OPHELIA DeVore 2America’s first Black Owned Modeling Agency Business Leader

Black America has many truly great institutions. Ophelia DeVore is one of them. She is a woman of the most remarkable beauty.

She recalls always wanting to communicate with others. “That’s what got me interested show business and modeling,” Ophelia DeVore explains. She adds: “I have always had the feeling that people have had much more beauty, brightness and potential for fulfillment than we tend to see. I’ve wanted to bring out all of these positive hidden qualities in my own life and in the lives of others…..

While many may only dream of pursuing a career in modeling and entertainment, Ms. DeVore has become a living legend and an institution doing just that-entertaining us as a model exsample. For years, through her many businesses and related enterprises, she has touched many lives including more than 20,000 graduate from her modeling school.

She has always been a woman of stunning physical beauty. But her efforts at showing the world a diversity of beauty has produced some well know results. Among the graduates of the DeVore modeling agency are Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, J.J. Walker, Richard Roundtree(shaft’) Denise Nichols (“Room 222”), Gail Fisher (Mannix “) , Joan Murray of CBS, Sue Simmons of NBC and Melba Tolliver of ABC. “Some who come to our school will become stars or top models and entertainers,’Ms. DeVore explains, “but most come to us because they simply want to be better people.”

She was born in Edgefield, South Carolina and lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She went to New York to attended New York City College, New York University and the Vogue School of Modeling. She has taught and learned the secrete of success-“sharing,” as she calls it. No doubt this way of thinking helped built her $25 dollar investment in her first business into a great success.

Her company has gone into the cosmetics line. Major firms consult with her company before marketing their products in the Black commmunity.

From her second husband, she inherited a well-established newspaper, The Columbus, Georgia News, which she reorganized into The Columbus Times and for which she presently serves as owner-publisher. Despite Ophelia DeVore’s international reputation as a maker of models, many know of her primarily through her own newspaper and through her work in national newspaper circles. In this latter field, she has earned a preutation for candor, integrity and an extraordinary-indeed, almost an uncanny-sense of good judgement. She is a peacemaker as well as a pioneer, and in her public roles she has become spokesperson for Black women, as well as for Black people as a whole. Leaders in many fields look to her as a wise counsellor, and they cherish the warmth of her deeply concerned and always compassionate spirit.

In the nation’s capital, Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell has participated with regular audiences with four (4) American presidents, many senators and congressman. In 1985, she was appointed bvy President Ronald Reagan to sit on the Board of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts, John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. A statement form the February 7, 1985 congressional Record, Congressman Richard Ray wrote: “In this Black History Month, I want to pay trbute to The Columbus Times and the people who create it for recording positive and uplifting events in Columbus, and for helping to spread the philosophy of Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell throughout our area.”

Her newspaper buisness is presently managed on a day-to-day basis by her daughter and son-in-law Carol and Helmut Gerttjegerdes: Her son James Carter, is president and chief administrator of the Ophelia DeVore Center. DeVore has three other children: Marie O’Henry Moore is a psychoanalyst and is married to a Beverly Hills cardiologist; Cheryl Parks is married to an energy engineer, and is a business systemss analyst for ALCOA in Pittsburgh; Micheal Carter is a communication specialist at Sun Oil in New Jersey.

Ophelia DeVore is seen by some to be a workaholic. She explains: “I work because there is so very much good that can and must be done, and I enjoy it. I do not feel driven. Getting a job done has its own rewards.” In her spare time Ophelia DeVore paints, plays, golf and helps to tend her eight grandchildren and one great grandson.


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