There are Supermodels, there are Ubermodels and then there’s Naomi Campbell.
A Supermodel’s Ubermodel. The very definition of fierce.
Reknowned for her lateness, her unbelievable beauty, cheekbones, bee-stung lips and that killer body, Naomi Campbell is heading to Australia in early November to begin production on her modelling reality show The Face.
Already a smash hit in the US and UK, The Face is a modelling competition like no other.
Naomi, who is co-executive producer as well as modelling ‘mentor’ (don’t call her a ‘judge’) will lead the local charge to hunt for the ‘face’ of a major Australian brand. The show’s host and Naomi’s two other model ‘mentors’ are yet to be announced but the buzz is already building.
The buzz, naturally, is focusing on Campbell, who at 43 has been strutting the runway and striking poses for 27 years – a feat unheard of in the youth obsessed fashion industry.
The modelling icon, known for her diva antics and difficult persona, is perhaps just misunderstood.
“I’m very direct.” She says. “Am I bossy? Absolutely. I don’t like to lose, and if I’m told no then I find another way to get my yes. But I’m a loyal person. And I’m generous and I don’t bullshit.”
Whilst Naomi paints herself as a protective ‘mother hen’ to her girls, she admits she practises tough love and discipline with a healthy dose of encouragement.
“No, I’m not a friend. When I came on board, I agreed to be a mentor, not a friend. We care about our girls – that’s just a normal thing to happen. But in order for you to have some type of authority, you can’t be a friend,” said Naomi, in a recent interview with UK InStyle.
“I’m straight up, I’m honest. When my girls do something great, I praise them and pamper them. And when they do something wrong I’m gonna tell them. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, because they’re not going to get it sugarcoated in the real world. Everyone makes mistakes but you have to learn from those mistakes if you want to get on.” She recently told The Guardian Weekend.
Campbell was discovered as a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Streatham, south London in 1985. She was spotted by a model agent as she window-shopped in Covent Garden and before she turned 16, she was on the cover of British Elle.
When Naomi struts the catwalk now, she is a special guest of the designer, like recently when she opened and closed at the Versace haute couture show in July in Paris. But it was the late 80s to mid 90s that Naomi believes was the golden age to be a model.
“In my era we’d get a phone call from John (Galliano) before the show: this is what the show’s about, what do you think? And we’d talk about it; we knew what the inspiration was, we really understood the collection and where the designer was coming from and so knew what kind of vibe to have,” She told The Guardian Weekend.
Naomi believes, as the fashion industry has expanded, models have been sidelined.
“If we [Christy, Naomi, Linda, Cindy etc] were on a different level to the models now, that’s because we had a relationship with the designers, so it was a real collaboration. And the photographers too – we were so close to Steven Meisel, to Mario [Testino]. When I started, the designers saw you in castings and chose you. We went for dinner and hung out. Now you’ve got casting directors, and production. There’s more of a gap between the model and the designer, because there are all these other people in the middle.”
Naomi is insistent on the word ‘mentor’. The word ‘judge’ does not sit well with her.
“I like the word mentor. I don’t want to judge someone. I like sharing my knowledge with my girls, and anything they ask me I’ll try to do to help them. Any of my real friends who know me, know that’s how I am.”
One of Naomi’s recent tweets about heading to Australia: ‘I can’t wait to get to Australia to start my search for The Face! Here I come @FOX8tv #TheFaceAU’
Are you going to watch The Face Australia with Naomi Campbell?