Pocket Profiles · Uganda

Pocket Profile Part 2 – Elizabeth of Toro’s Modeling Career

Beauty is not one’s own but rather a reflection of one’s people, one’s country. It is an asset one holds in trust. At that time, a black model appearing in top magazines was rare. I wanted to destroy the myth of white superiority in terms of beauty and sophistication.”

Elizabeth of Toro, Odyssey of an African Princess

Her modeling career was a detour in the life of Princess Elizabeth. However, it was still ground-breaking. H/T to our Baguette Gloria Mundi, who found the 1967 Commonwealth Fashion Show footage! Note that the commentary is both from Pathe and of its time. It’s pretentious and to our modern ears, more than a little condescending, so be prepared. The fashions are incredible, though.

A few photos of her appeared in Vogue in 1967, but her big break came the next year.

Vogue 1967

In 1968, Vogue devoted several pages to her life and style. One of the most noted fashion photographers of the time, an Italian named Penati, drew out her more relaxed and playful side. She continued to appear in the magazine over the next couple of years.

In 1969 she was the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

She continued some fashion modeling into the early 1970s, although the assignments became less frequent as she moved into her political roles.

22 Feb 1974 — Princess Elizabeth of Toro — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

While we are swimming in the fashion end of the pond, we should note that there is some significant tiara-wearing in Toro. The Queen Mother has some lovely pieces, and the King has magnificent crowns. If you have an interest in the tiaras and the crowns of the Toro Kingdom, you can see them here.