Naomi Campbell, English model who begins her career at 15. Three years after, she’s on Vogue British and Vogue France covers

Naomi Campbell

  1. The Beginning: Synchro Model Agency
  2. The Golden Years
    1. Vogue
    2. Supermodel
  3. Her Struggles
  4. Fashion Cafe
  5. Various Activities
  6. Current Situation

The Beginning: Synchro Model Agency

Naomi Campbell was born in 1970  in Streatham, London. She has chestnut hair and brown eyes, but she wears colored contact lenses, blue and green. She studied at Dunraven School and the London Academy for Performing Arts, Italia Conti Academy stage school and appeared in music videos for Bob Marley. Then, she was discovered at the age of 15 while walking in Covent Garden, by Beth Boldt of the model agency Synchro.

After being discovered she was signed on by the agency and her career quickly took off. She traveled to Paris regularly and meet Azzedine Alaïa, who she became close with and who meet many celebrities through.

The Golden Years


In December 1987, she appeared on the cover of British Vogue, as that publication’s first black cover girl. Then, in August 1988, at the age of 18, she was the first black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue France. A year later, she appeared on the cover of the September issue of American Vogue, which was said to be the most sold of ever.

Vogue France 1988.


Naomi Campbell Supermodels Shot by Herb Ritts
Supermodels shot by Herb Ritts.

Through the 80s and 90s she gained the status of top model and she was considered one of the six models of her generation declared supermodels by the fashion industry. She walked the catwalk for designers: Gianni Versace, Azzedine Alaïa, Ralph Lauren, Bluemarine, Alessandro Dell’Acqua and Isaac Mizrahi. Also, she has modeled for famous photographers such as Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber.

In April 1992, she appeared on the hundredth-anniversary cover of American Vogue, shot by Patrick Demarchelier, with several other top models. And a year later, in 1993, she famously fell on the catwalk in Vivienne Westwood‘s foot-high platform shoes, which were later displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Her Struggles

Naomi Campbell Vogue 100 Anniversary 1990
Vogue America, 100th anniversary, 1990.

From 1998 to 2009 there were several cases after being accused 11 different times of acting out against employees, associates and other individuals. She was convicted in Toronto in 1998 of assaulting her assistant with a mobile phone. By 2006, several other employees had come forward with claims of abuse. She pled guilty at least four times and attended anger management classes, completed community service and paid fines. Along with this, she was banned from British Airways after a mid-air incident.

Elite Model Management, which had represented Campbell since 1987, fired her in September 1993, on the grounds that “no amount of money or prestige could further justify the abuse” to staff and clients. Elite founder John Casablancas described her as “manipulative, scheming, rude and impossible.” She was known for her whimsical temper and jet set love affairs including the ones with the boxer Mike Tyson, the dancer Cortes, the entrepreneur Flavio Briatore and Usher.

Fashion Café

Elle McPherson, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Cambell Fashion Cafe Launch
Elle McPherson, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Cambell Fashion Café Launch.

Naomi decided to diversify her activities: so, with her colleagues Elle McPherson and Christy Turlington, she launched the Fashion Café. The business venture was not successful and the directors were arrested for fraud, bankruptcy and money laundering in 1998. Then, she co-wrote the book Swan, recorded a couple of songs and created the album Babywoman. Furthermore, she took part in the videos of famous singers such as Michael Jackson, she presented her own fragrance, and she had a doll and a wax statue at Madame Tussaud’s reproducing her features. So far, the thing she does best remains on the runways.

For over twenty years, Naomi Campbell has worn clothes that designers put on her, but also interpreted them, giving them life. In 2007, she walked the catwalk for Dior‘s 60th-anniversary fashion show at Versailles.

Various Activities

In 2013 she launched her reality series, The Face. The series is about a group of aspiring models competing against each other. Campbell is the producer and a coach for the show.  

In 2014, at the age of 44, Naomi is ready to go permanently down from the catwalk and to get behind the scenes of fashion, and opened a charity shop in London’s Westfield shopping center, called Fashion For Relief. The shop sells fashion clothes and accessories also to celebrities and friends, such as Kate Moss.

Naomi Campbell Fashion For Relief Show 2015
Fashion For Relief, 2015.

Fashion For Relief presented shows in New York, London, Cannes, Moscow, Mumbai  and Dar es Salaam, and raised millions of dollars for various causes. Campbell has remained an activist who has fought for the welfare of children in Africa, alongside Nelson Mandela, since 1997.

Between the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 a wide range of products signed by the model is launched for TCC, a leading company in loyalty programs. The products, including jewelry, textile articles for the house, bags and luggage have been used by retail chains, franchise or not, to reward customers in loyalty campaigns.

Current Situation

Naomi Campbell Versace Spring/Summer 2018 Runway Show a Tribute to Gianni Versace
Versace, Spring/Summer 2018: “a Tribute to Gianni Versace” Runway Show

In 2017 Campbell launches silver jewelry and luxury gift items, becoming an ambassador of a brand that is launching its first store in Northern Ireland.

Milan Spring Summer 2018 Fashion Week’s epic moment turns out to be Versace’s runway show, where the original supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni, and Helena Christensen came back to the catwalk in golden dress, to pay tribute to the dead designer Gianni Versace. The reunion was really memorable, with the audience welcoming the top five models with applauses and standing ovation.

By 2018 Naomi Campbell boasts the cover of over 500 magazines, catwalks for countless luxury brands, and a continue charity work in South Africa and around the world.  

Nearly her 51 years, the Black Venus wants to become mother. She posted a picture of her baby’s feet, on her hand, writing “There isn’t a bigger love”: at first, nobody knew her daughter’s name, nor the birthday or the father.

In 2017, while talking about the possibility of maternity, she said: “I constantly think about having children. But now, thanks to the science, I think I’ll be able to do it whenever I want”.