Stealth transgender model’s smiling face was everywhere in the ’70s!

tracy africa normanLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — If you had walked into a supermarket or drug store in the 1970s, you’d walk by a wall of Clairol hair dye products, and looking at you would be the smiling face of 512 Dark Auburn — one of Clairol’s most popular products.

The real name behind the photo was Tracy ’Africa’ Norman, a trans woman of color who made her way to success in modeling and high fashion. While Norman’s career was cut short when a make-up artist’s assistant revealed to the world that she was transgender, she carved out an amazing career as a pioneer twice — transgender and a person of color.

Norman told The New York magazine that her success with Clairol came after they took photos of her and created a hair color hue to match the color of her own hair and Dark Auburn, Box 512 was born. She says her contract kept being renewed because it was the hottest selling box.

Norman’s career continued with high fashion work and a contract with Avon. But it was a photo shoot with Essence magazine where things came apart for Norman, thus ending a storybook career.

Laverne Cox, also in New York magazine: “I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m doing a cover shoot for Essence and this is the magazine that 40 years ago fired a trans woman when they found out she was trans. It just means a lot to me that history can be rewritten.”


This is way cool. I like how she was right in front of everybody for years.

My most recent article on Laverne Cox:

tracy africa norman

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Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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5 replies

  1. “Essence …. the magazine that 40 years ago fired a trans woman when they found out she was trans.”” may be rewriting their history, but what of the damage that they did to the trans model, Tracy ’Africa’ Norman, they fired back in 1975. And what of the frigging make-up artist’s assistant who revealed to the world that she was transgender? I wonder what happened to assistant’s career? I hope that career turned to shit too. There’s always an asshole lurking in the bushes ready to screw some innocent trans person out of their job.

  2. The only two comments on another article were negative with one guy saying he always knew she was a dude. There’s no way he could say that based on the photo in that article or here!

  3. She also had contracts with Ultra Sheen and Avon in addition to doing 5 ESSENCE covers,

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