Naomi Campbell (born 22 May 1970) is a British model. Discovered at the age of 15,
she established herself among the top three most recognizable and in-demand models of the late 1980s and 1990s and she was one of six models of her generation declared “supermodels” by the fashion world.
In 1998, Time declared the end of the supermodel era. By then, Campbell had mostly retired from the runway, but she continued print modelling. In 1999, she signed her first cosmetics contract with Cosmopolitan Cosmetics, a division of Wella, through which she launched several signature fragrances.
In November of that year, she posed with twelve other top models for the “Modern Muses” cover of the Millennium Issue of American Vogue, shot by Annie Leibovitz.
The following month, she appeared in a white string bikini and furs on the cover of Playboy. In October 2001, she appeared with rapper Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs on the cover of British Vogue, with the headline “Naomi and Puff: The Ultimate Power Duo”.
After more than two decades as a model, Campbell was still in demand. In 2007, she walked the runway for Dior‘s sixtieth-anniversary fashion show at Versailles . In July 2008, she appeared with fellow black models Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez, and Jourdan Dunn on the gatefold cover of a landmark all-black issue of Italian Vogue, shot by Steven Meisel.
In September of that year, Campbell reunited with Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Stephanie Seymour for “A League of Their Own”, a Vanity Fair feature on the supermodel legacy.
She also starred as Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon in the band’s music video for “Girl Panic!”, with Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Eva Herzigova, and Yasmin Le Bon portraying the other band members; they appeared in the November edition of British Harper’s Bazaar in an editorial titled “The Supers vs. Duran Duran”.
Campbell performed with Kate Moss and other supermodels in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, where they modelled haute couture to represent British fashion. Campbell wore a design by Alexander McQueen—a staggered hem gown with a train speckled with flecks of gold.
Campbell is set to star in a British version of The Face, which will air on Sky Living in late 2013
Despite her status as the most famous black model of her time, Campbell never earned the same volume of advertising assignments as her white colleagues, and she was not signed by a cosmetics company until as late as 1999.
In 1991, she revealed, “I may be considered one of the top models in the world, but in no way do I make the same money as any of them.” Throughout her career, Campbell has been outspoken against the racial bias that exists in the fashion industry. In 1997, she stated, “There is prejudice. It is a problem and I can’t go along any more with brushing it under the carpet. This business is about selling, and blonde and blue-eyed girls are what sells.” A decade later, she again spoke out against discrimination, stating, “The American president may be black, but as a black woman, I am still an exception in this business. I always have to work harder to be treated equally.”
Naomi’s call for diversity on the runway 2013
Campbell is involved with several charitable causes. She supports the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund,
She appeared in a print and media campaign for the charity’s fundraising initiative Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, and she opened a Breakthrough breast cancer research unit in 2009
in 2005, Campbell founded the charity We Love Brazil, which aims to raise awareness and funds to fight poverty in Brazil through the sale of fabrics made by local women.
That same year, Campbell founded the charity Fashion for Relief, which has organised fund-raising fashion shows to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the India terrorist attacks in 2009, the Haiti earthquake in 2010, and the Japan earthquake in 2011. In 2012 Fashion for Relief teamed up with YOOX China and leading global and Chinese fashion designers, including Phillip Lim and Masha Ma, to design Chinese-themed T-shirts to help fund Fashion for Relief international and the various international charities it works with. Fashion for Relief has reportedly raised £4.5 million
Since 2007, Campbell has been the honorary president of Athla Onlus, an Italian organisation that works to further the social integration of young people with learning disabilities.
In 2009, Campbell became a goodwill ambassador for the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. She has since joined the charity’s patron,Sarah Brown, the wife of former British prime minister Gordon Brown, on several missions to promote maternal health.
Campbell has received recognition for her charitable work. In 2007, she was named an ambassador of Rio de Janeiro by mayor Cesar Maia in recognition of her efforts to fight poverty in Brazil . In 2009, she was awarded Honorary Patronage of Trinity College‘s University Philosophical Society for her charitable and professional work.
In 2010, Sarah Brown presented her with an “Outstanding Contribution” award from British Elle for her work as an ambassador for the White Ribbon Alliance, as well as her work in the fashion industry.