Naomi Campbell: I don't know if I've been a great role model
September 29th, 2010
06:18 PM ET

Naomi Campbell: I don't know if I've been a great role model

Naomi Campbell may have pushed past barriers in the fashion industry as a woman of color to become one of the most well-known names in the world, let alone the industry, but she still gets skittish when people start to toss around the “role model” label.

“Listen, I make many mistakes. Many mistakes,” she told gallerist Tony Shafrazi in Interview magazine. “I’m not a perfect human being…So I always get nervous when people speak about something that sounds like a role model, because I don’t know if I’ve been a great role model myself. I don’t think I have in certain aspects of my life.”

But, Campbell added, she is “trying to do better.”

The 40-year-old admitted that she does feel a sense of duty to other young women of color who may get passed over in the notoriously homogeneous fashion world. It's a reality that hasn't greatly changed from the time when Campbell herself was coming up in the business in the mid-80s, but she didn’t let that slow her down.

“There are always obstacles in life, and even if I did see obstacles, I never looked at it like, ‘Okay…We can’t achieve what needs to be achieved.’ I’d look at whatever obstacles were in front of me and find the people who could help me overcome them.”

This strategy, she said, led to her first Vogue cover on the French edition of the renowned publication, a gig she may have been the first black woman to receive. “I do feel a responsibility, because I’ve been given so many opportunities, and I’d like to see other girls of color presented with those same opportunities,” she told Shafrazi.

But, Campbell added, she’s also not one to simply wait for someone else to help open a door – especially not at this point in her career, which has been flanked with good and bad press.

“I mean, look, I’m controversial. It’s not that people don’t know who I am…If people want to work with me, then they want to work with me. If they don’t, they don’t. You also have to create your own things…If something doesn’t come your way, then you find another way,” Campbell explained. “I am a woman of color and I will always be proud of that. I know I will always have to go that extra 10 miles. And that’s fine. I’m okay with that.”

Even in light of the dogged coverage of her testimony at a headline-making war crimes trial – one at which she thinks turned into a “complete media circus” for an event that “wasn’t about me” – Campbell says she’s not one to shroud herself in self-defeat.

“I don’t get depressed. When I feel an attack, I withdraw. I disappear, I replenish, and then I come back,” she said. “I’m not going to wallow in self-pity and not live my life. There are always going to be some falls in life for everybody, no matter what career you have. You have to roll with the punches and keep going.”

Filed under: Celebrities

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. ckesling

    trust me on this naomi, you are "NOT" a good role model at all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 5, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Yugo

    Don't worry about it - you haven't.

    October 4, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JC

    Just refer to her by her real name......Satan

    October 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • MD

      Agreed! She has proven time and time again that she is a horrible shrew. Total POS!

      October 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Role Model FAIL

    nuf said

    October 4, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. marih

    Role Model and the name Naomi Campbell should neve be used in the same sentence, if you're talking about a positive influence on one's behaviour. If however you are speaking of a person who's dimensions fit the narrow parameters dictated by a small, narrow minded group of individuals she is perfect.

    October 1, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. b0bc4t

    I believe that Naomi has survived these years with an undying determination, incredible looks and being oblivious to, and unrepentent for her actions. Being aggressive worked in the modeling field, but the civil court has not been friendly to her, beacause she has a wicked temper and poor impulse control. She flies off the handle, throwing things and tantrums, which have caused her "inconvenience" in doing just as she pleases, instead having to answer for her actions in court, usually involving a payoff and anger management sessions, which she applies the same attention as her war crimes testimony.... why are you making me answer these questions, I'm a beautiful person, can't you SEE ME!

    She treats everyone like a means to her own ends.... flirting with dignitaries, being showered with gifts and such are her persona, she knows nothing else, and is repulsed when she must follow the rules that apply to the little people, like waiting and conducting yourself in a civil manner in public, rather than causing a tantrum in an airport and assaulting an officer in the process. There are rules that apply to EVEN YOU!

    October 1, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. suzi stars n peace

    naomi is pretty on the outside. Dont really know much about her. I would love to see her do like oprah winfrey angelina jolie or of course tyra banks because i think she could do amazing things if she really tried.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Keith

    She's a beautiful woman, but just don't get her mad when she holding a cell phone. I don't know if she's a good role model, except to maybe little league pitchers. I hear she's got a great throwing motion. I think if I worked for her I'd be buying her a hands-free earpiece style phone. I wonder if she was throwing phones back in the late 80's because those things were the size of bricks.

    September 30, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sthflachk

    Wow! She clearly is saying she is not a role model u haters

    September 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Willbnv

    All I can say that Ms. Campbell is a beautiful woman with whom open up many doors for women of color. We all kno that she has made some mistakes in her life but who are we to judge. Ms. Campbell, I just want to say keep your head up & trust in the Lord. Whatever you are going through, I know you will make it through.

    September 30, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. reality

    Look Naomi said her self that she has made mistakes. What the hell is all the self righteous commentary for. If you idiots got your information from sources besides the ny post, you would know her former fashion manager lied about her and naomi's involvement bcause ms. Campbell ended her contract with her so she tried to set her up like you worthless hatefull swine. AND ms.campbell gave the diamonds away to charity and never did a damn thing with them. So you swine are either to ignorant to know what your squeeling about or you are spreading vicious lies because naomi is a strong young looking beautiful SELF MADE BLACK WOMAN. Your jealousy is obvious and sick but i bet patriotic. Swine

    September 30, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. Caroline

    I am not so much judging, but actions speak louder than words, and allot of her actions do speak for themselves. Her behaviour is the past has been pretty poor, and she has been given numerous chances to work out her issues, which sadly it looks like she hasn't done. I will admit to being irked by her feeling that she was being "inconvenienced" by having to testify about receiving blood diamonds. What young people should learn from her is how NOT to act if you want to be taken seriously and be respected. So in that aspect, maybe she is a bit of a role model.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Lovelyn

    I agree with wateva. Who are we to really judge? Some of us had done worse things than naomi, yet here we are judging. Everyone deserves a second chance. Lets leave judgement and vengeance to GOD.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Veronica

    Role model NO lying about receiving those blood diamonds where 6 million people died- killed were force labor to dig im sure many hours with food r water to fuel greedy goverment war

    September 30, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. selecta

    People please all thi Hate 4 her is Sick.people her in america should check themselves NOBODY should judge anybody We All have skeletons remember slavery,Holocust etc. !!!we r all f*ed' UP!!!!!!

    September 30, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |


    September 30, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Naomi must've thrown a cinder block at your head for you to write that nonsense.

      September 30, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shelby

      Naomi – "I'm so inconvenienced with having to come testify about the Blood Diamonds given to me by that Dictator". Gee Naomi what about the people who were "inconvenienced with their lives" digging those blood diamonds out for your Dictator to give to you.

      October 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  17. whateva

    I agree with Edward, we all make mistakes, the number of times we make the same mistake is pretty irrelevent and as long as we learn and make an attempt to change, who or we to judge? None of us are God. In the end, she only has ONE to answer to; and I'm sorry my friends, it's none of us.

    September 30, 2010 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  18. Jose

    No, that is not what a role model is. Being true to yourself is not what a role model should try to do. We all should try to be true to ourselves if that is what we want. She's a model, and highly paid one at that. And you should try to live with someone who is true to themselves to find out what a challenge that is.

    September 30, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  19. Erma Williams

    A role model is one that is true to self, not with a wig that hangs down like a horse tail. It says to me that she is something that she is not to prove that she is equal to everyone else. Not good

    September 30, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  20. Lovelyn

    Naomi is only human, as us all. That she's a star does not make her any different. We all make mistakes, and learn from them. She also has her good sides, pls let her be. lovelyn

    September 30, 2010 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  21. Jose

    Let ye who have not sinned... No, she is not a good overall role model. However, please bring to mind that most role models (real ones, because few think of Mother Theresa as a role model) are not perfect. If you are beautiful, and I mean in the sense that people should pay you to wear their stuff, her tenacity, persistence, and her fire is something to aspire to have. It can't have been easy for her to get there.

    September 30, 2010 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  22. doobee

    As for Naomi's quote, sounds like she's not the one getting punched!

    September 30, 2010 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  23. Charles Taylor

    you love Naomi and what she is doing?? What is it that she's doing that has you so mesmerized? Not a big fan of current events are you?!

    September 30, 2010 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  24. Observer

    OK. NO, you have not been a good role model. Seriously? Multiple tantrums, lying in court, throwing phones at people who serve you and making stupid comments every time you turn around ...who does that? SOMEONE WHO IS NOT A GOOD ROLE MODEL does that. 'Nuff said.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  25. Hanan

    I love Naomi and what she is doing, and sure she is not a perfect human being, we all do mistakes, this is so very normal
    what is not accepted to repeat your mistakes over agian, that wouldn't be forgivable , others are fine because we live to learn for each step we take even right or wrong, what matters that we are able to move on 🙂

    September 30, 2010 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  26. Dale

    She seems like a rich & shallow person.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  27. danielle

    hey #8 edward!! ppl make a mistake..and learn from it! morons keep doing it...and even more retarded ones get caught! she is plain ol' insain...."to repeat the same action over again, expecting a different result"-INSAIN!....SO SHUT UR PERFECTLY IGNORANT MOUTH!

    September 30, 2010 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  28. Skip

    A mistake, Edward???? That's as understated as referring to you as simply being ignorant.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  29. DC

    Yes, we all make mistakes. But we don't accept gems from a ruthless dictator who terrorized innocent civilians for years, and then deny having received any such gifts. I'm probably wasting my typing skills though because I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about...

    September 30, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Reeta

      Actually I do Maria. For once, she could have been honest and helped the jury to convict the dictator, but all she did was lying, and she still walks with her head held high and people forgive her because she is hot........ pathetic

      October 4, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  30. Dukkha

    She's retarded. No, that insults retards.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  31. Lucky

    I want to grow up to be just like Naomi Campbell. Date russian thugs and assault my house keepers with 500 dollar cellphones. Lol.
    She is a crazy self centered junkie.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  32. edward

    I love reading the comments posted by all you "perfect" people who never made a mistake in your perfect lives.

    September 29, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Oh, how horrible it is that us little poor people have the audicity to criticize The All Important Rich B!tch Super-Dee-Duper Model Naomi Campbell!
      What are you going to do? Throw phones at us on Naomi's orders?

      September 30, 2010 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Merin

      Well, at least I can say I've never thrown something at another person, nor have I been violent nor intentionally rude. Indeed, perhaps Naomi exists to make me feel better about me!

      September 30, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  33. mejazzbo

    The answer is no. Naomi Campbell has not been a great roll model. She focused on her looks rather than developing her character. As did her support system.

    September 29, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  34. beauty

    i am sure jealousy is an everyday issue but she has been getting bad press lately and i wonder if fame for her needs early retirement.

    September 29, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Shelby

    Girl, you got any of those blood diamonds hidden anywhere? Loved it when she walked in that courtroom and told the judge that she had been very "inconvenienced" for having to testify. Gee Naomi, guess you forgot about all the people who were killed digging up those blood diamonds that Dictator gave you. Poor Naomi – that tired thing should dig potatoes for a day and feel what it's like to be poor.

    September 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  36. oliver

    I like naomi being herself.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  37. jc

    ...gotta admit, she is still hot. 🙂

    September 29, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Katie

    Naomi Campbell is OLD news...She was a witch back in the 80s, and I presume she'll always be a witch.

    September 29, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  39. WILMA10

    the only role that anybody can model after you is being a stupid liar, self-centered damn fool, nothing about you I or any of my relatives would like to be and i have relatives that will make your long face look like a horse-ass. so go and be true to naomi and don't think anybody cares what you think. girl u are need to pray..and pray hard

    September 29, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Spot on!

      Naomi is just another product of a diseased materialistic society! She is a narcississt!

      September 30, 2010 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      Don't hate her because she is beautiful.

      September 30, 2010 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Alli

      Truth, yes, she is beautiful on the outside, but that only last so long. Inner beauty last forever and she needs to find a lot of inner beauty. Take a break Naomi, go to the mountains and get away from everyone. Find who you really are on the inside and when find a caring, loving, gentle and giving human being, come back down to the real world. Right now, you are butt ugly in your actions.

      September 30, 2010 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Beauty comes from the inside, not the outside. It's not hard to look like a supermodel if you have a team of plastic surgeons and are willing to starve yourself half to death. She's 'pretty', not beautiful.

      September 30, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Not so sure why anyone would be fascinated with her. There are MANY more attractive women in this world than her. She has proved time and time again SHE IS A ROTTEN PERSON. She is acts like a spoiled child which makes her incredibly UNATTRACTIVE. She is a POS in my book.

      October 4, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |

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