Few people have had an illustrious and lasting career in the fashion system like Naomi Campbell, who turns 50 on May 22nd. The countless successes over the course of her thirty-five years in the world of fashion have made her a legend.
There was the time it appeared on the cover of FashionTrends Paris in 1988 – the first black model to do it (and today a pioneer for black models, with more than 60 covers of FashionTrends globally to its credit); the cameo in the music video that defined an era, Freedom ’90 George Michael (1990); the special Fashion Icon award received at the 2019 British Fashion Awards; oh, then we can’t forget the mythical gait that has trod the catwalks of all the greatest stylists – even Beyoncé paid tribute to her in her 2006 hit, Get Me Bodied: “Do the Naomi Campbell walk, Naomi Campbell walk. Walk across the room like Naomi Campbell. “
At the dawn of his 50th birthday during solitary confinement in his New York home, it is not surprising that Campbell (like all of us) is in a reflective mood. In his YouTube series – ad hoc title No Filter – launched on April 6 with her friend and colleague Cindy Crawford, Campbell speaks openly his extraordinary life, connecting via video with close friends and collaborators who are also big fashion stars, including Anna Wintour, Christy Turlington, Diddy, Marc Jacobs, the creative director of Valentino Pierpaolo Piccioli, Adut Akech, Ashley Graham and Nicole Richie.
Here, FashionTrends tells the life lessons we have learned so far from free and sincere conversations about No Filter.
1. Create your own chosen family
No Filter with Naomi with Adut.
© Courtesy YouTube
Over the years, Campbell has established many important relationships in the world of fashion and beyond – his ‘chosen family’, As you call it. Her father-daughter relationship with the late designer Azzedine Alaïa meant that she called him ‘dad’, while the first democratically elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was his ‘grandfather’. Today Campbell is herself a kind of parent, given that she lovingly refers to the model Adut Akech calling her ‘little daughter’ and even going so far as to say that ‘she has searched all over the world to find her’.
As Marc Jacobs said to Campbell when he was a guest of No Filter: “I really like the idea of the ‘chosen family’ because I didn’t have that relationship with my biological family, while I have it with you and our group of friends. It does not mean that you have to see each other every day but understand when you need to show up and be there. And in fact you show up and you’re there. “
2. Ask for what you deserve – you could make history
Talking to Ashley Graham about the innovative cover of Sport Illustrated 2016 – Graham was the first size 50 model to appear on a magazine cover – Campbell told a similar story dating back to 1988, when she was the first model to appear on the cover of FashionTrends Paris.
The following year, Campbell obtained the coveted cover of the September issue of FashionTrends America – again, the first black model to do it. It was the first September issue under the direction of Anna Wintour – the most important of the year for the magazine – and Wintour recalls that he did not move when his superiors questioned his choice. “I was just thinking ‘This is a fantastic girl, she is the model of the moment, she is a beautiful image.’ And we made history together, so thank you. “
3. Supermodels train like athletes
Naomi No Filter with Cindy Crawford.
Sometimes people don’t understand the difficulties of modeling. Campbell remembers the photo shoots where she was asked to hold challenging poses for long periods of time and admits: “with some photographers, you have to have a therapeutic massage afterwards”. Her friend and colleague supermodel Cindy Crawford adds, “The physiotherapist I worked with in the 1990s told me ‘I never thought about it, but actually modeling is like being an athlete.’ It’s different, but the way we have to move and support our body is a repetitive movement and sometimes it’s hard! I learned the art of modeling by working with photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon … It was the work of old-fashioned model, where they taught you how to show clothes, it wasn’t about you. ” Campbell nods and smiles, agrees.
4. Always support young talent
Campbell nostalgically tells the photo shoots with the legendary Penn and Avedon, as well as with Herb Ritts and Peter Lindbergh, but also uses his platform to support emerging talents such as the photographers Campbell Addy and Tyler Mitchell and the Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize.
Campbell and Wintour spoke about the genius of Ize’s handmade fabrics and the sense of creative community. “The only parade I did in Paris was Kenneth’s, then I left the next day,” says Campbell. He also praised Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, not only for the beauty of the models but for the heterogeneity of the casting. “I cried twice on my catwalk in my life, and that was the second time in my career,” she says of her Valentino Couture Spring Summer 2019 fashion show.
5. Attend parties, always be glam guests
No Filter with Naomi with Marc Jacobs.
© Courtesy YouTube
It’s no secret: the life of a jet-set supermodel leads you to be on the guest list of the most glamorous parties in the world. And Campbell never disappoints. Remember when he attended the 2019 Met Gala with Piccioli and the 33 year old Puff Daddy party in Morocco in 2002. “It was one of those legendary parties, so imagine a Boeing 767 without rules. People having fun on the plane, all your best friends, ”says Diddy of the flight to Marrakech.
And as Jacobs recalls the unbridled party in Saint-Tropez for Campbell’s 40th birthday, the supermodel is also an excellent host: “We were all on stage and I was dancing, I stamped my feet on the ground so hard that when the sun came up it was time to go back to the room I couldn’t walk. I danced to the point where I was unable to walk. “
6. Self-care is essential for mental well-being
If you are among Campbell’s nine million followers on Instagram, you may have noticed he trains every day. “I have to do it for my mental health, do you understand?” When the Williams sisters, the tennis champions Venus and Serena reach her via video, they talk about their plans for the week: “So, we have a training session on Thursday and then on Friday I prepare a nice mocktail,” says Campbell.
As an alternative to his masseur and chiropractor, Campbell takes evening baths with a mixture of ingredients. Recipe? “Epsom salts with lavender essential oil, kosher salt and a cup of apple cider vinegar,” he explains. It is a ritual that Nicole Richie – also known as Nikki Fre $ h, her wellness guru – understands well: “I don’t necessarily have to take many baths but in the shower I use exfoliating gloves with soap and grape seed oil”
7. Accept your story and carry it forward
Naomi No Filter with Christy Turlington.
© Courtesy YouTube
Both Naomi Campbell and her guests took advantage of the time they were on the air to bring about positive change. Among the noteworthy engagements are: the CFDA / FashionTrends fashion fund for Covid-19, A Common Thread, announced by Anna Wintour in March; Diddy who pledged to donate a million dollars to open a new legally recognized private school in the Bronx; the non-profit association of Christy Turlington Every Mother Counts which protects the health of new mothers; and Adut Akech – a model but also a former refugee – who spoke of her collaboration with UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. Meanwhile, Campbell herself is the spokeswoman for the Fashion for Relief charity, which collects money for environmental and humanitarian causes.
8. Be the best friends you can, especially in difficult times
Recalling the beginnings of her modeling career, Campbell expressed eternal gratitude to Christy Turlington. “You spoke to Steven Meisel about me, you introduced me to Gianni Versace … You always put yourself on the front line saying to the stylists’ If you don’t take her as a black model you won’t have us.” Both Jacobs and director Lee Daniels have openly recounted their recovery from addiction, and Daniels praised Campbell for the pivotal role he had in his recovery. “You made me come back sober,” he said. “I was ready, but you did it. It’s beautiful.”
So, if after proving to be great friends like Campbell you happen to find yourself stuck in Milan, Marc Jacobs could have you picked up by a private Louis Vuitton jet, as he is known to have done for Campbell in 1998.