Supermodel Naomi Campbell has been in the spotlight ever since age 15 and yes she’s broken barriers in a white dominated industry among which is being the first Black model to make the cover of French Vogue in 1988.
Speaking with designer Marc Jacobs in a one on one chat for Interview Magazine about racism encountered, Campell said:
“I should have spoken out more, but back then if you spoke out, people wouldn’t work with you,” Campbell told designer Marc Jacobs during a one-on-one for Interview Magazine.
Voicing her praise for Bethann Hardison who in the 1960s was well known for being one of the first high profile black models, as well as earned acclaim for her activism on diversity in the fashion industry, going ahead in 1988 to form Black Girls Coalition, a platform providing a voice to Black models, with her friend and fellow supermodel Iman, Campbell didn’t hold back;
“Bethann was my rock. Being 17 or 18, I was calling her and telling her everything. She gave me her ear, but she also gave me the courage to speak out.”
As Campbell’s influence grew throughout her 30-plus-year career she found her voice and turned down gigs which weren’t glorifying, with integrity taking centre stage over monetary compensations.
“I still feel like it was right for me to stand up for my rights as a Black woman and not take way less financially than I used to be offered compared to my white counterparts doing the same job,” she said.
“I didn’t want to accept something that was degrading to myself and to my culture.” she said.