What You Don't Know About Naomi Campbell

Long before Kendall Jenner became 2018's highest-paid model and Bella Hadid claimed a modeling royalty title, there was Naomi Campbell, the undisputed face of fashion. With unmatched boldness, a fierce face that meant business, and the overlooked holy grail — good lighting — Campbell walked every runway like she owned it. That she has paid her dues in the industry is a no-brainer. As such, when Australian model Nicole Trunfio compared her own career to Campbell's on "The Face," she got a lot more than she signed up for.

At 52, the original supermodel hasn't slowed down in her now-evolving entrepreneurial adventures. An August 2022 interview with Elle confirms that Campbell is a woman who takes charge. Her number one Boss tip?: "Don't ever let someone change the way you feel, and when your gut speaks to you, do what your gut feels. Go with your instinct. Don't second-guess yourself." During the course of her 30-year career, Campbell, who took on the challenge of motherhood in 2021 (via The Guardian), has revealed a number of lesser-known details about her life. Here's what you might have missed.

Naomi Campbell's childhood was a 'communal' affair

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as far as Naomi Campbell's career is concerned. Valerie Morris-Campbell, her mom, traveled a lot and resided in Italy and Switzerland due to her performing career. It was through her that Naomi got her first taste of life in front of the camera. Being away from Valerie meant that she was raised by her grandmother in London. Naomi described this upbringing as "communal" during an interview with British Vogue.

"Grandma taught me how to cook and clean. I would come home from school and have to wash my dancewear, clean my shoes," said the model. Her aunts, on the other hand, helped her attend fashion gigs early in her career.

Prior to taking on modeling professionally, Naomi appeared in a number of music videos, the most notable of which was Bob Marley's "Is This Love?" as revealed in the "Naomi Campbell" collector's book (via The Guardian). The then-seven-year-old Campbell hadn't the slightest clue that years later, she would embrace her Jamaican heritage by owning a nine-bedroom home in the Caribbean, as seen on "MTV Cribs."

She was robbed during an early visit to Paris

Though she has walked many stages in Paris, which is set to overtake New York as the capital of fashion (per Vogue Business), one of Naomi Campbell's earliest trips to the City of Light was nothing short of dramatic, if not horrifying. All along, Campbell had been traveling for shoots — first to New Orleans, and then Florida — in the company of an aunt. She eventually got comfortable enough to go solo after a few trips to Paris. 

"On one trip, all of my money was stolen. No one had told me I should lock up my valuables and I lost everything," Campbell wrote in a book about her achievements (excerpted by The Guardian). That fateful incident, however, was in fact a blessing in disguise, since it led her to meet Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa, who housed her every time she was in Paris.

Since then, Campbell has seen much of the world, to the point of owning homes in exotic places such as Malindi, Kenya (via Architectural Digest). She considers herself a global citizen, telling The Cut about her globe-trotting nature: "I feel like traveling has saved my life in so many ways. I don't have a fear of the world. I see the world as an optimistic dream."

The most iconic runway struts of Naomi Campbell's career

Everyone and their mother has, at least at a point in time, heard of the Naomi Campbell walk. Singer Beyoncé may have shot Campbell's signature style off the roof when she chanted, "Do the Naomi Campbell walk" on her 2007 hit "Get Me Bodied." The strut is unlike any ever witnessed on the runway; a blend of elegance and calming control, sprinkled with a whole load of sass. This walk, that is the hallmark of runway supremacy, was one Naomi learned in her early teens, thanks to the genius of Valerie Morris-Campbell.

"Mum had such style and grace. When I was 12 or 13, she appeared in a fashion show, and I remember her showing me how to walk in the hallway at home," Naomi wrote in a self-titled collector's book (via The Guardian). "Lionel Richie was playing in the background and I watched her walk up and down to the beat of the music."

On her YouTube channel, Naomi went down memory lane, reliving the good times. At the very top of her list is modeling for designer Azzedine Alaïa's spring-summer collection in 2003. The pair shared a special friendship, as Naomi told the Independent in 1998. Coming in second is the 2017 Dolce & Gabbana Milan Fashion Week showcase, in which she shared the stage with singer Wizkid. Closing Naomi Campbell's top three is the Givenchy 2016 spring fashion show.

She worked against discrimination

A lot has been said about behind-the-scenes treatments in the modeling industry. In 2019, South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech shared on Instagram that Who magazine published an interview with her but printed a photograph of someone else — a biased mistake that was offensive and disrespectful. In 2015, renowned model Iman Abdulmajid discussed the wide pay gap between models of color and their counterparts in an interview with Harper's Bazaar.

Not even a top model like Naomi Campbell could escape this unseen side of fashion. Campbell told BBC News that she has frequently been on the receiving end of racial discrimination in her career. "But it's not something that I let deter me and stop me. I used it to drive me," she said.

Her sentiments were further echoed in a 2019 interview with BBC News Africa, in which she narrated a racial profiling incident that left her reeling in shock: "I did a campaign for someone and I was told that one of the countries in Asia won't use the picture because of the color of my skin. Ironically, I have that gene in my family. So it was quite like, 'Really?' But you know, it doesn't stop me."

If you or a loved one has experienced a hate crime, contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

Naomi Campbell has long-lasting industry friendships

The world watched as Naomi Campbell cried her eyes out after learning of the brutal murder of Gianni Versace in 1997. She was his muse. Until the time of Versace's death, the duo had known one another for 11 years. Campbell's relationship with Versace was a mirror of many long-lasting relationships she has formed in the world of modeling.

In one of Campbell's most memorable Vogue cover interviews, the Fashion Icon award recipient was photographed by Steven Meisel, who met her when she was an amateur in the industry. At the time of the shoot, Campbell and Meisel were still going strong, churning striking images 35 years after they first crossed paths.

Speaking for Interview magazine to designer Marc Jacobs, with whom she shares an equally long working relationship, Campbell said of the connections she's established: "I'm blessed to have had loyal, solid, and long relationships, like I have with you. When we're younger, we don't know what's going to happen, where we're going to go, or how we're going to end up. It's so nice to watch each other grow and to be in each other's lives supporting each other from afar or close by, but just being there."

Naomi Campbell prefers to be quiet on set

In the past, Naomi Campbell has been labeled a diva, a claim that she vehemently denied on "The Graham Norton Show." "They said that I do my own makeup. But I can tell you, a real diva would never do her own makeup. That part is also ridiculous." So she may or may not be a diva, but she fully trusts her skilled makeup artists.

The rumor, Norton suggested, could also have stemmed from the fact that Campbell prefers to be quiet and focused during modeling shoots. "I don't speak. I still work with photographers now that I've worked with since I was 16. Twenty-eight years, we could talk all day long. For me to be able to have that boundary, because we've got work to do, I don't speak until lunchtime or break time," said Campbell.

Campbell may have fueled the public's diva suspicions when she showcased her extensive airport sanitizing routine on YouTube and was labeled a neat freak, but as The Guardian pointed out, her 2019 video is much more relatable in pandemic life. 

The runway's historic quartet has a group chat

At the very peak of their careers, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington — popularly dubbed "The Big Four" — were an untouchable crew. They put in tireless effort, sometimes to the tune of eight shows per day, and invested time in their friendship. "It was an incredible time, but we worked hard. And no matter how many outfit changes, how many shows, we never said we were tired," Campbell told Vogue.

Time and again, they have reconnected to do what they love most. In October 2020, Crawford announced via Instagram that she and the girls would grace AppleTV+ with a docuseries titled "The Supermodels." It's fascinating to learn that, long after their time on the runway, the quartet's chemistry is still intact. "Yes, we have a group chat," Campbell told Vogue, adding that the historic supermodels were amongst her first visitors when her daughter was born. 

Kate Moss is another famous bestie; she and Campbell have had a long friendship through the years. Campbell was asked about an old rumored feud between herself and Tyra Banks when she appeared on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" in 2019. Recalling her appearance on Banks' talk show, Campbell alluded to the former friction and stated, "We cleared that up." Later that year, Banks told her story with The Wall Street Journal, claiming that she cried every night when Campbell rejected her early in her career. Both women have spoken out against the idea that only one Black model can succeed. 

She has a soft spot for Nigerian hitmaker Wizkid

Of friendships outside the universe of modeling, Naomi Campbell isn't running short. In addition to walking the red carpet alongside P. Diddy/Brother Love (via Vogue), Campbell has raised eyebrows over her relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio, and she shares a strong friendship with "One Dance" hitmaker Wizkid.

Although the pair sparked dating rumors during an appearance at the GQ Awards (per Hollywood Life), Campbell considers Wizkid family. In July 2022, she was front and center in sending the "Ojuelegba" singer warm birthday wishes. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY LIL BRO [Wizkid] ... On this Day i/we salute you with all the blessings from the Universe.. I love you Fam SO PROUD OF YOU," wrote Campbell on Instagram.

On Campbell's YouTube show "No Filter with Naomi," the pair got into the details of when they first met at a Wizkid concert, with the Elle Style award winner citing Wizkid's kindness as the attribute that drew her in. "And then after that I went to, like, the after party, which was very crowded. And you were the only one that got up and said to me, 'Take my seat.' That's why he's my brother," said Campbell.

She recovered from drug addiction

While Naomi Campbell was turning heads on red carpets and making headlines for having a thriving career in the late '90s, her life was gloomier behind-the-scenes. When the lights faded, she had her own underlying issues, the biggest of which was drug addiction. Campbell's first encounter with cocaine happened when she was 24.

"I had been modeling a while, and I'd always been against it. And I found myself, like, doing three jobs a day," she shared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." As she shared in the 2010 episode, access to the drug was so easy that there was no middleman in the picture. The weight of Campbell's consumption of cocaine came crashing down at a photoshoot. That low point, coupled with the death of Gianni Versace, was the cue she needed to seek professional help. In a 2017 conversation with Fortune, Campbell disclosed that her superstardom didn't matter in the facility she chose. "I was treated the same as everyone else and I met all these people from all walks of life."

At the time of Campbell's interview with Oprah, she'd achieved great milestones in her sobriety journey. Campbell was also working on anger issues following an incident with her housekeeper in which the model was charged with assault (per People).

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Yes, Naomi Campbell cooks and cleans

"Bodak Yellow" rapper Cardi B may have popularized the catchphrase "I don't cook. I don't clean," but Naomi Campbell has yet to catch on. Her favorite place is the kitchen, she told Elle, "when I'm bossing people around." In an April 2021 conversation with designer Marc Jacobs for Interview, Campbell shared that the worldwide COVID lockdown helped her spend more time making her own meals.

"I cooked, I cleaned, I washed my own clothes. There's nothing I cannot do for myself. That's the way I was raised by my grandmother and mother," said Campbell. In many ways, she was remaining true to her Caribbean upbringing. "[The COVID quarantine] brought back a lot of things that were instilled in me as a child," she added.

As for what's on her grocery shopping list, Campbell has a solid non-gluten, non-dairy, non-wheat rule to follow. Not that she really likes it. In a 2019 "Being Naomi" YouTube video, the star told fans, "What the f*** am I gonna eat? All my comfort food just went down the drain, and I'm sad." Campbell also expressed her love for Japanese pears, shared that lemon was an essential, and revealed the one spice she'd never run out of: hot sauce.

She works out like a champ

To keep her killer physique for decades and counting, Naomi Campbell has a number of tricks in her toolbelt. Top of the list is fitness, a practice that Campbell swears by, as she shared with British Vogue in 2019. The outlet's clip of Campbell and her trainer featured a number of workouts, including muscle-relaxing warm-ups, ten hip openers for each side, spiderman lunges, and glute bridges, to name but a few.

Up until Campbell's fitness life was in the hands of trainer Joe Holder, she often picked up and then quit on routines. "I would do one or two classes and say 'Forget it, it's not for me,'" she shared on an episode of "Being Naomi." A trainer she could work with easily was much more welcome.

There is more in Campbell's little store of wellness and beauty tips. In a 2015 interview with "Today," Campbell revealed that her days begin with warm water and lime juice. For breakfast, nothing awakens her body more than a nourishing glass of green juice. She practices Pilates, stretching, and yoga, which she first thought was overrated. She stays off chicken and maintains a vegetarian diet, and Campbell crowns it all with a glass of water and a good dose of supplements.

What is Naomi Campbell binging on, reading, listening to?

Naomi Campbell has built the life of her dreams, and it's so fulfilling that she isn't afraid of missing out. This she revealed in an August 2022 interview with Elle. "When I hear people say FOMO, I'm like, 'FOMO?' No, I'm where I'm supposed to be," said Campbell. When she's not busy running her (estimated) $80 million empire, she chooses to unwind in different ways. 

At the time of her interview with Elle, South African tunes dominated her playlist. "I'm really in love with piano, the sounds of South Africa...it really depends on my mood," she expressed. She also told the publication that her varied taste in music extends as far as rock and reggae, and it's not unusual for her to DJ. Campbell disclosed that she was watching Korean television shows on the regular and keeping up with the "Housewives" franchise. 

Naomi Campbell is a reader. The poetry and prose volume "Blooming Bare" by Morgan Richard Olivier was her book of choice when she spoke with Elle. She also promoted British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful's memoir, "A Visible Man," on Instagram in September 2022.

Naomi Campbell's daughter is 'alert for her age'

In 2021, Naomi Campbell announced the arrival of her yet-to-be-named daughter on Instagram and Twitter. "A beautiful little blessing has chosen me to be her mother, So honoured to have this gentle soul in my life there are no words to describe the lifelong bond that I now share with you my angel," the post read, in part.

Through an interview with British Vogue, fans learned that Naomi's daughter, who made a cover debut before she was crawling, was way ahead of her time. "She's a good girl: she sleeps very well, she hardly ever cries and I'm told she's very alert for her age," the superstar mom said. "She's just started waving, which is fun. She laughs a lot. She's almost talking."

It turns out that Naomi's daughter is simply a chip off the old block. According to mom and now-grandma Valerie Morris-Campbell, the supermodel had an equally intriguing personality when she was growing up. Valerie shared on a "Being Naomi" YouTube episode, "She was a very determined child. She was able to dress herself, put colors together, and she was very particular, you know, with something she didn't like... 'No!' she said."

She doesn't require a title to do it all

Naomi Campbell is an all-round woman who does it all: fashion, YouTube, philanthropy, business, travel. As a philanthropist, Campbell has intentionally used her platform to benefit those in need and lift up hard-working leaders. In 2018, she joined the Global Citizen Festival NYC in celebrating Nelson Mandela, with whom she shared a special relationship. Campbell said in a conversation with BBC's "HardTalk," "Africa will always remain important for me, and so, I will continue doing what I do for Africa as well as the inclusion of all the other countries that make up the Commonwealth. Also my heritage country, Jamaica."

In July 2022, Campbell added a new title to her resumé. The University for the Creative Arts gave her an honorary doctorate, per Hello. With her titles perfectly displayed on Instagram, it's surprising to learn that she's not defined by any of them. In an interview with Forbes, Campbell said, " I just do what I do. I don't need a label for it. I don't know. If you wanna call me an entrepreneur, that's what you wanna call me, but in my mind, in my body, in my spirit, I do what I do whether it's for myself or for others. I didn't know there was a title for that."