Naomi Campbell is among the world’s best-known models. She’s been gracing fashion magazines worldwide since age 15. During the 1980s and 90s she was one of the three most in-demand and recognizable models. The fashion industry anointed her one of the world’s six ‘supermodels’. But Campbell is more than just a fashion icon. She has acted in film and on television, appeared in countless music videos, produced an R&B /Pop album and has been a very vocal, visible and generous supporter of numerous charitable causes.
Born in London, Campbell is of Afri-Jamaican and Chinese heritage. This helped create her attractive, exotic look. She studied at the Barbara Speake Stage School and later did ballet at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. At age 7 Campbell appeared in a Bob Marley music video and at 12 she was tap dancing in a Culture Club music video. Then at age 15 while window shopping in London she was discovered by the Synchro Model Agency. She was on the cover of British Elle soon afterwards.
Over the next decade Campbell modeled for Isaac Mizrahi, Azzedine Alaia and Gianni Versace. She also posed for famed photographers Bruce Weber, Peter Lindberg and Herb Ritts. By the end of the 1980s, Naomi Campbell was a star. When Campbell appeared on the cover of French Vogue, she was the first black model ever to do so. She was also British Vogue’s first black cover girl in 25 years. In 1989 when Campbell appeared on American Vogue‘s September cover, she was the first black woman to do so. In 1991 she became Time magazine first black cover model.
Naomi Campbell is also beloved because she used her platform to call attention to a number of philanthropic causes. They include the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, poverty in Brazil, victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the Haiti earthquake and the Japan earthquake, social integration for young people in Italy with learning disabilities, the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, and many others. Campbell has received numerous awards for her charitable and philanthropic work.