I mean, this really isn’t the same thing. Of course, this is, of course, on a much smaller scale, but I was the only woman on the show. And people would ask me a lot about being the only woman and, and being this sort of feminists to character and feminists sort of role model in the world of comedy. And I was like, I don’t consider myself that necessarily, even though I may be, but I didn’t approach it like that. Can you talk about that?


Beverly Johnson  22:30

So this is very similar to your situation, you know, you were doing your job, you know, in a job that you loved. And you didn’t really understand the environment that you were placed in, and what you stood for, for so many women, like myself, you know, working at an Echelon where women never worked before. And so, so for myself, as I tell people, you know, discrimination isn’t out loud. You know, they don’t go around, say, there’s been no black people on the cover of Vogue, you know, that people just don’t go around announcing things like that, you know, hey, I’m a racist that people just don’t do that so I used to kind of hear like, little whispers or whatever it is. But it never occurred to me that there had never been a black woman a cover of Vogue and actually be in a 60s, little girl.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  23:22

Wait a bit women? Can I just interrupt you?


Beverly Johnson  23:23

Yes, please.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  23:24

So that when when when Eileen said to you, that’s never going to happen. It didn’t occur to you in that moment that she meant because you’re a black woman?


Beverly Johnson  23:33

No, I know.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  23:36

Okay, carry on. Yeah.


Beverly Johnson  23:38

So any kind of here was put in, you know, it’s the 60s now, it’s the 70s, we had overcome all of that, that you as a young person think that, you know, racism is behind us. Just now.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  23:50

Yeah, it’s over now.


Beverly Johnson  23:51

It’s over now, so when I was getting all of these interviews from right around the world, there was a how does it feel to be the first black model on a cover of Vogue magazine? Like, whoa, I am? They said, yeah, you are. Do you know what you’re doing? And so I was like, holy, right, wait a minute, I just want to be on the cover, because there was this guy at Tufts University that nobody know I could get get any guys, you know, I mean, like, and I thought that I could get the guys and party a little and have some fun. You know, this is this is this is what not what I signed up for and make some money for my family. And, and so I was kind of like, taken back. And so that pushed me into a self discovery journey. What’s this thing about racist? What is no really what is this? And I was mad, that there had been a black person on the cover of Vogue magazine. I was very upset that that even existed.


Beverly Johnson  24:46

Well, the thing is that when you become a model, I mean, like immediately, like say, I don’t know what the first job was 18 or 19 because, they don’t really keep up. I knew that some other models were on my heels. So time time was like this, your model, you’re waiting for that day when the phone doesn’t ring. Who’s kind of like an actor? You’re waiting for it when it’s going to be over.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  24:46

Yeah, of course. I mean, you must have been furious and it’s not like it’s easy to be a model anyway, right?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  25:16

Kinda? Yeah.


Beverly Johnson  25:17

It was best thing Eileen Ford ever told me she said 99.9% of models leave the business broke, don’t be one of them. So I take things like that to heart.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  25:25

What do you do?


Beverly Johnson  25:26

I immediately started taking acting classes, I started being a host on a tell I mean, I started just, you know, reaching out because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I did everything. I wanted to learn about everything. Because I didn’t really know what was going to click to put it in college at nights. You know, it started just preparing for that. And so that happens very early on, in a models life, you’re expendable. And so you just prepare for it. And also the whole thing about you know, your weight and you because what happens is that you have a talent, right? You’re a comedian, you have something, I have this. My talent is me, my flesh and you know me. Other people play the instrument or their writers or they whatever our talent is, us physically, us.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:22

Mm hmm. That must be a struggle, because a lot of weight is put on the physical.


Beverly Johnson  26:31



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:31

The exterior, yeah. Have you had to work hard in your life to validate yourself beyond your exterior? I mean, how could you not to a certain extent, I mean, find your self worth beyond your beauty?


Beverly Johnson  26:50

No, I always had that.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:51

You always had it.


Beverly Johnson  26:52

I always had my self worth. And I knew how to control it in a sense that, like I tell young man, I said, why don’t you let me tell the person? You know, I’d be the big sister. Let me let me let me fight your battles right here. I don’t want you to go out on the limb. On that one, you know, whose photographer did something.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:09

To that for people?


Beverly Johnson  27:10

Oh, yeah. The young models? Oh, for sure.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:14

What does that mean? Like you call an agent or you call such and such for them?


Beverly Johnson  27:18

Yeah, and I said, this photographer is doing this and that and the other and, you know, you gotta you gotta watch out for this guy. But if they did it, they be blackballed.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:29

Even today, this is true?


Beverly Johnson  27:31

Even today.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:32

What the hell? Beauty is tricky. Is it not?


Beverly Johnson  27:38

It’s tricky. But but it’s power.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:40

That’s right. And when you walk into a room, I hope you don’t mind my asking this? Are you assuming everyone’s going to look at you? When you walk in the room?


Beverly Johnson  27:50

I make everyone look at me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:51

Ah, you know, I think from you know, from my point of view, just I mean, of course, looks are a part of being an actor. But in in the the aspect of the business that I’m involved with? Well, first of all, it’s hard to age for sure. There’s no getting around it. You know, I look at myself today, in whatever the the latest thing I did did versus 10 years ago, and to see that change on camera is cuckoo bananas. And you really have to work hard to reconcile it. But I mean, what’s the alternative? Not doing it? I don’t think so. I mean, I’m, I’m consider myself a very driven person, I can tell that you are a very driven person. Are you still modeling?


Beverly Johnson  28:41

Yes, I’ve done about 20 covers in the last few years. But the whole thing about beauty and aging. Maybe what’s a difference for me? Is that it’s my business, right? It’s my business. So I love finding out what’s the new product. I love finding out what’s the new machine that they have the new laser that’s going to do this and that and you know, all that stuff fascinates me. Because that’s the business that I’m in.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  29:10

Right, what’s your take on plastic surgery?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  29:12

You mean as in keloid scars? Is that what you’re talking about?


Beverly Johnson  29:12

I love plastic surgery. Black people we don’t crack, but we do Keloid. So you guys got one up on us over there too, so.


Beverly Johnson  29:25

Yes, yes we can’t cut ourselves because there’s going to be a scar. There if you do you have to do it. I’m trying to figure that are awesome. Whoever figures that out boy, they’re gonna be making a lot of money.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  29:35

Well, it might be you.


Beverly Johnson  29:37

But anyways, I love all that I love. I love being able to live a long, healthy, beautiful life the way you want to live it you know people like gray hair and whatever. And you know, some people really do they treasure the sign of honor a badge of honor to have wrinkles and I think that’s great. But I think there’s also people that I want to look a certain way. And I think that’s great, too.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  30:04

And so then when you’re like on a set, and you’re doing a modeling gig, or maybe you’re doing a runway and they’re younger women there is that like, do you have to do it a mind game on yourself to sort of keep yourself feeling? I don’t know what? Confident in those moments? No, because you do not really Beverly.


Beverly Johnson  30:26

Not at all, you know why? Because I did Fashion Week, a couple of years ago, or two years ago. And you know, and believe me, I had to train and everything to get ready to walk instead 7am chills, you just don’t go out there and start walking around. But I’m Beverly Johnson. I show up as Beverly Johnson.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  30:45

Yeah, I hear that.


Beverly Johnson  30:46

Nobody can touch that. Nobody can touch that.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  30:49

I liked that. I liked that a lot. I remember when I was on, doing my show Veep. And I there was this moment when we were on set, and I realized, Oh, my God, I’m the oldest person on this fucking show. It hadn’t even occurred to me. And, and on the one hand, I’m like, Oh, I’m the oldest person because I’m very used to being sort of the youngest person in a way. But then on the other hand, there’s this feeling like, Yeah, I’m the oldest person I know the most here. And, and so there’s an a pride of ownership of that that is valid and useful, right?


Beverly Johnson  31:24

Yes, and people are coming over to say, Oh, I really admire your work and all that you’ve done and gotten.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  31:31

Better come over to me, right?


Beverly Johnson  31:34

They better bow down.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  31:35

Yeah, right, exactly.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  31:38

We have to take a really quick break my conversation with Beverly Johnson continues in just a bit.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  31:43

So we talked about this a little with your mentorship you you support women in a multitude of ways. And I include, in that that you came forward in 2014, you came forward with your experience with Bill Cosby. You’ve said you did this because you wanted to add credibility to the women who had already spoken out about him. Was this an easy decision to make? Or did you wring your hands or?


Beverly Johnson  32:21

Oh, my God, Vogue cover was a defining moment in my life where I became a face. Coming out about Bill Cosby was the other defining moment in my life, where I use my voice, I became a voice. And it was very difficult. I can’t even I’m still suffering, but it was very difficult.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  32:44

Why are you suffering still?


Beverly Johnson  32:46

This is something that the magnitude of it because of who he was, and who he was to the black world. And I knew it was going to be polarizing. I knew it. I knew exactly what it was going to be like, I thought, you know, I knew it. But I could not not express myself, I could not let these women that were telling their stories be called a bunch of liars and everything when I knew they were telling you the truth, because it happened to me. And not only that, Julia, I wasn’t raped, I got away without the rape part. She just drugged me, by the grace of God.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:20

I know, by the grace of God. But let me tell you something that is what’s so incredible about this story about your story and who you are.


Beverly Johnson  33:28

Well, basically, I called him a bunch of names. And he was shocked.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:30

Yeah, but that’s a way of fighting you, you paralyzed him and kept him from physically attacking you, although he’d already attacked you by giving you that horrible drug. But anyway, I want to say a few things. Number one, thank you for speaking out and using your voice. And I’m sorry, if it’s it’s still giving you anxiety of any kind. But as a woman, I say thank you, because that was incredibly, it was critical that you did it. And that someone of your stature did it is remarkable. And so I stand in awe of you. I applaud you for that. And, and I thank you for it. And I And while understanding how difficult that was, particularly because he was such a figure in the African American community and in our country, I mean, to everyone, you know.


Beverly Johnson  34:22

It was tough, but it was great. I do it again. And it was really wonderful, to know be able to you know, women come to me and say, you know, I had I had a me too moment. No, because we never talked to each other. You know, Janice Dickinson and I were like this. We went all over the world together. We never mentioned it to each other. Do you think I would have went over there to that man’s house? If I had somebody had told me don’t go to that man’s house girl. I would never have gone. Nobody said anything.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  34:52

So important.


Beverly Johnson  34:53

We’ve got a long way to go. But we’ve come a long way.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  34:56

Oh, yeah, for sure. You know, your advocacy is really a common thread throughout your life standing up for other models in the fashion industry? You know, speaking out against sexual harassers, I know you’ve also been a big advocate for women’s health in particular by sharing your own story with menopause, can you? Can you talk about that Beverly, because I’m not sure everybody knows that story. I think it’s really worth having a conversation about that.


Beverly Johnson  35:20

Throughout my career, it’ll be an interview, if you ask me how I am, I’m going to tell you, so don’t ask me how I am. Because I’m gonna tell you how I am, and.


Beverly Johnson  35:29

Whether it was about depression, addiction or whatever. I’ve always spoken out about things. And so I had this near death experience through menopause. And a sense that, you know, I had to have an emergency operation to have a hysterectomy and all this and all these things happened.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  35:29

Good. I want to hear it.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  35:46

You were young, you were like, 47.


Beverly Johnson  35:47

Yes, yeah. And the doctors didn’t tell you. They were like, oh, yeah, that’s right. You’re in full blown menopause. Well, thanks for telling me. You know, because I.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  35:58

Wait a minute. They took they gave you a hysterectomy. And in advance of that, they didn’t tell you this is going to catapult you into menopause. Nobody gave you that information.


Beverly Johnson  36:06



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  36:06



Beverly Johnson  36:07

Yeah. So the whole thing was, it was my, my, my near death experience almost died, right? So during the history.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  36:16

Because why? Because why?


Beverly Johnson  36:17

Because I went into […] my hysterectomy, I didn’t think I had to tell anybody or whatever. It’s like a normal operation that women get to know, you know, whatever, was really played down. So it was one old boyfriend. And he’s the only one that shows up at the hospital. And I’m going Oh, my God, something, you know, a lot of pain and the nurses going like, she’s not in any pain. You know, you don’t have any pain once you have. And sure enough, I was bleeding, internally bleeding. And they call the doctor in at midnight. And I had passed out I saw my father, my father passed away. I saw my father walking towards me really fast. And I’m happy to see my father and he’s going like this. He’s telling me to go back. I think he’s like waving, but I see his expression. He’s mad, and I stop. And I wake up. I was and they were like rushing me into the operating room.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  36:17

Whoa, that is nuts.


Beverly Johnson  36:17

Because gave me chills right now.


Beverly Johnson  36:20

That is a nutty story. That is crazy. He didn’t want you to come to the other side.


Beverly Johnson  36:38

Yeah, we’re going to come to the other side.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  37:28



Beverly Johnson  37:29

But that’s why I started to speak out about it. I talked to everybody about it. They’re like a too much information, my remote daughter like, okay, too much information. No, it’s not enough information. So if I get on the open Winfrey Network, I will go how are you doing? Well, I just had a hysterectomy. She like, whoa, we weren’t going down that topic. But I guess we’re here now. I it just was something that I that’s what I did. I spread what I knew, and my experiences and you deal with it, basically the rest of your life.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  38:01

Right? I mean, I’m in menopause as well and, you know, I’m so struck with the obvious reality that women’s health as a field of medicine is really focused on fertile women. And once you hit perimenopause, or you’re postmenopausal. There’s there’s not a lot of information out there, and you have to work hard to get the information. And also, women aren’t talking enough in my view to each other about the very effects of menopause. You know, I mean, can I just say, where are the conversations about vaginal dryness? Where are those conversations? And that’s a huge issue.


Beverly Johnson  38:45

Huge, great product for that. But anyways.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  38:50

What is the product?


Beverly Johnson  38:51

I would have to get up and go get it any other?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  38:54

Well, now, wait a minute, can we have somebody else who’s sitting in your house? Because can they get it and bring it in? And you can tell us about it? I mean, not that we’re doing an ad for a product, but I’m curious to know.


Beverly Johnson  39:03

I will get up and go get it for you in a second. Aurora, but anyways, I was on the Tamron Hall Show. And it was just really great. And the women in the audience and everybody was like applauding and whatever, because you have to advocate for yourself. But you also need an advocate to go with you. When you’re going to the doctor.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:21

No doubt, no doubt.


Beverly Johnson  39:23



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:23

Particularly if there’s a crisis, you always have to have somebody with you, a partner, a best friend of sister or brother, whatever, somebody. Because you can’t necessarily advocate for yourself when you’re in crisis, right?


Beverly Johnson  39:35

Exactly, and then the whole thing with the, with the hormones that you’re getting, sometimes it can cause cancer in women breast cancer in women. So as a whole it’s it’s really something that has to be spoken about and also tailored to you. Do you have that breast cancer […] I mean, it’s so much that we have to do to take care of ourselves.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:58

That’s right.


Beverly Johnson  39:58

Knowledge that we need to get ain and have an exchange. And this is a great conversation we’re having about, about menopause.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:05

Right? And I think that we have to have these conversations frequently, just to make it less taboo, less sort of secret. You know, it’s all happening down there. Nobody talks about it. And you know, it’s one thing if you’re having a baby, it’s another thing if, if you’re on the other side of having babies, right.


Beverly Johnson  40:23

Yes, even the side of having babies, there’s so many women that are dying through childbirth, particularly black women, today.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:30

Now, I was thinking of that when the nurses were saying to you, oh, no, she’s fine, she’s fine. Because they’re right. I mean, in the medical community, it seems like a black women are simply not listened to. And as a result, you know.


Beverly Johnson  40:46

I could have died if it wasn’t for this old boyfriend, Walter. Thank you coming to visit me. And then he I heard him out there yet. And there’s no, she says hurting. And he saved my life.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  41:01

Wow. You have a lot to be thankful for there.


Beverly Johnson  41:04

I do.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  41:04

Yeah, in getting ready for this conversation with you, I learned that New York just passed legislation that requires cosmetology schools to include education about textured hair, and so on in their curriculum. Laws like this are just being passed now. And I mean, it’s the 2020s. And I, I can’t even begin to imagine what that was like for you in the 70.


Beverly Johnson  41:32

Yes, my mentor Naomi Sims.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  41:35

She was another model at the time, right?


Beverly Johnson  41:37

Yes, she was a model at the time. She was really the most gorgeous woman. Everything she did. I did. She wore her hair pulled back. I wore my hair pullback. She took baby oil, mixed it with low iodine for a foundation. I took iodine and baby oil and put it on for a foundation. She did a wig company. I did a wig company. And she was so gracious to me. I’ll never forget the first day. She saw me it was at the Austin show because I want to do runway shows models like us did not do runway shows. That was like something in a hole.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  42:09

When you say like us, you mean black? Is that what you mean?


Beverly Johnson  42:12

I mean, like photogenic superstar models, did not walk the runway. That was that was a whole other.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  42:19

That was frowned upon?


Beverly Johnson  42:21

Very well, it was just not frowned upon. They were the girls that were they called them fit models, you know, in there working with the designers, everything. But I wanted to meet the designers. That’s why I wanted to do runway shows. And my Asian was like you can’t do a runway, so you’re a cover girl. Yeah, and no, but I want to go I want to, I want to meet the designers. That’s where I met Naomi Sims. And she came up to say congratulations on everything that you’re doing your pictures and glamour. And then she she invited me to her home and and I said that’s how I’m going to be with every new model that comes up after me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  42:54

You’re going to pay it forward. Oh, that’s so beautiful, that’s beautiful. It’s funny, I’m going to tell a story on myself that I’m kind of ashamed of but it speaks to what we were discussing earlier. So when I was working on Veep, and wonderful Sophie Bradshaw was one of our cast members. And they had to have a person come in to do her hair and makeup, black person come in to do her hair and makeup, who was familiar with doing a black woman’s hair and makeup. And I was so stupid and naive that it hadn’t occurred to me that hair and makeup people didn’t know how to do everybody’s hair and makeup. And I’m glad that my eyes were open to that, although I’m embarrassed that my eyes were open to that so late in my career that this was news to me.


Beverly Johnson  43:48

It’s understandable. And I remember, you know, working for glamour, and one of the makeup artists, I say is stone or whatever, you know, is all in black and he was shaking he was sweating. And I was like, I went over to the editor and I was like, hey, this guy stone. I don’t want him with a black pencil and in my she said, No, she said, I know. But she didn’t say anything. I know. I said what can we do? I said was you’re gonna have to call somebody else. She’s just what could we call this? Everybody’s busy as well. I happen to know this makeup artist you think they’re free right now? I said I think they might be free. And she said could you call them and I’ll get rid of him and it called so the makeup artist comes down his name is Joey Mills. He’s no longer with us, Joey came in., I’m here I said Joey got your Tony down, got it.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  44:39

I love people in hair and makeup.


Beverly Johnson  44:41

Tony went and he went on to do makeup for white black and everyone but he was one of the first black makeup artists to get into the magazine world. But that’s how you had to get them in.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  44:54

Oh, wow yeah, you know, your your life is just well, it’s just extraordinary because it’s like Advocacy is in the DNA of how you live your life. It’s just it’s just baked in, and your daughter, she’s worked in the modeling industry to right?


Beverly Johnson  45:09

Well so my daughter has quick as a quick story. And you know, she had wonderful life, and nannies, and Baba, and she was really smart. And she graduated two years early from high school. So she went to Santa Monica College, and she went to UCLA. And then she came home and said, I’m gonna, I want to be a model and Tolani. And I want to go to New York. Now they’re about 17 and a half years old, I’m going by yourself. She said, by myself, Mom, you have to let us do this and this and and of course, I had it all connected. So they were to model and they were getting really skinny. And we call them lollipop heads where your head is really big, and your body and I’m like, worried. And then all of a sudden, of course, I’m doing a show and she calls me up, Mom, guess what? You’re pregnant, she says, why do you always leave with that mom? What she says, I am going to be a plus sized model, as well as the plus size model. She says, I’m never going to let anybody tell me how I should look ever again.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  46:08

Oh, my God.


Beverly Johnson  46:10

And I was like, wow.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  46:11

Look at this strength. Where does that come from? The Apple does not fall far from the tree here.


Beverly Johnson  46:18

Well, I was like, what did I do? Is she is she rebelling that she wanted to? Is this? I mean, you know me? I can it’s all about me. You know, what did I do to her that? And I realize, so she was part of the top 10 Plus Size models with Ashley Graham and those women in the industry. I was so proud of her. She changed my whole life on my own body perspective.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  46:45

Oh, I see. That’s fascinating.


Beverly Johnson  46:47

She saved me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  46:49

She opened up your mind to.


Beverly Johnson  46:53

Acceptance of who I am and my dysmorphia, my dysmorphia.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  46:57

Yes, and as I know that’s right, because you struggled with dealing with getting too skinny, and still to this day.


Beverly Johnson  47:05

Still to this day, still to this day. We didn’t drink water, because we thought it was fattening. Water, that’s how sick we were.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  47:16



Beverly Johnson  47:16

That’s one of the occupational hazards of being a model.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  47:20

That’s right. So that’s why I asked her I mean, but look, she’s found a way to get into it without that bullshit attached to it, right?


Beverly Johnson  47:28

She found a way to expand not only what I did for black people globally, she did for people with normal weight in the industry globally. She broke her home barriers. So I’m so proud of her, I’m like, you know, she’s she’s my she’s my Shiro. She really?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  47:50

Yeah, she really isn’t, she should be. I want to ask you a couple other quick questions that I’m going to let you go because you’ve been so generous with your time. Is there something you go back and tell yourself when you’re 21?


Beverly Johnson  48:05

Don’t marry him.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  48:09

That’s good advice, that’s good advice. Is there something that you wish you’d spent less time on Beverly in your life? Looking back?


Beverly Johnson  48:18

No, but what I would spend more time on would have been my my family. You know, my sisters, my brothers and my you know, and my friends, because I was basically gone. About 10, 15 years.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  48:33

Well, it sounds like you’re making up for it now.


Beverly Johnson  48:35

Yeah, I am. I’m an introvert. I’m gonna be home, right now, this is this is my, this is heaven for me. I’m being home and I’m an introvert. And so when I go out, I’m going out. Okay, I’m going out for a reason.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  48:49

Uh huh, but now wait a minute, all the time, like pretend you’re just you’re gonna go the grocery store? Or you’re gonna get in your car and I don’t know, drive to Pilates class. I don’t know, whatever you do. Do you? Are you aware of your beauty and how you present yourself in those moments? I’m just curious.


Beverly Johnson  49:07

Yeah, absolutely, because otherwise stay home. You know, I’m, I’m the theory of, of, because if you go out like that, somebody’s going to recognize you. And you’re looking at a mess. So stay home.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  49:21

I think you need to move into my house and remind me of this. You should see what I look like when I go. This is me dressed up talking to you. For our listeners, I’m just wearing a t shirt with stripes on it, that was my dress.


Beverly Johnson  49:35

And I had on a sweatshirt because I wanted to look cool like my daughter, my granddaughter do around the house. And then it was hot. I said, look, let me just go get the Beverly Johnson costume out and put it on just so I can talk about myself.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  49:51

What’s the Beverly Johnson costume?


Beverly Johnson  49:53

It’s makeup in this soap soap shirt.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  49:57

Oh, I think got it. Well, I’m wearing the Julia Louis-Dreyfus costume. Stripe shirt and, and I put some mascara on.


Beverly Johnson  50:08

You’re look pretty […]


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:09

Thank you very much.


Beverly Johnson  50:10

I was admiring your glasses. I love the little heart.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:13

Oh, yeah, thank you. My husband gave me that, isn’t that pretty? Yeah, it’s a locket. Thank you very much.


Beverly Johnson  50:19



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:20

Thank you, can I just I’m going to completely flip this switch and ask you. What’s the vaginal dryness gel that?


Beverly Johnson  50:30

I don’t even know show run and go get it for me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:34

Yeah, I’m gonna wait right here.


Beverly Johnson  50:35

Oh my God, it’s not a gel. Oh my god.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:38

All right. Well, whatever the hell it is. Just go get it, okay.


Beverly Johnson  50:43

It is not a hormone. And I saw it on Instagram.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:47

Oh my god. I know, I use that.


Beverly Johnson  50:50

You don’t like this?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:52

I do like it, I thought you had another thing. That was good. That’s the reverie product.


Beverly Johnson  50:58

Those who love it.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:59

Yeah, high rolandic acid, yes. Guys, we’ve come full circle for sure. What a pleasure. Thank you for talking with me today and taking so much of your precious time.


Beverly Johnson  51:13

Thank you so much.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  51:15

What a blessing to have met you and spent this time with you.


Beverly Johnson  51:18

I think it’s great. Thank you so much, Julia I appreciate you.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  51:24

Wow, how about that Beverly Johnson. She really is someone else. My god. I can’t wait to tell my mom all better conversation, let’s get her on Zoom.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  51:37

Hi, Mommy.


Mommy  51:37

Hi, honey. How are you?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  51:39

I’m good. I just talked to Beverly Johnson. The wonderful model.


Mommy  51:43

Oh, wow, oh, wow, well.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  51:45

Well, here we go. Here are the headlines. She was incredibly open and candid about her life. And I was asking her about being a model and being beautiful. And she said to me, beauty is power, which I thought was a very honest and remarkable thing to say. So now I wanted to ask you, Mom, did you ever model?


Mommy  52:12

A little bit on Seventh Avenue. When I first got to New York, yeah.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  52:16

You’re kidding. What do you mean, on Seventh Avenue? What does that mean?


Mommy  52:20

Well, you know, the Seventh Avenue models, it was a sort of a low grade kind of model. What they did was the working out a design. So they would work it out right on your body. And then they move around and stuff like that. So I did that for maybe three times.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  52:36

I see what you mean. And so did you think of yourself as a beautiful person? Did you know you were beautiful? Let’s put it that way?


Mommy  52:44

No, I did not. But I could tell that my looks made a difference when I was someplace.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  52:51

Oh, like what?


Mommy  52:53

Well, we you and I’ve noticed I got looks. And I would notice that I got a sort of attention. Before I’d said anything. You know, before that I was noted, I felt I was noted, but I was not did not have that kind of beauty that was you know, pristine and, and so forth. But I never could quite appreciate it. When I look at my pictures now. Where I see myself when I was younger. And I think to myself, I didn’t ever know I looked that way.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  53:22

But maybe that’s the thing about getting older, because I certainly feel that way about myself. Like if I see myself from 25 years ago, and I’m like, oh my god, I had no idea that I was so hard on myself.


Mommy  53:33

Yes, right.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  53:34

And I didn’t realize I shouldn’t have been.


Mommy  53:38

You know, that’s that is very interesting, because I felt so responsible for myself somehow. And, and I couldn’t I couldn’t appreciate myself. And I think that that’s absolutely true that when you get older, all of a sudden you begin to let that stuff go. But and I yes, I would give anything if I could have just taken joy in and sometimes I did, by the way when I got dressed up and I felt terrific. You know and you go out you just feel like okay, I’ve got the world. And I had moments like that.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  54:09

I remember when you and Dad this is I’m actually talking about my stepdad because I was at their wedding. I was the flower girl. And when I was four, and they got married and my mom had an incredible dress. I loved that dress. Did you love it mommy that dress?


Mommy  54:30

Love that brand. Loved it.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  54:31

It was it was a green sort of I’m going to say a satin with embroidered white flowers on it. And I remember thinking that that dress was very beautiful. I also loved my dress that day.


Mommy  54:48

I love to dress that day, oh my god.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  54:50

My dress was very good. It was a sort of a a white dress with like a little eyelet edge or something on it right? And I I was carrying pink roses, I believe, and my mom was carrying red roses. And I decided to have a shit fit. Because I didn’t like my flowers. I only liked her flowers.


Mommy  55:13

Until I gave you one of the red roses, and then pink roses to put in our bouquet, so we had, you know, we that went out.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  55:23

It was a bit of a compromise, and I’m still, I’m not gonna lie a bit better.


Mommy  55:27

And I wish I could have had the whole bouquet for myself. I also, do we get into the talk of the gloves, what I had in mind that you were going to wear these little white lace gloves. And I thought the wedding couldn’t go on, you know, without them. And so you said you weren’t going to wear them? And I said, oh, and then there’s no wedding. And your step gran dad came up and he was hearing us over this issue. And so he said, I’ve got an idea, girl, she said, how about if the gloves and I put them in my breast pocket? And then if you need them, you’ll know where they are. But I’ll just keep them safe. So he just took care of the whole situation.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  56:09

Amazing, grandparenting moment on his part, amazing.


Mommy  56:13

And then the gloves now were sent to.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  56:17

My niece.


Mommy  56:18

Your niece, yes. And he has them for her own.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  56:21

Well, actually, I’m gonna I’m gonna burst your bubble mom. She doesn’t want them either. And she gave them back to me. Oh, yeah so they’re sitting in my my desk, and still yet to be worn by any child. That’s just not.


Mommy  56:38

Maybe George has any problem with this teach.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  56:41

That’s our dog, for those who are listening. George might I might put them on George, Mommy. Well, I think we done did it.


Mommy  56:48

Okay, lovey.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  56:49

Okay, love you.


Mommy  56:50

Love you.


CREDITS  57:02

There’s more Wiser Than Me with Lemonada Premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content from each episode of the show. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts. Make sure you’re following Wiser Than Me on social media. We’re on Instagram and Tiktok at @Wiser ThanMe, and we’re on Facebook at Wiser Than Me podcast. Wiser Than Me is a production of Lemonada Media. Created and hosted by me Julia Louie Dreyfus. This show is produced by Kryssy Pease, Jamela Zarha Williams, Alex McOwen, and Hoja Lopez. Brad Hall is a consulting producer, Rachel Neil is VP of new content and our SVP of weekly content and production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Paula Kaplan, Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me. The show is mixed by Johnny Vince Evans with engineering help from James Sparber. And our music was written by Henry Hall, who you can also find on Spotify or wherever you listen to your music. Special thanks to Will Schlegel, and of course, my mother Judith Bowles. Follow Wiser Than Me wherever you get your podcasts. And if there’s a wise old lady in your life, listen up.

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