When I learned she had passed away from cancer I was devastated. I went to visit my best friend who solely cared for her during her final days. He was so strong saying that his strength drew from his mothers strength in going through her ordeal. I wasn’t so strong, often turning away to hide my tears.
Ms. Singh was always so supportive of me and my modeling career. She didn’t seem into the fashion scene but delighted in my runway stories. Sharing my portfolio with her was one of the moments that I will always treasure. Sitting in the basement of her home where we often gathered was a magazine with a black and white picture of Ophelia Devore on the cover. I had never heard of her before. She was striking, with a reserved elegant stance. Under Ophelia’s name it mentioned how she conquered the fashion world. Knowing that Ms. Singh wasn’t really into the fashion scene, it seemed odd that she would hold on to a magazine about fashion dated from 2003. Intrigued, I started to flip through the pages.
When I landed on the pages of the article about Ophelia Devore I began to get chills. Carefully underlined by Ms.Singh was important information it seemed she wanted me to know, as if she was speaking to me directly. No other pages in the magazine were underlined or noted in this way.
One of the underlined passages mentioned Ophelia was the first woman of “mixed race” to model professionally in the United States. She established one of the first modeling agencies in the United States called the Grace Del Marco Agency in New York in 1946, during a time in which racial tension was very high. I had to know more about her, where did she find the courage to do what she did? How can I find her now?
I immediately vowed to embark on a journey to find more information on this remarkable woman. My best friend allowed me to take the magazine with me. I held it close to me all the way home, thanking Ms. Singh for yet another lesson…… (to be continued)