On China Machado’s Legacy


Over the weekend, one of the most beautiful women in the world, inside and out, passed away. The beloved and accomplished China Machado (pronounced Chee-na) died of cardiac arrest in New York at the age of 87. She was the first non-white model to appear on the cover of a major American fashion magazine, in the February 1959 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

Though she was born in Shanghai, China she was famous for saying that she had no nationality. She was also famous for the life she lived, first as a model, and then as an editor at that same magazine who made her a cover star. Not only did she pave the way for models who weren’t white, but she always had a positive message for women about our ideas of beauty. “You can’t worry about aging because that’s the worst thing,” she said. “If you start, then you just keep finding things you don’t like, then you’re finished. I think it’s time the world let older women age gracefully.”

In her early 80s Machado went back to modeling; she signed a contract with IMG and landed herself in new campaigns and editorials. The image to the left was taken three years ago by Karl Lagerfeld, styled by Carine, for Harper’s Bazaar. Today we remember a great women and her message: “work only with people who you like, do the job you like, and see people who make you happy.” That was Machado’s key to a wonderful life.


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