Moist in All the Wrong Places: Beverly Johnson Opens Up for First Time About Menopause

by Xara Aziz
Courtesy: YouTube screenshot
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Supermodel Beverly Johnson has had a stellar career in the fashion industry spanning over five decades, but according to her, she’s faced some life-altering moments, most of which she kept to herself – until now.

In a recent PEOPLE interview, the 70-year-old New York native spoke about a procedure she had to undergo after going into “full-blown menopause.”

It was 1999 when she says she first experienced painful uterine fibroids which were causing internal bleeding. “It was a life-changing moment,” she told the publication. “I went from my swinging forties to full-blown menopause and I was not prepared.”

She said she was first diagnosed with fibroids in her 30s and had her first myomectomy at the time. “But the fibroids grew back, pushing on her uterus to such an extent that at one point, she menstruated every day for a year and became anemic,” according to the publication.

“It was a major operation,” Johnson said. “I didn’t fully understand what the procedure entailed. The doctor didn’t explain and I thought menopause would come on gradually.”

Months after another procedure to rectify the medical scare, she said she suddenly woke up one night with severe night sweats.

“My body changed,” she recalled. “You start gaining weight in the middle. And I was still modeling. I felt tired. I remember talking to older women and when they’d break out in a sweat, I’d say ‘What’s wrong? Are you okay?’ And the response was always ‘You’ll know about it soon enough.’ I never connected the two. Well, I was that woman now. You’re in the middle of a conversation with an attractive guy — I was single — and all of a sudden, there’s a mustache of sweat, and he’s saying ‘Are you okay?'”

The model, who was the first Black woman to grace a VOGUE cover in 1974, said that her sex life was also affected.

“You don’t have the hormones that keep you nice and moist in the areas you want to be nice and moist in,” she explained. “Mentally, you still have a sex drive but physically, there were changes. You’re moist in all the wrong places and that was a big shocker for me. There are all these unexpected consequences.”

Johnson said with time she learned to adopt a healthier lifestyle, including exercise and incorporating low-fat and low-sugar meals into her diet. She hopes her story will help other women – specifically women of color – to embrace whatever experience they may be going through and understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“For my African American sisters, it’s important to share information about our experience,” she said. “For all women, we’ve learned to advocate for ourselves. To ask your doctor. We have the power to say ‘I don’t understand.’ Something I didn’t do when I had the hysterectomy.”

She concluded: “Advocating for ourselves, not only in healthcare, but in every part of your life, that’s a beautiful thing.”

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