Fashion & Black History: Ophella DeVore-Mitchell

Owner of one of the first African American modeling agencies, Ophella DeVore-Mitchell was a native of Edgefield, South Carolina. She relocated to New York City in the 1930s with her family. It was there she would enter into the Vogue School of Modeling at the age of seventeen. Ophella would model for seven years before deciding to open up her own modeling agency to aid African American in overcoming society's stereotypes and succeed in the fashion world.

The Grace del Marco Model Agency opened in 1946, and in 1948 the Ophella DeVore-Mitchell School of Self Development and Modeling would open for business. Her notable clients included legendary performers Dianne Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Faith Evans, Gail Fisher, and Susan Taylor. Passionate about the exposure of African Americans in fashion, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell would start a fashion column in the Pittsburgh Courier eventually expanding to the Columbus Times in Georgia. Not stopping there, she would create a cosmetics line in 1959. Her business ventures include but aren't limited to television production, board and committee member of various agencies, including the resident's advisory committee for the Kenny Center for the Performing Arts.

Ophella DeVore-Mitchell currently resides in New York where she commands her numerous business ventures and being a loving mom her her five children and twenty-one grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Sources: Potter, J. (2009). African American Firsts: Famous, Little-Known and Unsung Triumphs of Blacks in America. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp.

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