Naomi Campbell: The Super-est of Supermodels

She’s outspoken, controversial, and utterly unforgettable. Tim Blanks looks back at the career of Naomi Campbell, including an early ’90s interview with the supermodel herself.

Released on 10/16/2014

Credits

Starring: Tim Blanks and Naomi Campbell

Transcript

00:00
My whole life I think has been based on a challenge.
00:03
And I very much have a fighter's instinct in that way.
00:07
♫ Oh you better step away
00:09
♫ Number one in heaven with a bullet
00:13
♫ I'll come for you when I can
00:15
♫ Tell them I'm smiling oh oh
00:19
Welcome back to throwback Thursdays, I'm Tim Blanks.
00:22
Two words: Naomi Campbell.
00:25
Don't need to say much more than that.
00:28
The superest of the supermodels,
00:29
though she'd probably have something to say about that.
00:31
Thank you very much.
00:32
[Tim] You wanna talk to us?
00:36
She's often been a lightning rod of controversy.
00:38
She's very outspoken, she's a very forceful personality.
00:42
Gianni Versache always said to me,
00:44
Whether they write about you're good or bad,
00:45
who cares, they're writing.
00:47
[Tim] When we went back into our vaults,
00:48
we discovered this tape from 1999,
00:51
which I think shows a much more rounded woman
00:53
than the tabloids allowed us to see.
00:55
You know, I was growing up in this industry
00:57
in front of the whole world in the public eye,
00:59
and probably may not even have known how to say
01:01
what I wanted, but I knew that I had to ask for
01:03
what I wanted because if I didn't I wasn't gonna get it.
01:07
[Tim] You have been very opinionated about
01:09
the fashion industry.
01:11
Do you still think it's a racist business?
01:12
Well I haven't seen a black model on the cover of
01:14
a magazine in America in the last year and a half, so.
01:17
Well, you know.
01:19
I have faith, but it's moving really slowly.
01:21
[Tim] Why do you think that is?
01:23
I don't know, I don't know if anyone's even realized.
01:25
You see all races in music, and in dance and theater,
01:30
so why can't we see it in fashion?
01:32
But we're not.
01:33
What are you saying, you wanna put a black girl on a
01:34
Cosmopolitan for the last 10 years,
01:37
so black women aren't gonna pick it up?
01:39
They still do!
01:40
[Tim] She did put herself out there as a sort of
01:42
touchpaper for the whole issue of racism in fashion,
01:46
but she had some good friends helping her.
01:48
Linda's part of my life,
01:49
Linda helped me in my career so much.
01:51
She said to designers like Dolce & Gabbana,
01:53
Have you ever seen Naomi Campbell walk?
01:54
Have you ever walked her?
01:55
You've never put a black girl in Dolce & Gabbana,
01:57
you must take her!
01:58
And they listened to Linda, and she helped me.
02:00
We used to help each other, and that's what's missing
02:03
I feel, from the models today.
02:05
That the camaraderie is not the same as it was
02:07
for my group of girls.
02:09
[Tim] If you think about the relationships that define
02:11
top models' careers, the relationship that I actually
02:14
do come back to with Naomi is,
02:16
the one with the designer Azzedine Alaia.
02:19
[Naomi] He's just, he's the best.
02:20
I mean this man took care of me and protected me
02:22
from 16 years old on.
02:24
I lived with him for four years,
02:26
I have my room still in his house,
02:27
he shows it to everyone.
02:28
And he has concerns like a real father (laughs).
02:31
[Tim] Does he discipline you?
02:32
Oh God yeah!
02:34
He tells me when he's mad, why he's mad, and what for.
02:38
[Tim] There can't be many men who can do that though.
02:41
[Naomi] I don't like men that I an walk all over,
02:43
I just don't, doesn't work for me.
02:45
The occasion for this interview in 1999 was
02:47
the launch of a perfume, the first of many,
02:50
that Naomi put her name to.
02:51
How would you describe yourself as you're
02:53
expressed in the perfume?
02:55
I would describe myself as mysterious, yes, I can be.
02:58
Independent, yes, I can be, outspoken yes I can be.
03:01
Hard working yes I am.
03:03
[Tim] What about all the sexy stuff?
03:05
I never mention that, you know, ah,
03:06
that's not for me to say.
03:07
[Tim] Maybe more than any other model,
03:09
Naomi Campbell's career will leave a legacy
03:12
of controversy and commitment and activism.
03:14
She's been dominating the industry for nearly 30 years.
03:18
She was discovered as a 15-year-old schoolgirl in London.
03:21
And I saw her just the other day,
03:23
walking in a Diane Von Furstenberg show.
03:25
So there's nothing nostalgic when we talk about her,
03:29
because I think there's a lot more to come
03:31
in this particular story.
03:33
(upbeat music)
03:42
Do you have a favorite Naomi story?
03:44
I'd love to hear it!
03:45
This has been throwback Thursdays, and I'm Tim Blanks.
More from vogue.com
Spring Shoes Thong Heels Are Back
Spring Shoes Thong Heels Are Back
Working Women 6 Things You Should Never Write in Email
Working Women 6 Things You Should Never Write in Email
Trends The Hip Bone Cut-Out Dress Is Back
Trends The Hip Bone Cut-Out Dress Is Back
Weddings Nini Tiari Gets Married in California
Weddings Nini Tiari Gets Married in California
Skincare This Tool Will Change Your Skin Routine
Skincare This Tool Will Change Your Skin Routine
Shopping The Hottest Bag of the Late ’90s Is Back
Shopping The Hottest Bag of the Late ’90s Is Back