Jennifer Jackson is most famous for being a print and runway model in the sixties, but she is also a passionate children's rights activist and advocate of foster care awareness.
Most notably known for her modeling work with Playboy, she broke down barriers as the first African-American to be published in Playboy magazine and made history as the first black woman to be Playmate of the Month. She debuted in the magazine as Playmate of the Month in March 1965. This was groundbreaking at a time when European beauty standards dominated the visuals that were seen in the media and black models were just not seen in advertisements or major publications.
Jennifer Jackson was born in Chicago, February 6, 1945. She has a twin sister, Janice, and they both worked as Bunnies at the Playboy Club.
The 60s was the “Golden Age” of Playboy and The Playboy Club in Chicago was the most popular spot to be at in America at the time attracting many celebrities. It was one of the first companies to hire women of all races and encouraged women from all ethnic backgrounds to join. As a college student looking for a job downtown, Jennifer took the opportunity to work there while she attended a local college.
In an interview with Huffington Post, she talks of the glamour and exciting parties but describes one her least favorite parts of working there was having to be in heels and a corset for nine hours at a time. She also tells her story of how she came to be in the famous publication.
In the midst of the competitive atmosphere at The Playboy Club being that most of the Bunnies had aspirations of being a Playmate, Jennifer initially had no such goals.
She was asked twice by photographer Pompeo Posar to be in the magazine. The first time turning it down but by the second proposal, she took the opportunity not even realizing at the time that this decision would make her a pioneer for models, paving the way for more black pinups to have representation in publications.
Continuing with her educational goals, she graduated with her Masters degree. She used her degrees in Human Services and Counseling to work for Child Protective Services for twenty years. She became a social worker in the sex abuse unit and helped to make many of the strongest laws to protect children in the United States. In addition to being a CPS Investigator, she also recruited and trained foster care parents.
After leaving the modeling world and before working as a social worker, she enjoyed being a housewife and stay at home mom for many years.
Her legacy in the modeling world, and her contributions to society while working in social services is significant, appreciable and admirable.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that, like Jennifer, I am an advocate for foster care awareness and I am a dedicated children's rights activist. I fully believe wholeheartedly, that as a society, we can all do our part to help the lives of foster youth be better. There are so many organizations that you can donate to or volunteer but I want to highlight three in particular that are near and dear to my heart. Please consider reaching out and networking with these organizations today!
Together We Rise
One Simple Wish
CASA for Children