Happy belated birthday to Naomi Campbell. The hardest working woman in fashion turned forty eight on May 22. Naomi is from the era of the super models and hasn’t slowed down since the 1990s. Naomi has challenged beauty standards in the fashion industry for decades and continues to do so as she nears fifty. Naomi Campbell has been a hero of mine for many years.
I remember the first time I ever saw Naomi Campbell. She was doing a seductive dance in Michael Jackson’s “Keep it in the Closet” video. She was an absolute sensation in my middle school suburban Detroit social circle at the time. Me and my young girlfriends were fascinated by this dark skinned exotic beauty and her waist length hair. There was some debate among us whether the hair was real or not. I was on team weave but it didn’t even matter. I loved that woman.
She was a stunning Black woman with African features. Her contemporaries were Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and another favorite of mine Tyra Banks. There had been successful Black models before but none as dark and lovely as Naomi at that time.
Some of you may be unaware that lighter skinned, European featured beauty is highly favored in the world. Even in Black communities light skinned, straight haired looks are praised over dark skin and kinky hair. I had childhood experiences that involved me being teased for being dark. As an adult it’s been clear to me that most men prefer lighter, European women over African looking ones. So it meant a lot to me as a young girl coming of age to see someone with dark features in the limelight.
Other models from the super model era have either retired or play different roles in the fashion industry now. At forty eight years old Naomi is still working the runway better than anyone and I mean anyone. Young models of the day can’t match her stage presence. In April 2018 she was on the cover of “GQ” magazine. Ms. Campbell shows no signs of slowing down.
Naomi has a bad reputation. She’s been accused of abusive behavior and has served time for her crime. She paid her debt and hasn’t had any legal problems in years that I know of but I believe that Naomi is misunderstood. It’s hard for Black women to stand up for themselves without being seen as being combative or aggressive. Unfortunately, Black women, even tall and glamorous models are forced to defend and demand their worth themselves often in this world. The world doesn’t just give people of African descent respect we quite often have to demand it. I think Naomi may have just been demanding to get the respect she deserves.
Despite Naomi’s notorious temperament she seems very polite and gracious to me. She doesn’t seem to take her lot in life for granted and she has worked very hard for all she has. I also respect a person that is able to maintain long term friendships. Friendship is under appreciated in this world and Naomi is still friends with some of her modeling colleagues from the 90s like Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista. I respect and admire people that maintain long lasting friendships. She also has a long term relationship with P. Diddy that I find to be, well, intriguing.
Happy belated 48th birthday to Naomi Campbell. The diva, queen of the catwalk, hardest working woman in fashion, muse and one of my personal heroes and an inspiration to millions.