Profiles in Black: Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell

On May 22, 1970 legendary supermodel Naomi Campbell was born in Streatham, England to single mother Valerie Morris. Before being discovered at age 15 while out window shopping with friends, Campbell had already experienced a bit of stardom. At age 7 she was featured in Bob Marley’s music video Is This Love, played Snow White in the British television series The Chiffy Kids, and studied professional dance at Italia Conti Academy (a talent she most likely developed from her mother who was a professional dancer in Europe).

After her discovery it wasn’t long before Campbell started booking jobs becoming a breakthrough covergirl. At 15, she appeared on the April 1986 cover of British Elle, at 17 on the August 1988 cover of French Vogue; the first black model mind you for the latter. This almost didn’t come to fruition as French Vogue continuously refused to feature black models on their cover. It wasn’t until Campbell’s good friend and fashion extraordinaire Yves Saint Laurent threatened to remove all of his advertising in the magazine if they did not feature Campbell or any black model on the cover. She was also the first black model to grace the covers of Vogue UK, Vogue Nippon, Vogue China, and Time magazine.

Campbell has walked more runways and appeared in more ads than one can count, some which were award-winning ad campaigns for brands like Versace, Ralph Lauren, and Dolce and Gabbana. In 2000 she launched a signature perfume in collaboration with Procter and Gamble, followed by 10 other fragrances. In 2007 Campbell was awarded the prestigious FiFi award in Berlin for achievements in the fragrance industry. As if her 25+ year career wasn’t enough, the supermodel has made a commitment to charity through her involvement with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the creation of her own charity Fashion For Relief. Fashion For Relief fundraising events have been held in countries around the world. Some of their noteworthy efforts includes raising $1 million+ for Hurricane Katrina survivors. Campbell continues to model and work for her charity.

Model’s website www.naomicampbell.com

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