Naomi Campbell is a household name. She’s known for her height, for her stature, for her stride, for her style. She’s known for her glossy magazine covers, her famed friends, and for being regarded as one of the first major supermodels. She’s known for her walk as much as she is her talk. Campbell has been for years, not just a fashionista, but an active philanthropist.
The fashion half was kick-started from an early age. As a young child, Campbell was enrolled into multiple performing arts schools across Europe. Her study of dance proved especially fruitful when, at just seven years old, she was featured in Bob Marley’s music video “Is This Love”. At the age of twelve, she tap-danced in Culture Club’s “I’ll Tumblr 4 Ya”. Come 1986, she was scouted by the head of Synchro Model Agency, and just before her sixteenth birthday, Naomi Campbell graced the cover of British Elle.
Her look and grace incited a rapid rise to stardom. Campbell became the first black model ever to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine, as well as the first black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue and Russian Vogue. Her commanding walk made her quick a queen of the catwalk, often booking top designer shows like Azzedine Alaia, Dior, Versace, and Chanel. She’s done hundreds of campaigns and editorials including shoots for Burberry, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, and Louis Vuitton. Campbell has posed for over 500 magazine covers since that very first for British Elle, and is often regarded with her keen friendship to fellow supermodel Kate Moss.
The revered and iconic model has graced stages for more reasons that to showcase designer collections, however. Naomi Campbell has long been involved in many fundraising and charity efforts, and has even founded her own initiatives. In 1993, she worked with Nelson Mandela with charity work in South Africa, and in 1997, he named her “Honorary Granddaughter” for her advocacy and activism. In 2005, Campbell founded Fashion For Relief, a fashion show charity organization to fund relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. The initiative presented shows in New York, London, Cannes, Moscow, Dar es Salaam, and Mumbai, and raised over millions of dollars for a variety of causes. In 2007, she hosted the South African leg of Live Earth, a movement to raise environmental awareness. She has, undoubtedly, solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with on international runways, as well as her place among international initiatives.