Naomi Campbell (born 22 May 1970) is a British model. Campbell started her career in the 1980s and is considered a supermodel having regularly appeared on the catwalks of Milan and Paris as well as on over 500 covers for such magazines as Vogue Italia, Japanese Vogue, Elle, i-D, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, Interview, W, Vanity Fair and GQ. She was the first black cover model for French Vogue Paris and Time magazine (Europe), and the second for British Vogue magazine. Campbell is also known for a series of legal issues and less known for her extensive charity work. In Europe, Campbell is also known for the perfumes associated with her name.
Campbell is signed to IMG Models (New York City), TESS management (London), Marilyn Agency (Paris), and D'management Group(Milan).
Campbell's successful modelling career, in some respects unprecedented for a black model, made her one of the most recognizable and in-demand models of her generation. During the so-called supermodel era of the early 1990s, she was part of the "Big Six", alongside Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Kate Moss, and "The Trinity", alongside Turlington and Evangelista. On an episode of reality show America's Next Top Model, friend and former alleged rival Tyra Banks once described Campbell's body as one of the "best in the business."
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 full-time model, signing with Elite Model Management. Campbell started 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 forRalph Lauren and François Nars. At age 15 in April 1986, Campbell appeared on the cover of Elle, replacing model Veronica Webb who had cancelled out of the appearance.
In August 1988, she appeared on the cover of French Vogue as the 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. She was also the first black model on the cover of Time magazine (TIME Magazine Europe 9/18/91).
Campbell became the second black model after Donyale Luna (March 1966 issue) to appear on the cover of British Vogue (December 1987 issue, replacing fellow model Veronica Webb again who apparently declined to work with the magazine), Vogue Nippon, and later Vogue China. Campbell 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. Campbell has appeared on over 500 magazine covers such as Vogue Italia, Japanese Vogue, Elle, i-D,Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, Interview, W, Vanity Fair and GQ.
Campbell starred in George Michael's music video "Freedom! '90", where she lip-synched to his song along with Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz. In 1991, she appeared as Michael Jackson's love interest in his music video for "In the Closet". The next year, Campbell appeared in Madonna's music video for "Erotica", which featured filmed footage from photoshoots for the book Sex. Campbell has also appeared in videos for artists such as Michael Jackson, Nelly, Jagged Edge, Jay-Z, P.Diddy,Madonna, The Notorious B.I.G., Macy Gray, Prince and Usher.
In 2008, when talking about the term "supermodel", 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 which i wholeheartedly agree!!)
In 2009, Campbell gained a lot of attention when she spoke of the "racist" fashion industry. In an interview with Glamour magazine, Campbell was quoted as saying "You know, the American president may be black, but as a black woman, I am still an exception in this business. I always have to work harder to be treated equally."