Naomi Campbell may be one of the most successful supermodels today, but she had a particularly uphill battle to climb.
In a new Apple TV+ documentary series called The Super Models, Naomi opened up alongside fellow stars Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford about her rise to fame. And she couldn’t help but praise her friends for all they did to help her get to where she is today!
The 53-year-old began by recalling her childhood growing up in an Afro-Jamaican household in the UK, noting she experienced racism since she was very young. But she was tough. Recalling an incident when she was just five and called the N-word in elementary school, she shared:
“I wasn’t going to accept being bullied at school for the color of my skin. My mother was paying my school fees just like everybody else. I had every right to be there, so take your bullying somewhere else, is how I felt.”
Good for her! But it got worse she got to the US as a teen — to pursue her modeling career.
Things were different when she moved to New York because she didn’t exactly have her family’s support:
“At the time, modeling was kind of looked down on in my family. My mother had no idea I was doing any of it.”
Aw! It wasn’t just that her mom didn’t like the idea of her modeling — she warned Naomi about racism in America and prejudices in the South specifically. Oof. Still all too real today as white supremacism rears its ugly head again, and unfortunately it DOESN’T have any geographical limitations. But back to the ’80s… While the author wasn’t willing to let racism stop her, she realized instantly there was truth to what she’d been told:
“I started to understand culturally that I was going to have to work really hard to feel accepted. There was no way I could go back home with my tail between my legs … I was going to go harder and further.”
But even just her daily life was a struggle at times — and she benefited greatly from her friendship with two fellow future supermodels: Christy and Linda! She said:
“I would put my hands out many times on New York City streets, and the taxis would fly by. Then Christy would put out the hand and they would stop. The guy would be like, ‘I don’t want to go to Brooklyn,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not going to Brooklyn.’ I was just like, why is he saying that? It didn’t strike me until, you know, Christy would have to stand out in front of me, get me a taxi to get it to work.”
Ugh, so terrible.
The one good thing to come of this was that the models went on to live together and form a long-lasting friendship. Naomi now considers Christy and Linda “sisters” for the way they both stood up for her against discrimination. Linda chimed in:
“Naomi wasn’t always booked to do the shows. I didn’t understand. Naomi, I thought, was more beautiful, had a much more rocking body than I did and a better strut. [I was] like, ‘Why aren’t they booking her?’ I said to them, ‘If you don’t book her, you don’t get me.’”
Still thankful, the English fashionista praised Linda for her support while adding that both ladies “absolutely put themselves on the line for [me],” something that kept her going even on the worst days. Incredible! Even more reason to love these women! Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know (below)!
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