Dorothea Towles Church (July 26, 1922–July 7, 2006) made groundbreaking success by becoming the first successful black model to walk the runways of Paris. She majored in Biology at Wiley College and married young. Originally, she considered becoming an actress, but the lack of roles for black actors at the time discouraged her. She enrolled in charm school. When her sister, a member of the Fisk University choir, traveled to Paris Church joined her for what was to be a vacation. While in Paris she tried to get work as a model and was successful. Christian Dior was one of the first to hire her.

Church had to tell her husband that she was not returning to the United States. She went on to have a successful career in Paris, modeling couture gowns and enjoying the opportunities that Europe had to offer. During her years as a model, she built up a considerable wardrobe. Eventually, Church did return to the United States, traveling to black colleges, introducing couture clothing to black women in America. Dorothea Towles Church made history and was a trailblazer for those to follow.

Towles with Christian Dior

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