Publicist and former high fashion model Dori Wilson was born on October 15 in Winona, Mississippi. At the age of seven, Wilson moved to Chicago. She attended Hyde Park High School and upon graduation, began working for Goldblatt’s in their Accounts Payable Adjusting Department. In 1964, Wilson began working for Compton Advertising, Inc. as a secretary and assistant producer. That same year, she also started her part-time modeling career and became the first African American runway model in Chicago, Illinois. Wilson also continued her education and graduated from Roosevelt University.
In 1968, Wilson joined Foote, Cone & Belding, working on their advertising project with Sears, Roebuck & Co. She became both a model and instructor for the company’s charm school. She was promoted in 1970 to director of fashion and casting at Foote, Cone & Belding where she cast models and helped producers during shoots. During this time, she continued to model and starred in numerous fashion shows, advertisements, and events including Gucci’s fall 1970 campaign and the Dress Horsemen and Trophy Board annual benefit fashion spectacular in 1975. In 1980, Wilson began her successful entrepreneurial career by opening Dori Wilson Public Relations whose clients have included the City of Chicago, Tiffany & Co., and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Wilson has been a member of the Girl Scouts of Chicago’s Association Board for over thirty years. She has been listed in Who’s Who Among Black Americans and in Donna Ballard’s book Doing It For Ourselves: Success Stories of African American Women in Business published in 1997. In 2008, she was honored in an evening of recognition at the Stanley Paul/Raelene Mittelman Scholarship Benefit.
Dori Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 25, 2010.