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
|Starring:||Tim Blanks and Naomi Campbell|
My whole life I think has been based on a challenge.
And I very much have a fighter's instinct in that way.
♫ Oh you better step away
♫ Number one in heaven with a bullet
♫ I'll come for you when I can
♫ Tell them I'm smiling oh oh
Welcome back to throwback Thursdays, I'm Tim Blanks.
Two words: Naomi Campbell.
Don't need to say much more than that.
The superest of the supermodels,
though she'd probably have something to say about that.
Thank you very much.
[Tim] You wanna talk to us?
She's often been a lightning rod of controversy.
She's very outspoken, she's a very forceful personality.
Gianni Versache always said to me,
Whether they write about you're good or bad,
who cares, they're writing.
[Tim] When we went back into our vaults,
we discovered this tape from 1999,
which I think shows a much more rounded woman
than the tabloids allowed us to see.
You know, I was growing up in this industry
in front of the whole world in the public eye,
and probably may not even have known how to say
what I wanted, but I knew that I had to ask for
what I wanted because if I didn't I wasn't gonna get it.
[Tim] You have been very opinionated about
the fashion industry.
Do you still think it's a racist business?
Well I haven't seen a black model on the cover of
a magazine in America in the last year and a half, so.
Well, you know.
I have faith, but it's moving really slowly.
[Tim] Why do you think that is?
I don't know, I don't know if anyone's even realized.
You see all races in music, and in dance and theater,
so why can't we see it in fashion?
But we're not.
What are you saying, you wanna put a black girl on a
Cosmopolitan for the last 10 years,
so black women aren't gonna pick it up?
They still do!
[Tim] She did put herself out there as a sort of
touchpaper for the whole issue of racism in fashion,
but she had some good friends helping her.
Linda's part of my life,
Linda helped me in my career so much.
She said to designers like Dolce & Gabbana,
Have you ever seen Naomi Campbell walk?
Have you ever walked her?
You've never put a black girl in Dolce & Gabbana,
you must take her!
And they listened to Linda, and she helped me.
We used to help each other, and that's what's missing
I feel, from the models today.
That the camaraderie is not the same as it was
for my group of girls.
[Tim] If you think about the relationships that define
top models' careers, the relationship that I actually
do come back to with Naomi is,
the one with the designer Azzedine Alaia.
[Naomi] He's just, he's the best.
I mean this man took care of me and protected me
from 16 years old on.
I lived with him for four years,
I have my room still in his house,
he shows it to everyone.
And he has concerns like a real father (laughs).
[Tim] Does he discipline you?
Oh God yeah!
He tells me when he's mad, why he's mad, and what for.
[Tim] There can't be many men who can do that though.
[Naomi] I don't like men that I an walk all over,
I just don't, doesn't work for me.
The occasion for this interview in 1999 was
the launch of a perfume, the first of many,
that Naomi put her name to.
How would you describe yourself as you're
expressed in the perfume?
I would describe myself as mysterious, yes, I can be.
Independent, yes, I can be, outspoken yes I can be.
Hard working yes I am.
[Tim] What about all the sexy stuff?
I never mention that, you know, ah,
that's not for me to say.
[Tim] Maybe more than any other model,
Naomi Campbell's career will leave a legacy
of controversy and commitment and activism.
She's been dominating the industry for nearly 30 years.
She was discovered as a 15-year-old schoolgirl in London.
And I saw her just the other day,
walking in a Diane Von Furstenberg show.
So there's nothing nostalgic when we talk about her,
because I think there's a lot more to come
in this particular story.
Do you have a favorite Naomi story?
I'd love to hear it!
This has been throwback Thursdays, and I'm Tim Blanks.