Beverly Johnson Details Champagne, Coffee And Cocaine Diet

Entertainment | Camille Travis | 08/12/2015 | 01:30 PM EDT

In her new memoir 'The Face That Changed It All,' Johnson recalls a destructive diet that nearly ended her life

Beverly Johnson has been an open book about her struggles with bulimia, anorexia and depression, but she's now owning up to her past battle with drugs.

In her new memoir, "The Face That Changed It All," recalls a destructive diet of champagne, coffee and cocaine that she believed would keep her thin and at the top of her game. As the first Black woman to cover Vogue, Johnson says she felt the pressure to drop the pounds in any way possible.

"I was eating nothing, zero. I drank black coffee, a sip of broth if things got tough, and in the evening, a glass of champagne as a pick me up. We didn't even drink water. We thought it was was fattening," Johnson explained.

She admits the skinny life was alluring, no matter what toll it took on her body.


"The skinner you were, the more fabulous you were," Johnson continued. "Drug use was encouraged. It was like 'Oh my god, you are chiseled to the bone.' All of the things you needed to be a high class model: high cheekbones, bright eyes, that was all provided by the drugs. It was like being offered a drink. It was one of the perks. People around us always had it."

Unfortunately, Johnson learned the hard way that her diet could lead to a death sentence. In 1983, she says she nearly suffered an overdose.

"It felt like my heart was going to come out of my chest," she said. "You think you just want to lie down but that's when you die. My boyfriend threw me in the cold shower, shoes and all, and made me drink a whole carton of milk and I stabilized. I'm lucky to be alive."

Johnson's memoir also touches on her custody battle with her ex-husband music producer Danny Sims, her flings with the likes of Eddie Murphy and Arthur Ashe and her decision to come forward with allegations against Bill Cosby.

"The Face That Changed It All" hits bookshelves Aug. 25.


(Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

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