Pat Cleveland is not your average supermodel. She was the first African-American to make it big in the modeling industry in the 1960s often facing backlash. Despite the harsh criticism, she defied the odds and paved the way for many other aspiring ethnic models and became a muse for everyone from Halston to Karl Lagerfeld.
Now at 66 the South Orange resident hoping to inspire another young generation of women and recently opened up to Teen Vogue about the advice she wish she had been given at 18.
“Sometimes you have friends that are difficult to deal with,” she said in a video clip talking to her teenage self. “They may be a little bit envious because maybe you’re doing well at one point and they are not doing well. You have to have patience with them. You can’t let your friends to bring you down. If there’s too much baggage with your friendship, drop the baggage and move on.”
She also opened up about her family revealing that her mother passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s. “Love your parents when you get older because they need that,” she said.
Of course, she had some advice about the world of modeling. “You have to learn the ins and outs of the business and understand the people you’re working with,” noted Pat. “It’s more than how you look. You have to be very professional. Sometimes there will be open doors and sometimes they will slam in your face, but you have to have a lot of courage if you go into modeling.”