Naomi Campbell (born 22 May 1970) is
an English supermodel of Jamaican descent.
Campbell was born in Streatham, London, England. Her mother, Valerie
Campbell (née Morris), is a former ballet dancer of Afro-Jamaican descent.
In accordance with her mother's wishes, Campbell has never met her father,
who left then-18-year-old Valerie two months after the birth of their
daughter. He was unnamed on birth certificate and neither Naomi nor her
mother have ever publicly revealed his identity. Yet, sources say he was
of Chinese Jamaican descent.
As a young child, Campbell was left in the care of a nanny while her
mother travelled across Europe with the dance troupe Fantastica. At age
10, she was accepted into the Italia Conti Academy stage school, where she
studied ballet. She attended Dunraven School, a comprehensive school run
by Inner London Education Authority in Streatham.
Campbell's first public appearance came at age 7 in February 1978 when she
was cast as a pupil to appear in a music video for Bob Marley's song "Is
This Love?". In 1982, she appeared in another music video, this time as a
tap dancer for Culture Club's "I'll Tumble 4 Ya".
At age 15 and while still a student at the Italia Conti Academy, Campbell
was spotted by Beth Boldt, a former Ford model and head of the Synchro
model agency, while window-shopping in Covent Garden. Campbell soon opted
to become a fulltime model, signing with Elite Model Management. Campbell
started her career as a catwalk model and was quickly hired for various
high-profile advertising campaigns, including Lee Jeans and Olympus
Corporation, which introduced her to the American market. Campbell also
completed campaigns for Ralph Lauren and François Nars. At age 15 in April
1986, Campbell appeared on the cover of Elle, replacing a model who had
cancelled out of the appearance.
In August 1988, she appeared on the cover of Vogue Paris as that
publication's first black cover girl, after friend and mentor, Yves St.
Laurent, threatened to withdraw all of his advertising from the
publication after it refused to place Campbell, or any black model, on its
cover. In addition to Vogue Paris, Campbell also became the second black
model after Donyale Luna to appear on the cover of Vogue UK (replacing
fellow black model Veronica Webb who apparently declined to work with the
magazine), Vogue Nippon, Time magazine and later Vogue China. She has also
posed nude for Playboy and appeared in Madonna's 1992 book Sex, in a set
of photos with Madonna and rapper Big Daddy Kane. In total, Campbell has
appeared on more than 100 magazine covers.
She famously starred in George Michael's music video "Freedom! '90", where
she lip-synched to his song along with fellow supermodels Linda
Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz. In
1992, Campbell appeared in Madonna's music video for "Erotica", which
featured filmed footage from photoshoots for the book Sex. In addition to
the previously mentioned music videos, Campbell has appeared in videos for
artists such as Michael Jackson, Nelly, Jagged Edge, Jay-Z, P.Diddy, The
Notorious B.I.G, Macy Gray, Prince and Usher.
The high point of Campbell's career was in the early 1990s, when she was
part of the two major "supermodel" powerhouses: the Big Six, alongside
Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista
and Kate Moss, and The Trinity, alongside Turlington and Evangelista.
In 2008, when talking about the model profession, she said: "Models need
to earn their stripes - I just think the term is used a little too
loosely. Kate Moss is obviously a supermodel but, after Gisele Bündchen, I
don’t think there’s been one."
In 2009, Campbell gained a lot of attention after she dubbed the fashion
industry as "racist." In an interview with Glamour magazine, Campbell was
quoted as saying "You know, the American president may be black, but as
black woman, I am still an exception in this business. I always have to
work harder to be treated equally."
Campbell is signed to IMG Models (New York City), Storm Model Management
(London), Marilyn Agency (Paris), and D'management Group (Milan).
In 1991, Campbell was featured on Vanilla Ice's single "Cool as Ice".
Three years later, she sang on the track "Heaven's Girl" on Quincy Jones's
album Q's Jook Joint. Also in 1991, she appeared as Michael Jackson's love
interest in his music video for "In the Closet". In 1995, Campbell
released her debut album, Baby Woman, which produced the unsuccessful
single "Love and Tears". Although panned by critics and a commercial flop
in the UK, where it failed to chart higher than 75, Baby Woman was a
success in Japan and sold over 1 million copies worldwide. Campbell's
collaboration with Toshinobu Kubota, "La La La Love Song", the second
single from Baby Woman and the theme song to Long Vacation, became a No. 1
hit in Japan, with the single selling approximately 1,856,000 copies.
Campbell's 1994 novel Swan told the tale of a supermodel being blackmailed
over dark secrets in her past. The novel was actually ghostwritten by
author Caroline Upcher, with Campbell later explaining, "I just did not
have time to sit down and write a book." In 1996, Campbell released a
photo collection titled Naomi, featuring pictures of Campbell taken by
Richard Avedon and other leading fashion photographers.
In 1999, Campbell developed a spin-off company, the Design House of Naomi
Campbell. So far, Campbell has created seven fragrances for women, most of
which were released in Europe. In 2000, Campbell introduced her first
perfumes, Naomi Campbell and Naomagic. In 2001, Campbell introduced her
third perfume, Cat Deluxe, and in 2003 released Mystery. A year later a
fifth fragrance was made, Sunset, and in 2005 another fragrance was
released, Paradise Passion. Campbell's latest fragrance is a new version
of her Cat Deluxe perfume called Cat Deluxe at Night.
Campbell has been in films since childhood,debuting in a Children's Film
Foundation serial The Chiffy Kids in 1976, playing a character named "Snow
White".Her other film appearances include Girl 6 (1996), Prisoner of Love
(1999), and Fat Slags (2004). She has also made cameo appearances as
herself in such films as Pret a Porter (1994) and Ali G Indahouse (2001).
Campbell has several adopted father figures, including Quincy Jones and
Chris Blackwell, and an adopted grandfather, Nelson Mandela.
In the summer of 2008 a number of news reports reported that Campbell was
going to marry Russian real estate entrepreneur Vladislav Doronin and
therefore accept the Russian Orthodox faith.
In 2000, Campbell pleaded guilty in a Toronto court to a 1998 assault on
Georgina Galanis, her then assistant; Campbell had allegedly assaulted
Georgina Galanis with a telephone in a hotel room and threatened to throw
her out of a moving Peugeot. Under an agreement with the prosecution, her
record was cleared in exchange for her expressing remorse; Campbell also
paid Galanis an undisclosed sum and agreed to attend anger management
In March 2004, the House of Lords overturned a Court of Appeal judgement
and awarded Campbell damages in the amount of £3,500, upholding an earlier
judgement that her right to privacy had been infringed following
publication of photographs of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous clinic.
In March 2005, Campbell allegedly slapped assistant Amanda Brack and beat
her around the head with a BlackBerry personal organiser. Campbell's
spokesman Rob Shuter denied the incident ever took place. In July 2006,
Brack began legal proceedings against Campbell, claiming Campbell abused
her verbally and physically on three continents. Brack accused Campbell of
assault, battery, and infliction of emotional distress in incidents that
started a month after she began working for her in February 2005. Campbell
countersued for an unknown amount. Italian actress Yvonne Sciò has claimed
Campbell left her "covered in blood" after an altercation at a Rome hotel,
allegedly due to the fact that Sciò had worn the same dress as Campbell.
Sciò's claim: "She punched me in the face. She was like Mike Tyson."
On 30 March 2006 in New York City, Campbell was arrested for allegedly
assaulting her housekeeper with a jewel-encrusted mobile phone, resulting
in a bloody head that required several stitches. She was charged with
second degree assault, a felony that carries a minimum sentence of one
year and a maximum of seven years in prison. On 28 September 2006,
Campbell did not attend a required court appearance in New York City, and
the judge ruled that he would order her arrest if she failed to turn up in
court the following week, on charges of a second-degree assault on her
housekeeper, and could be jailed for up to seven years if convicted. On 25
October 2006, Campbell was arrested in London on suspicion of assault; she
was released on police bail. On 14 November 2006, another former Campbell
housekeeper, Gaby Gibson, began a new court case against Campbell seeking
unspecified damages, and accused her ex-employer of being a "violent
super-bigot". On 15 November 2006, Campbell appeared in criminal court in
New York City regarding her March 2006 assault charges. Her defence lawyer
and the prosecutor told the judge that they were "still in the process of
working out a possible plea deal in the case". The Boston-based law firm
Sullivan & Worcester, which had assigned a top litigator to defend
Campbell throughout her many escapades, severed their relationship with
Campbell in 2006, allegedly stating publicly that Campbell was a danger to
everyone around her.
On 16 January 2007, Campbell pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless
assault against her housekeeper Ana Scolavino. She was sentenced to five
days community service and ordered to attend two days of an anger
management course. In addition, she was ordered to pay medical bills of
$363 (£185) to Scolavino who required four stitches after the incident.
According to a report on CNN, Campbell blames "her temper on lingering
resentment toward her father for abandoning her as a child". On 19 March
2007, Campbell began mopping floors at New York's Sanitation Department
for her service. On 20 August 2007, New York Supreme Court Judge Michael
Stallman issued a decision and order denying Campbell's legal attempt to
exclude Gaby Gibson's references from her history of well-publicised,
allegedly "chronic abusive and repeatedly violent conduct toward her
employees." Judge Stallman reasoned that "if proven, the reports of
Campbell's conduct" might result in proving that it was so "wanton or
outrageous" to justify the punitive damages sought by Campbell's
On 3 April 2008, Campbell was arrested inside Heathrow's Terminal 5 on
suspicion of assaulting a police officer after one of her bags had been
lost. Campbell was subsequently banned from flying globally with British
Airways by the airline. She was charged with three counts of assaulting a
constable, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a
fine of up to £5,000, one count of disorderly conduct likely to cause
harassment, alarm or distress, which is punishable by a fine of up to
£2,500, and one count of using threatening, abusive words or behaviour
towards cabin crew, which comes with a maximum penalty of £1,000. On 20
June 2008, Campbell pleaded guilty to four of the six charges against her,
while the Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop the other two charges.
The remaining charges include two counts of assaulting a police constable;
one of using threatening, abusive words or behaviour to cabin crew; and
one of using insulting, abusive, threatening behaviour or disorderly
conduct likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Campbell cited
racist slurs and other verbal abuse directed at her by members of the
British Airways crew as the reason for her outburst. Campbell was
sentenced to 200 hours of community service. Campbell also alleged that
British Airways staff called her a "golliwog supermodel" in the incident.