Honorees

June, 1998

Peggy Dillard-Toone

Peggy Dillard-Toone

Model

For millions of people, Peggy Dillard-Toone is instantly recognizable. As a leading model in the world of fashion, she has been featured on the covers of international fashion and glamour magazines, like Cosmopolitan, Essence, Ebony and Mademoiselle, becoming the second African-American woman to appear on the cover of Vogue. By her senior year in college, Dillard-Toone had already made her mark in the North American, European and Japanese worlds of high fashion.

Born and raised in Greenville County, South Carolina, Dillard-Toone is the youngest of ten children. Her parents, Mary Poole-Dillard and the late Toy Dillard, Sr., realized early that she had a talent for the performing visual arts. They encouraged her with ballet, tap, jazz, and gymnastic classes from the time she was five years old. These disciplines enhanced her desire to obtain academic excellence, at League Junior High and Wade Hampton High School.

Dillard-Toone graduated at the age of 16 with a strong interest in architecture. Awarded a full-scholarship by J.E. Sirrine Architectural Firm, she moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., to attend Pratt Institute of Technology, earning a bachelors degree in the fine arts, with an emphasis on advertising, fashion merchandising and marketing. Dillard-Toone inherited the skills for designing and making clothes from her mother. She worked as a fashion illustrator, a sewing instructor, and a display designer before sharing her talents with the world's top designers as a model.

She is highly respected world-wide as a pioneer for African-Americans in the international fashion arena. In the world of fashion and beauty, Dillard-Toone plays a multi-faceted role. For more than ten years, Dillard-Toone has owned and operated Turning Heads Salon, one of New York City's most renowned black hair care salons. The salon, even under new management, continues to be acclaimed for innovative and sage natural hair techniques. It is regularly featured in the pages of top fashion publications. Dillard-Toone sets trends and maintains high standards in the world of hair care. Her beauty advice has been featured in many magazines, including hr monthly article on hair, diet, skin care, and holistic living in Sophisticate’s Black Hair Care Guide.

Spirituality is an important part of Dillard-Toone's life. Growing up in a large family, she developed a strong sense of service to humanity that has manifested itself in a strong commitment to education and to the social and economic development in her community. Dillard-Toone and her husband, the artist Lloyd Toone, moved to Harlem 18 years ago and restored a 110-year old Victorian mansion. It is one of two holistic-style bed and breakfast locations known as Villas de Toone. The second location is a ranch in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, where she teaches yoga, organic gardening, and the arts of holistic healing. Dillard-Toone encourages young and old to study and respect their indigenous cultures while promoting an understanding of and an appreciation for all cultures.