«When I started, I was not booked for certain shows because of my skin color. I didn’t let this upset me. » Naomi Campbell wrote this in her two-volume autobiography “Naomi Campbell”, which is available in limited numbers at the price of 2,800 francs. «I understood what it was like to be black. You had to make an extra effort. You had to be twice as good. »
Campbell grew up in South London with her grandmother in the 1970s. Her mother toured Europe as a dancer while Naomi attended a drama school for children. Even then she appeared on television and in music videos, including Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”. Later she was seen in videos by Michael Jackson (1958-2009), Aretha Franklin (1942-2018), George Michael (1963-2016) and Jay-Z (50).
Naomi Campbell regularly flew to Paris at 16
At 15 she was discovered as a photo model. Her mother was against it, but Campbell finally prevailed. At 16, she regularly flew to Paris for photography. There she met the Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaïa (1935-2017), who took her under his wing as a father figure and introduced her to the world of stars: Tina Turner (80), Jerry Hall (63), Grace Jones (72) and Quincy Jones (87) became friends.
Cover by cover, the model of Jamaican-Chinese origin worked her way up and had to fight prejudice and discrimination again and again. The feared boss of American Vogue, Anna Wintour (70), finally raised her as the first black model on the cover of the important September issue. “I think she received a lot of criticism for this,” Campbell revealed in her autobiography. “I will be eternally grateful to her.” Her supermodel friends Christy Turlington (51) and Linda Evangelista (55) also helped her. “They told certain designers that if they wanted them on their show, they’d have to book me too. This type of support was unique. »
Between charity and outbursts of anger
Naomi Campbell is a world star with contradictions. On the one hand, she founded the non-profit organization Fashion For Relief in 2005 to use fashion shows to raise money for the victims of hurricane Katrina, the Japanese tsunami and the Ebola epidemic across West Africa. This was triggered by her friendship with Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), who for her was like a “grandfather”, as she said. Lately, she has been primarily collecting money for educational programs in Africa. “The majority of the population is under 30 years old. You need this education, »the supermodel told CNN.
Campbell, on the other hand, is notorious for her tantrums; she was convicted of assault four times. Her last appearance in court was in 2010 when she had to testify in the “blood diamond” trial against former Liberian president and war criminal Charles Taylor.
Campbell stands by her mistakes: “I learned from them,” she told Vogue Arabia. And in the British “Jonathan Ross Show” she admitted: “I think I made the word‹ anger management “famous”. She was on therapy and for years attended meetings with Narcotics Anonymous, a drug support group: “I want to stay in the light,” she told the Guardian last year. «I don’t want to be in the dark. I don’t have depression, but mental health is very important to me. »
Naomi Campbell cares about her health
And also her health in general: In a video from 2019, she took out gloves and disinfectant wipes on the plane and wiped her seat in the first class thoroughly. “I don’t care what people think about me,” she said as she cleaned. “It’s my health and I feel better.”
Now she published the sequel in March: “In the past, people really laughed at me,” she explained, demonstrating how she can now protect herself professionally against the corona virus with glasses, a face mask, a protective suit and a Burberry cape. “Now I’m not ridiculous.”
Friends like Cindy Crawford (54), Sharon Stone (62) and Sean «Diddy» Combs (50) currently only meet the New Yorker by video chat: she tries in her new YouTube series «No Filter with Naomi» together with other superstars to prove how down-to-earth they are with the corona pandemic. (sda / paf)