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event flyer. Photo of supermodel Donyale Luna with event info text on top.

FRD Film Club: Donyale Luna: Supermodel

Join us in conversation with Nailah Jeffersondirector of the documentaryDonyale Luna: Supermodel. Hosted by FRD Founder, Kimberly Jenkins and followed by a Q&A.

​​“Donyale Luna: Supermodel chronicles the remarkable life and career of Donyale Luna, the first Black model to grace the cover of both Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Born Peggy Ann Freeman in Detroit, Michigan, Luna became a larger-than-life character who broke barriers in the fashion industry, challenged the prevailing ideals of beauty, and influenced culture — all before her untimely death at age 33.”

​If you haven’t already, stream the documentary ahead of the event.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

​​11:00AM – 12:00pm EST (virtual)

​Nailah Jefferson is a New Orleans born filmmaker intrigued and inspired by the enduring human spirit, whose work spans fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent film, “Commuted,” premiered at the 2023 New Orleans film festival where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary and Best Louisiana Documentary. “Commuted” told the story of Danielle Metz, a woman whose triple life drug sentence was commuted by President Obama after serving 23 years. The film will be available on PBS in 2024. 2023 also saw the debut of Nailah’s acclaimed HBO Original documentary, “Donyale Luna: Supermodel” about the first Black supermodel to grace the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, but whose legacy was lost to history. “Donyale Luna: Supermodel” was an official selection of the American Black Film Festival and Sheffield Film Festival and the Huffington Post named it one of the best films of 2023.

​In 2021, Nailah released the short documentary “Descended From The Promised Land: The Legacy of Black Wall Street,”which shined a light on families still coping with the injustices their ancestors endured during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The film screened at DOC NYC, Martha’s Vineyard Black Film Festival and the Social Justice Film Festival.

Synopsis: DONYALE LUNA: SUPERMODEL details the complex backstory of Luna, born Peggy Ann Freeman in Detroit, Michigan, who forged her own destiny by creating an otherworldly persona—a larger-than-life character with an exotic accent and a mysterious aura. Echoing Luna’s unique style, the film highlights the story of someone who refused to be boxed in by the conventions of the time, and who had great wounds from her difficult childhood and the racism she encountered in her profession. After working in New York with famed photographer Richard Avedon and collaborating with Andy Warhol, Luna made her way to London in the 1960s, feeling more at home in Europe, where she also worked with Salvador Dali. She later met and married photographer Luigi Cazzaniga in Italy, where she explored her true love, avant-garde theater and film, before her early death at the age of 33. In revealing moments in the film, Luna’s daughter Dream Cazzaniga reads from Luna’s journals and a poetic portrait emerges of one of the first Black models to change the beauty paradigm, breaking down the doors of the white modeling world, inspiring generations to come, and leaving a far-reaching legacy.”

The Construct of Race »

NOTE: This event was technically part of our February theme, Black (Fashion) History Month, but offers an apt bridge (topically) into our March theme: “The Construct of Race.” Donyale Luna’s story provides yet another example of underrepresented Black history in fashion, while revealing the inventive ways that the model worked to transcend the construct and limitations of being racialized.

​During the month of March, FRD will present articles, resources and programming that will deepen our understanding of how divisive the construct of race has been historically and remains to this day. Race can also be argued (most notably by writer Isabel Wilkerson) as a kind of caste system. Constructive conversations will be facilitated through month-long virtual events, and a Learning Guide on this topic will be offered to help us learn and un-learn the harmful impact of race within the fashion system.


14 Mar 2024
Ended already


11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: 14 Mar 2024
  • Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


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