From appearing on the cover of international fashion magazines to being arrested for assaulting her maid, supermodel Naomi Campbell has always been one to make headlines.
Campbell was born in England on May 22nd, 1970. Although she never met her father, she inherited some of his Chinese features. That, combined with the Afro-Jamaican genes from her mom’s side of the family, gave Campbell an exotic look that caused her to stand out among her peers.
Growing up in London, Campbell was an avid studier of ballet and appeared in several music videos as a child. She was fifteen when she was discovered by a Ford model scout while shopping. She began doing runway work and was featured in ad campaigns for prominent designers, including Ralph Lauren.
Her big break came in 1986 when a model called in to cancel her shoot for Elle magazine. At the last minute, Campbell filled in for her, and appeared on the cover of the April issue.
The 80s and 90s become known as the Supermodel Era. Campbell, along with Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford, became known as the “original supermodels,” who appeared on the covers of every major fashion publication and made regular appearances in tabloids and gossip magazines. Best friends Campbell, Turlington and Evangelista were also referred to as the trinity.
Campbell also paved the way for other models of color. She was the first black model on the covers of Time, Vogue Paris, Vogue Nippon, and British Vogue.
Yet despite her successes in the fashion world, Campbell’s name soon became associated with certain controversies. Aside from a public feud with Tyra Banks and confessing that she had little part in writing her published novel, Swan, Campbell’s notorious temper has gotten her into trouble on several occasions. In 2006 she assaulted her housekeeper with a mobile phone and, most recently, she was charged with assaulting a police officer in Heathrow airport after the airline lost part of her baggage.
Still, Campbell remains a prominent figure when it comes to fashion. Aware of her impact on the fashion world, she has recently used her position to speak out against the lack of black models used in editorials and fashion shows.
Among the impish and doll-like models that are popular today, Naomi Campbell stands out as a truly fierce supermodel. While the days of the trinity may be over, Campbell certainly has no plans to fade into oblivion.
Photos courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.