Naomi Campbell does not believe that facing racism has ever been an obstacle in her fashion career. Mostly because she doesn’t acknowledge it.
Despite the ever-apparent lack of diversity on runways, and in magazines and look books, Naomi is not convinced that the fashion industry has a race problem.
During a recent chat with Alan Carr on Alan Carr Chatty Man, the Empire femme fatale said that blaming the challenges she’s faced on racism would be a lazy excuse. Although she acknowledges a disparity, she doesn’t think it has anything to do with the color of her skin.
“I never use that word ‘racism’, I find it a cliché word and I don’t want to use it as an excuse,” Naomi said. “For me it was, I call it territorialism, where there are people that have that certain territory and they stand their ground and they are not going to change their mind and that is their opinion.”
Naomi points to her French Vogue cover as one such situation, where she felt she was more a victim of people in the fashion industry being territorial about what kind of beauty is recognized and celebrated.
“I have always risen to every challenge and so basically my other friends had a French Vogue cover and I was like ‘Why can’t I have a one too?’ and at first they said no, because they had never had anyone on it,” she recalled.
Naomi wasn’t going to let one swift rejection stand in her way. She immediately thought up a way to work around the problem by pulling out one of her big guns.
“It was instantly ‘No’ without thinking. So I thought ‘Let me go to my great friend Yves Saint Laurent and tell him’, since I was his contract girl,” Naomi explained. “I asked him to fix the situation and he did. That is how I got it.”
With her years of experience Naomi has made it a point to advocate for other Non-White models hoping to make a name for themselves. And she’s not making any discrimination in who she supports in her continued push for increased representation.
“As I sit here, I fight for the younger models of colour, and when I say colour I mean of all colours, it’s all shades and origins that have a hard time,” said Naomi. “Again, it’s not saying ‘You’re racist’. That isn’t what it is about. Maybe we should remind you when casting to use all colours and more models of colour.”