Naomi Campbell Reveals Linda Evangelista’s Heroic Support Against Racism in Her Fashion Journey


Naomi Campbell: Triumph over Adversity

The road to success is not always smooth, and for Naomi Campbell, it was paved with obstacles, some of which were due to the color of her skin. In the new Apple TV+ documentary The Super Models, Campbell opens up about the challenges she faced throughout her fashion career, alongside fellow models Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford. Together, they share their stories from the ’80s and ’90s, shedding light on the dark side of the industry and the perseverance required to overcome it.

Racism Early On

Naomi Campbell’s journey began in an Afro-Jamaican household in the U.K., where she first encountered racism at a young age. She vividly recalls being called the N-word in elementary school at the mere age of five. Unwilling to accept bullying based on the color of her skin, she stood her ground. Campbell explained, “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.”

Naomi Campbell Talks Experiencing Racism Early in Her Career
Naomi Campbell wears a dress by Yves Saint Laurent at his autumn-winter 1987-1988 fashion show in Paris. Photo Credit: Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

A New Beginning in America

When Campbell moved to the U.S. to pursue modeling, she faced a different kind of struggle. Modeling was not highly regarded in her family, and her mother had no idea she was even involved in it. However, Campbell was determined to forge her own path, despite the warnings of racism and prejudice in America, especially in the southern states. She recalls, “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.”

Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington
Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington on May 31, 1992, in London. Photo Credit: Dave Benett/Getty Images

Barriers and Bonding

Life in a new place, as a Black woman, presented its own set of challenges for Campbell. She experienced firsthand the discrimination and bias that existed. She recounts instances where taxis would ignore her but stop for her white counterparts like Christy Turlington. Campbell shares, “I would put my hands out many times on New York City streets, and the taxis would fly by. Then Christy would put out her hand, and they would stop. The guy would be like, ‘I don’t want to go to Brooklyn,’ and I’m 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 to stand out in front of me, get me a taxi to get it to work.”

Despite the challenges, Campbell found solace in her “sisters” within the modeling industry. Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista became her pillars of support. They stood up for her when faced with discrimination. Evangelista bravely confronted designers and agencies, even threatening not to work unless Campbell was also booked. Their unwavering support fueled Campbell’s determination on her toughest days.

Naomi Campbell modeling a striped body suit circa 1990
Naomi Campbell modeling a striped bodysuit circa 1990. Photo Credit: Michel Arnaud/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Triumphant Success

Despite the setbacks and barriers she faced, Naomi Campbell emerged as one of the most influential models in the world. Her accomplishments include being the first Black model to cover Vogue France in August 1988 and to open a Prada show in 1997. Campbell’s presence has graced numerous beauty campaigns, and she continues to captivate audiences on runways to this day.

Naomi Campbell’s road to success was not an easy one. She confronted racism, fought against discrimination, and defied societal expectations. Through it all, she emerged as a trailblazer, inspiring generations of aspiring models and proving that resilience and determination can overcome any obstacle.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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