What Happened to Playboy’s First Black Cover Girl?
She was destined to become a supermodel but bad timing and a series of misfortunes thwarted what could have been

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For the October 16, 2009, issue of Playboy, Marge Simpson was the cover girl as a way to commemorate The Simpsons’ 20th anniversary. While naked, Margie is sitting behind a chair in the shape of the iconic bunny symbol with one leg crossed over the other and her shoulders raised to her earlobes in a casual yet timid pose. In an interview with the Associated Press, Jimmy Jellinek, chief content officer of Playboy, said, “She looks beautiful. She is a stunning example of the cartoon form. Marilyn Monroe. Madonna. Marge. It’s a fun continuity.”

2009年10月16日的《花花公子》杂志上,为了纪念辛普森一家20周年,玛吉 · 辛普森成为了封面女郎,裸体的玛吉坐在一把标志性的兔子形状的椅子后面,一条腿交叉放在另一条腿上,她的肩膀抬到耳垂,摆出一种随意而怯羞的姿势。
在接受美联社采访时,《花花公子》的首席内容官吉米 · 杰利内克说: “她看起来很漂亮,她是卡通形象的一个极好的例子,玛丽莲 · 梦露,麦当娜 ·玛姬,这是一种有趣的连续性。”

The cover choice was an effort to appeal to younger readers after the magazine suffered a sales decline, but what had gotten lost in the publicity rollout is the lack of homage to another woman from which the entire pose and style originated. The Hollywood Reporter mentioned a “black woman” who appeared on the 1971 cover in the exact pose but does not acknowledge her name. Many other competitive outlets leave out this woman entirely. Her name was Darine Stern, the first solo Black cover girl for Playboy, and her story offers a glimpse into the opportunities or lack thereof for Black models during the ’70s and ’80s, Black history of Chicago’s South and West Sides, and the media and publishing worlds.

《好莱坞报道》提到了一位“黑人女性” ,她在1971年的封面上以同样的姿势出现,但没有人提起她的名字,花花公子的许多竞争对手也完全忽略了这位女士,她的名字叫达琳 · 斯特恩,是《花花公子》的第一位黑人封面女郎,她的故事让我们得以一窥70年代和80年代黑人模特的机会或缺失,芝加哥南部和西部的黑人历史,以及媒体和出版界。

Darine Stern was born November 16, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois. Her family was a part of the Great Migration, a pivotal moment in American history in which millions of African Americans fled the south for the north for better employment opportunities and to escape racial terrorism. It was actually the Chicago Defender who made the siren call to Black Americans in 1916 about southerners who made it in the big cities. They posted organizations where newcomers could turn to for help, and offered advice for how said newcomers could acclimate themselves to their metropolitan surroundings. Between 1916 to 1919, Chicago alone received approximately 50,000 to 75,000 Black southerners. But Chicago wasn’t an oasis by a long shot. Residential segregation was rampant. As more Blacks moved in, Whites moved further westward within the city limits or out in the suburbs accessible from the newly formed highways. A huge concentration of the city’s Black population was in an area called the “Black Belt” which was “formed on the south side between railroad tracks.”

达琳 · 斯特恩1947年11月16日出生于伊利诺伊州的芝加哥,她的家庭是西部大迁徙的一部分,大迁徙是美国历史上的一个关键时刻,数以百万计的非洲裔美国人为了更好的就业机会和逃离种族恐怖主义逃离南方,前往北方。

It is here on the South Side where Darine and her nine other siblings grew up. As a child, Darine was very family oriented, often clinging toward her older sister, Sheila for guidance: “Darine just wanted to be with me and my friends. Sometimes I wanted that and sometimes I wanted her to get her own friends.” Their mother was a hardworking woman who left a job as a credit officer for department stores due to discrimination and began to work as a truant officer for the Chicago public school system. She went through a series of marriages and oftentimes parts of the family would live in different places but throughout it all, Darine treasured the bonds she had with her siblings.

达琳和她的其他九个兄弟姐妹就是在这里,在南区长大的,小时候,达琳非常注重家庭,经常紧紧抓住她的姐姐塞拉不放: “ 达琳 只是想和我还有我的朋友们在一起,有时候我希望这样,有时候我希望她有自己的朋友。”
他们的母亲是一位工作努力的女性,由于受到歧视,她辞去了百货公司信贷员的工作,开始在芝加哥公立学校系统当旷课检查员( truant officer:检查旷课或逃学的检查员),她经历了一系列的婚姻,家庭成员的一部分人经常会住在不同的地方,但在整个过程中,达琳珍惜她与兄弟姐妹之间的感情纽带。

When Darine reached adolescence, she moved over to the West Side of Chicago where she attended Marshall Metropolitan High School. It was at Marshall that Darine’s beauty began to fascinate those around her. One of her other siblings, David, elaborated on how her looks benefited those in her orbit: “I had brothers who are very light skinned and they used to get their asses beat daily. But when they (the bullies) found out that Darine was their (brothers’) sister, they tried to be their long lost buddies.” Because of her looks, Darine was known around school, even being crowned prom queen at junior prom. But she never capitalized on her looks. She sought to become an educator and upon graduation, she left her family home and started to matriculate at Chicago State University.

达琳进入青春期后,她搬到了芝加哥西区,在那里她就读于马歇尔大都会高中,正是在马歇尔,达琳的美貌开始吸引她周围的人。她的兄弟姐妹之一,大卫,详细说明了她的美貌是如何帮助那些在她周围人的: “我有一些兄弟,他们的肤色非常浅,他们过去每天都被揍的很惨,但是当他们 ( 欺凌者) 发现达琳是他们(兄弟) 的姐妹时,这些人都试图成为他们的伙伴。”

Around the time Darine set out on her own, Playboy had reached its zenith. Starting in 1953 by a then 27-year-old Hugh Hefner, who was a former sociology student at Northwestern University, from the 1960s to the end of the 1970s, Playboy skyrocketed in annual sales from $4 million to $175 million. It was February 29, 1960, when Hefner started the Playboy Club on Walton Street in the Gold Coast section of Chicago. Two factors contributed to this establishment: Playboy was the leading men’s publication in the country and these male readers wanted to be a part of social gatherings that affirmed their standing as suave, stylish bachelors with a lot of cash to burn. Members, or keyholders, would be served cocktails by Playboy Bunnies (although there was a strict “look but don’t touch” policy).

大约在达琳开始独立生活的时候,《花花公子》达到了它的顶峰,1953年,当时27岁的休 · 赫夫纳(曾是西北大学的社会学学生)创办了《花花公子》,从上世纪60年代到70年代末,《花花公子》的年销售额从400万美元飙升到1.75亿美元。
1960年2月29日,休 · 赫夫纳在芝加哥黄金海岸的沃尔顿街开办了花花公子俱乐部,有两个因素促成了这种现象:《花花公子》是美国最主要的男性刊物,男性读者都希望参加社交聚会,以证明他们是风流倜傥、时尚的单身汉,有大把的钞票可以挥霍,花花公子兔女郎将为会员 ( 或主要会员) 倒鸡尾酒 ( 尽管有严格的“ 只许看不许碰”政策 )。

Those who were employed as Bunnies had strict guidelines such as not dating customers, not giving out their phone numbers, and not allowing boyfriends or spouses within two blocks of the club. Darine began working at the Playboy Club in the late ’60s and had her admirers, including Bill Cosby. “He loved my sister,” brother David recounts. “He was crazy about Darine, He’d follow her around even. She liked him as far as his abilities and everything but she had no romantic feelings about him. From what she told me, he was respectful, kind, and there were never any problems.” Also at the Playboy Club is where she would meet her soon-to-be-husband, David Ray.

达琳20世纪60年代末开始在花花公子俱乐部工作,并有她的崇拜者,包括比尔 · 科斯比( 漂亮国演员、编剧、艺术家)。
“ 他爱我的妹妹,”弟弟大卫回忆道“他为达琳疯狂,他甚至到处跟踪她,就他的能力和一切而言,她喜欢他,但她对他没有浪漫的感觉,从她告诉我的情况来看,他很有礼貌,很和蔼,从来没有什么问题。”

David Ray was a respected dentist with an equally impressive pedigree. His father was a geneticist and Howard University professor who once worked alongside Watson and Crick, discoverers of the human genome. His mother was also an educator as well as a nutritionist. Darine’s mother could not have been more thrilled. According to Sheila, “I think what my mother thought was once she does the modeling, she would still be married as a fallback. You need a fallback position. Mom wanted that security for her.” They married in 1970 and honeymooned in Jamaica.

戴维 · 雷是一位受人尊敬的牙医,他的血统同样令人印象深刻,他的父亲是一位遗传学家和霍华德大学的教授,曾与人类基因组的发现者——沃森与克里克一起工作,他的母亲是一名教育家和营养学家。
达琳的母亲非常激动,据希拉说: “我认为我母亲的想法是,一旦她做了模特,她仍然会结婚作为退路,你需要一个退路,母亲希望她有这样的安全感。”他们于1970年结婚,并在牙买加度过了蜜月。

Becoming a dentist’s wife was an enviable position, especially for a Black woman of the mid-20th century. And for a while, Darine acclimated herself to that role, aligning herself with a social set of two other couples and calling themselves “six-pack” while playing stepmother to David’s six-year-old son, David Jr. Whenever Darine could be convinced to go out onto the water (she couldn’t swim), David would take her sailboating or they’d watch television in the living room together as a family. Darine worked a series of other jobs in advertising, hostessing, and bank telling but it was the latter that changed the course of her life forever.

有一段时间,达琳适应了这个角色,她把自己和另外两对夫妇联系在一起,在扮演戴维六岁的儿子小戴维的继母这一角色时,称自己是“六块腹肌的女汉子”,戴维会带她去划船,无论什么时候达琳都会去 ( 她不会游泳) ,或者一家人一起在客厅里看电视,达琳还做过一系列其他的工作,包括广告、招待和银行出纳,但正是后者永远地改变了她的人生轨迹。

One day, a man came into the bank where Darine worked as a teller, complimented her looks, and asked if he could take her picture. She agreed and that man, who just so happened to be a photographer, brought those photos to the attention of the Playboy editorial team. Though mainstream magazines of that particular era were dominated with White faces, Playboy, in particular, was subversive not only for its exposure of the female form, but also for its politics. Hugh Hefner himself dove headfirst into civil rights activism, donating to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, publishing Alex Haley long before his Roots fame, interviewing Miles Davis, and giving $25,000 as a reward to anyone who could find the bodies of slain Mississippi civil rights workers. In Jesse Jackson’s own words, “He was a change agent and a risk taker for racial equality and justice… Hef reached across the color line of fear and indifference.” Arguably these beliefs both personally and professionally are what opened a path of opportunity for Darine as a model.

休 · 赫夫纳自己一头扎进了民权运动,向彩虹推动联盟 ( Rainbow PUSH Coalition) 捐款,在亚历克斯 · 哈利出名之前很久就出版了他的作品,采访了迈尔斯 · 戴维斯 ,并向任何能找到被杀害的密西西比民权工作者尸体的人提供2.5万美元奖励。
用杰西 · 杰克逊的话来说,“他是一个变革者,是种族平等和正义的风险承担者... ... 赫夫纳跨越了恐惧和冷漠的种族界限。”
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Darine was proud of being a cover girl and her family was relieved that she wasn’t a centerfold where she most likely would have been fully nude without any shielding. She was mindful of her family and did not want to disappoint their expectations of her. Before Darine, Playboy had already featured two other Black models — March 1965’s Jennifer Jackson and October 1969’s Jean Bell — but neither had been a solo cover star. Two other White women were shot as outtakes for the October 1971 cover before Darine was chosen. For the cover, she wore an afro wig and the seat behind which Darine posed was designed right on the set. While other magazines were struggling with how to properly light and photograph darker skin, her image was taken behind a black background to contrast both her skin color and afro. She even lied to her mother that her naked body was airbrushed and that she was wearing a swimsuit in order to avoid scrutiny.

在达琳之前,《花花公子》已经有过两位黑人模特——1965年3月的詹妮弗 · 杰克逊和1969年10月的让 · 贝尔——但这两位都不是单独的封面明星。
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The cover was a runaway hit of an estimated 6 million copies in print. Years before American Vogue, ELLE, and Harper’s Bazaar had a Black woman grace their cover, Playboy became a maverick. In fact, in 2005, the American Society of Magazine Editors listed this feat as one of the 40 most important magazine covers of the past 40 years.

据估计,这张封面的印刷量达到了600万册,早在美国《Vogue》、《ELLE》和《Harper 's Bazaar》封面出现黑人女性的几年前,《花花公子》就成了特立独行的代表,事实上,2005年美国杂志编辑协会将这一壮举列为过去40年来40个最重要的杂志封面之一。

Almost immediately, Darine’s modeling career took off and her ambition soared. She began traveling between Chicago and New York, represented by Shirley Hamilton, Ford, Ellen Harth, and Nina Blanchard agencies. She graced other covers, such as Essence and the Chicago Sun-Times, and did print work for companies such as Virginia Slims and Ultra Sheen. But she would soon face challenges in both her professional and personal lives. The more demanding her work schedule became, the more her marriage to Ray suffered. Where Ray was consistent by working at a clinic during the day and then at a private clinic till late in the evening, Darine’s life required more versatility at a quicker pace than her former life as a dentist’s wife would allow.

几乎是在同一时间,达琳的模特事业开始腾飞,她的野心也随之飙升,她开始往返于芝加哥和纽约之间,由雪莉 · 汉密尔顿、福特、艾伦 · 哈思和尼娜 · 布兰查德经纪公司代理。
她还登上了其他的封面,比如《Essence》杂志和《芝加哥太阳报》,也为弗吉尼亚 Slims 和 Ultra Sheen 这样的公司做过封面。

Eventually, the couple agreed to part and divorce as Darine spent more time in New York and also some runway gigs in Europe. She poured herself deeper into the fashion industry but many doors were closed for one person in particular: Beverly Johnson. According to her former stepson David, “I remember her always feeling a bit of competition with Beverly Johnson but not out of spite. She was the first Black model to break through the old guard. She would have conversations with my dad about how Beverly Johnson would get certain jobs and she was trying to get the same jobs.”

最终,这对夫妇同意分手并离婚,因为达琳花了更多的时间在纽约和欧洲的一些时装表演上,她全身心地投入到时尚行业中,据她的前继子小戴维说,“我记得她总是觉得自己和贝弗利 · 约翰逊有点竞争,但不是出于怨恨,她是第一个突破旧保守圈的黑人模特,她会和我父亲谈论贝弗利 · 约翰逊是如何得到某些工作的,她也在努力得到同样的工作。”

The 1970s were the heyday for Black models breaking into the mainstream fashion industry, a period that was precipitated by Naomi Sims becoming the first Black model to grace the cover of Ladies Home Journal in 1968. There were other predecessors, such as Donyale Luna, who was the first African American model to be on the cover of British Vogue, and Dorothea Towles Church, who modeled for houses such as Schiaparelli, Dior, and Balmain. However, most Black models looked to Europe to have any kind of considerable success. Eric Darnell Pritchard, associate professor in the English department at the University of Buffalo, said, “In the case of Johnson, when she became the first Black model to appear on the cover of Vogue Magazine in 1974, that of course meant that her look was one that some other magazines, beauty companies, and other commercial advertisers would seek. As such, modeling agents undoubtedly would want at least one or more clients who had the Beverly Johnson look.”

20世纪70年代是黑人模特进入主流时尚界的全盛时期,这一时期是由1968年娜奥米 · 西姆斯成为第一位登上《妇女家庭杂志》封面的黑人模特沉淀下来的,当然还有其他的前辈,如 Donyale Luna,她是第一个登上英国《 Vogue 》杂志封面的非裔美国人模特,Dorothea Towles Church,她曾为Schiaparelli、Dior和Balmain等品牌做过模特。
然而,大多数黑人模特取得了相当大的成功都是在欧洲,纽约州立大学水牛城分校英语系副教授埃里克 · 达内尔 · 普里查德说: “以贝弗利 · 约翰逊为例,当她成为第一个出现在1974年《 Vogue 》杂志封面上的黑人模特时,这显然意味着她的造型是其他杂志、美容公司和其他商业广告商所追求的,因此,模特经纪人无疑会希望至少有一个或多个客户拥有贝弗利 · 约翰逊的长相。”

There were other “looks” — those of Bethann Hardison, Iman, Mounia, Alva Chinn, and Pat Cleveland. However, in the words of Pritchard, “…in a business that offers such limited opportunities to Black women regardless of ‘the look,’ to be expected to fit a mold that was not you or to have to compete for a booking against a person who is known for what you are trying to effect in a casting puts you at a disadvantage in some respect.” In Darine’s case, as she would relay to her family during many exasperated conversations, she was either “too Black” or “not Black enough.”

也还有其他一些“外表”独特的模特——贝珊 · 哈迪森、伊曼、 Mounia、Alva Chinn和帕特 · 克利夫兰等等,用普里查德的话来说,“ ...... 在这样一个给黑人女性提供的机会如此有限的行业里,不管你的‘外表’如何,你都要被期待着去适应一个不是你的角色,或者不得不与一个选角中以强势而闻名的人竞争一个预约,这在某种程度上让你处于不利地位。”
达琳曾在多次愤怒的谈话中告诉她的家人,她要么被嫌“太黑” ,要么被嫌“不够黑”。

But shouldn’t Stern’s groundbreaking cover mean an abundance of offers? Not quite. She quickly learned that the New York world was much more cutthroat and elitist than the streets of Chicago. According to Marcellas Reynolds, former model, fashion stylist, and author of Supreme Models: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion, “There are models who do fashion editorials and runway, then there are catalog models, then commercial models. Those worlds seldom mix… Appearing in the pages of Playboy, which for many of its centerfolds was an entree into acting, definitely excluded someone from legitimate work as a fashion model. Add to that the role race played in fashion, further limiting the amount of available work, and there was no place for Darine.”

前模特、时装设计师、《 顶级模特: 革新时尚的标志性黑人女性 》一书的作者玛塞拉斯 · 雷诺兹说: “有些模特做时尚社论和 T 台,然后是模特,然后是商业模特,这些世界很少混杂在一起... 出现在《花花公子》的封面上,对于很多人来说是进入演艺圈的必经之路,也绝对排除了一些人从事合法的时装模特工作,再加上种族在时尚界所扮演的重要角色,进一步限制了有效工作的数量,因此也就没有了达琳的位置。”

Frustrated by the lack of modeling opportunities, Darine moved to Los Angeles for newer pastures but was not fond of the city’s scene or the Hollywood industry in its entirety. She was a photographer’s model and she wasn’t inspired by film or music to make a transition there. She returned to Chicago and worked as a fashion director at Burrell Advertising Agency and also provided image consultation and costume design for the likes of Lena Horne, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jordan. In addition, she created Darine Stern Agency to foster the careers of emerging models and provided talent for clients such as Sears, Canadian Mist, Kellogg’s, and Ford Motor Company, though it shut down within a few short years.

她是一名摄影模特,她并没有受到电影或音乐的启发,在那里转型,她回到了芝加哥,在伯瑞尔广告公司担任时装总监,还为莉娜 · 霍恩、艾瑞莎 · 富兰克林和迈克尔 · 乔丹等人提供形象咨询和服装设计。
此外,她还创立了Darine Stern Agency 培养新晋模特,并为西尔斯、 Canadian Mist、凯洛格和福特汽车公司等客户提供人才,不过这家公司短短几年内就倒闭了。

In the late ’80s, Darine moved to Martha’s Vineyard where she assisted choreographer Marla Blakey on a For Colored Girls production and acted in a soap opera pilot centering the lives of those who live in Oak Bluffs, a historic, African American community within Martha’s Vineyard, that never aired. Throughout her multilayered career, Darine was worried about her looks. “Beauty,” as her sister Sheila puts it, “is a double-edged sword. It can cut through anything but it can cut you.”

80年代后期,达琳搬到了玛莎葡萄园岛,在那里她协助编舞玛拉艾特制作了一部彩虹艳尽半边天( For Colored Girls,字面含义为“为有色女性特制”)剧,并在一部肥皂剧试播中出演,该剧以居住在奥克布拉夫斯的人们的生活为中心,奥克布拉夫斯是马撒葡萄园岛(岛屿名,位于美国马萨诸塞州东南海岸附近)内一个历史悠久的非裔美国人社区,但这部剧从未播出。
在她多层次的职业生涯中,达琳一直担心她的外表,正如她的姐姐希拉所说,“ 美,是一把双刃剑,它可以切断任何东西,但它也可以切断你自己。”

For Darine, a woman now in her forties, would ask her sister Sheila how she looked for her age and entertained the thought of plastic surgery. Unbeknownst to Darine, she would not be going to a doctor to salvage her looks but rather her life, for she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43. Speaking with Blakey about Darine’s cancer diagnosis, she emphatically tells me, “She did everything she could to get better — holistics, eating right, exercising. She did everything.” She befriended Cheryl Stark and Margery Meltzer through a local cancer support group and they became inseparable. “She was so young,” Meltzer says. “Even when she became ill, her spark always showed through. She was a loving, gentle soul with a quick wit.” She tried to get stem cell treatment but she wasn’t responding well enough to the preliminary cycles to qualify. When the cancer was metastasizing, one of her friends since her time at the Playboy Club used her money to put Darine on a plane back to Chicago.

她通过当地的一个癌症支持小组与谢丽尔 · 斯塔克和玛格丽 · 梅尔泽成为朋友,她们变得形影不离。
“她那时太年轻了,”梅尔泽说“ 即使在她生病的时候,她的活力也总是显露出来,她也是个有爱心的、温柔的人,机智敏捷。”她试图接受干细胞治疗,但初步治疗效果并不理想,癌细胞转移的时候,她在花花公子俱乐部的一位朋友用她的钱把达琳送上了回芝加哥的飞机。

There at a hospice, relatives and other loved ones would move in and out of the room. Most times, Darine wouldn’t speak. That is until Ray came to visit. Her brother David recounts, “Obviously she was carrying some kind of torch for him because she revived when he walked in the room.” In Darine’s last call to Meltzer, she had a vision: “…she told me she’d had a dream the night before in which I was having a ‘party’ to celebrate her life with lots of people. I assured her that I would do that and I did.”

她的哥哥大卫回忆说: “很明显,她对他依然有某种爱慕之情,因为他一走进房间,她就苏醒过来了。”
在达琳给梅尔泽打的最后一个电话中,她说自己出现了一个幻觉:“ ...... 她告诉我,前一天晚上她做了一个梦,梦里我正在举办一个‘派对’ ,与许多人一起庆祝她的一生,我向她保证我会这么做,我为她办了这样一场派对。”

On February 5, 1994, Darine Stern passed away. A memorial scholarship in her honor was created at Chicago State University where she once studied education before fully pursuing professional modeling. Her most famous image still belongs to Playboy. Since her passing, her sister Sheila has kept an archive of many of her sister’s headshots, editorial spreads, letters, and résumés as a way to keep Darine’s legacy alive. Though Darine is considerably lesser known than her contemporaries, her story demonstrates the constraints of what Black women could have been and the flowers they could have been given while they still were alive. It is a bittersweet reminder of where we’ve arrived and an admonition of what more needs to be done so that Black women will no longer be footnotes throughout turning points in our culture.

1994年2月5日,达琳 · 斯特恩去世。