Barbara Cheeseborough, 67, model in Europe and America

Barbara Cheeseborough was on the first cover of Essence, published in May 1970.
Barbara Cheeseborough was on the first cover of Essence, published in May 1970.
Posted: November 13, 2013

Barbara Cheeseborough, 67, a South Philadelphia native who became an international model and was featured on the cover of the first issue of Essence, died Thursday, Oct. 24, of colon cancer in Pomona, Calif.

Mrs. Cheeseborough was the face of Essence for its debut in May 1970. She also made the cover of Harper's Bazaar Italia.

Born Barbara Bowman in Philadelphia, she graduated from South Philadelphia High School and started her modeling career in Philadelphia.

She married William Edward Cheeseborough in 1966. He was a photographer and encouraged his wife to move to New York City to pursue modeling there.

"Well, I tried New York and it wasn't easy," she said in an undated early interview for a cosmetics advertisement. "No one wanted a new girl. But I kept trying and began to get booked more and more."

She modeled for Vogue, Bazaar, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan.

Mrs. Cheeseborough and her husband then moved to Paris, and she worked for Givenchy, Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent. "We adored Europe, and we both worked in Milan and Venice and Rome," she said.

Mrs. Cheeseborough moved back to the United States and eventually relocated to the Phillips Ranch section of Pomona.

She was active with the Screen Actors Guild.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Cheeseborough is survived by a daughter, Sia Suon Cheeseborough Bey; three brothers; and two sisters.

A funeral service was held Friday, Nov. 8, at Mount Airy Baptist Church in West Oak Lane. Burial was in Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Bucks County.


bmoran@phillynews.com

215-854-5983 @RobertMoran215

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