China Machado, Legendary Fashion Model, Dies at 86

China Machado, Legendary Fashion Model, Dies at 86

"You mustn't dwell on age. Just live the best life that you can."

"You mustn't dwell on age. Just live the best life that you can."

Text: William Defebaugh

Supermodel China Machado has passed away at the age of 86. IMG, the modeling agency to which Machado was signed, took to Instagram this afternoon to break the news.

Machado was the first non-caucasian person to appear on the cover of a major fashion magazine, on the February 1959 issue of Harper's Bazaar. A muse to many photographers, including Richard Avedon, her career paved the way for generations of models to come, and set a precedent for diversity in the fashion and publishing industries.

Recently, Machado interviewed Gigi and Bella Hadid for their July 2015 cover story, where she reflected on her life: "I started modeling in 1954 when your grandmother was around, I presume. But I was of mixed race and I was taken sort of hesitantly. I began in Paris with Givenchy and Balenciaga. And then I came in '58 and met Richard Avedon and I was the first non-caucasian in a big magazine in New York. And they didn't even want to publish me."

She went on to advise the girls on how to handle the fashion business, and maintain a level of kindness and directness in their work: "Be impatient because you know what you want. And if you can't get it, well—let's go, let's move! That's good. I promise you it's not bad. Be impatient, not horrible. Horrible is one thing, impatient is another. You know what you want, and you haven't got time to waste."

Photographed by Glen Luchford for V68, November 2010.

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