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Naomi Campbell: Linda Evangelista Protected Her From Racism During Her Early Modeling Days

“Naomi Campbell’s road to success was paved with obstacle’s – due in part of the color of her skin.”

“The 53 year old calwalk good

ess opened up about the dark side of her triumphant fashion career during episode 1 & 2 of the new Apple TV+ documentary The Super Models, which explores her rise to prominence alongside fellow models Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford – who also share their stories from the 80s and 90s.”

“Naomi Campbell, who grew up in an Afro-Jamaican household in the UK, recalled experiencing racism early on, but said it didn’t affect her as much until she moved to the US to pursue modeling.”

“When she was five years old, Naomi Campbell was called the N-word in elementary school. She said, I wasn’t going to accept being bullied at school for the color of my skin. My mother was paying my school fees just like everybody else. I had every right to be there, so take your bullying somewhere else, is how I felt.”

“Things changed, however, when Campbell moved to New York. At the time modeling was kind of looked down on in my family. My mother had no idea I was doing any of it. Despite her mother’s apprehensiveness, Campbell pushed forward.”

“She said her mother warned her about racism in America as well as prejudice in the south. She said, I started to understand culturally that I was going to have to work really hard to feel accepted. There was no way I could go back home with my tail between my legs… I was going to go harder and further.”

“Still it wasn’t easy and adjusting to life in a new place, as a Black woman made things difficult. I would put my hands out many times on New York City streets, and the taxis would fly by. Then Christy would out the hand and they would stop. The guy would be like, I don’t want to go to Brooklyn and I’m like like, I’m not going to Brooklyn. I was just like, why is he saying that? It didn’t strike me until, you know, Christy would have a stand out in front of me, get me a taxi to get it to work.”

“Campbell and Turlington, now 54, went on to live together and the two created a strong bond. Campbell shared that Turlington and Evangelista, now 58 — who she fondly referred to as her “sisters” — advocated for her when she was met with discrimination.”

“Naomi wasn’t always booked to do shows, shared Evangelista. I didn’t understand. Naomi,  I thought, was more beautiful, had a much more rocking body than I did and a better strut. I was like, Why aren’t they booking her? I said to them, If you don’t book her, you don’t get me.”

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