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Naomi Campbell, Kimora Lee Simmons, Tyra Banks, Tyson Beckford were dazzling, barrier-breaking supermodels of color in the ’90s. But two decades earlier, Bethann Hardison burst onto French and American runways with a defiant strut and sui generis personality. The first Black woman to own a racially diverse modeling agency, Hardison called out fashion houses around the world (including Prada and Calvin Klein) for the lack of models of color in their shows and the exclusionary casting calls that had become rampant in the industry (“No Blacks, no ethnics”), while profiting from Black consumers. Co-directed by Hardison and Frédéric Tcheng (DIOR AND I), the film is part memoir, warts and all (with candid accounts from her son, actor Kadeem Hardison from A Different World), and part paean to an unsung hero.

Presented with support from the Richard Brick, Geri Ashur, and Sara Bershtel Fund for Social Justice Documentaries

2023     USA     115 MIN.     


“Hardison is never less than a fascinating subject — an artist whose medium is industrial disruption…[The film] shows how Hardison embodied a vision of public life; to meet her gaze was to look into a future that was diverse, powerful and unapologetic. Hardison and Tcheng use interviews to show how Hardison acted as a mentor for generations of Black artists, from Iman to Naomi Campbell to Zendaya.”
– Teo Bugbee, The New York Times

“PROFOUNDLY INSPIRING AND THOROUGHLY ADORING. Expertly highlights the origin and legacy of a woman who is arguably fashion’s most vital figure. [Hardison] is a fabulous and flawed human subject…INVISIBLE BEAUTY is a full, immortalized image of Hardison’s influence, her no-nonsense approach, and the love and power of one woman’s desire to thrust the beauty of Blackness out of the shadow cast by the mainstream.”
– Peyton Robinson,

“REVELATORY. There is much that is lovely to gaze upon in the elegantly tailored documentary INVISIBLE BEAUTY, about the fashion maverick Bethann Hardison, Anchored by a discerning approach that mixes the gifts of an advertising art director with the inquiring intellect of a sophisticated documentarian, it flows gracefully from the personal to the professional.”
– Lisa Kennedy, Variety

“Riveting. Hardison’s remarkable and fabulous life serves an inspiring lesson in affecting radical change from within the system.”
– Jude Dry, IndieWire

“A trailblazing model combats industry racism in thoughtful documentary self-portrait. Warm anecdotes, glittering testimonies and fond memories. General audiences and insiders alike will appreciate the details and candor… which doesn’t sugarcoat its characterization of the fashion world as extractive and trend-obsessed. An illuminating and sturdy paean to an influential industry leader.”
– Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter

“It was Hardison’s activism in the industry that cemented her position as a true advocate and icon in fashion. (She) has always been at the forefront of change and representation. (She) is direct and authentic about who she is.”
- Kovie Biakolo, Essence Magazine

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