Naomi decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a ballerina, and at the young age of ten she began to attend the Italia Conti Academy to help further this goal. However, she had already been introduced into the world of modelling when she appeared in a music video for Bob Marley in 1978. At twelve she made another appearance in a music video, this time for the music group Culture Club.
Building a career in the public eye
When Naomi Campbell was just fifteen years old she signed with the Synchro modelling agency. Since she was so young, her modelling career did not take off for a couple of years. In October 1987, however, she got her break when she appeared on the cover of Essence magazine. One of the biggest triumphs of her career came just two short months later in December when she became the first black model to ever be featured on the cover of British Vogue.
Then, in 1988 she began working with Ralph Lauren, while simultaneously being working with the cosmetics company, Nars. Later that year Naomi Campbell conquered another country when she became the first black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue in August. Seeking to branch out and work in more than just a strict modelling sense, Campbell filmed a small reoccurring part on The Cosby Show in November. She would follow this television appearance up two years later when she had a guest appearance in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and in 1991 she played a singer in the movie Cool as Ice. During this time Naomi also appeared on several different magazines covers, making sure that she worked to establish herself in both realms of the public eye.
In fact, the early part of the 1990’s is considered by some to be the high point of Naomi’s modelling career as she was considered to be one of the six supermodels working at the time. The other five were Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Claudia Schiffer. Naomi Campbell worked on advertising campaigns for Prada and Victoria’s Secret.
In 1995 Naomi worked with a professional ghost writer in order to put together a novel about a model’s life that was titled, Swan. At first it was believed that she had written the book on her own, however, later it was revealed that she had relied heavily on the ghost writer. During this time she also shot an erotic scene for Madonna’s book Sex and appeared in the video “Erotica,” and she continued to act on her sexual appeal by appearing in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and Playboy. Naomi Campbell continued her acting as she appeared in the movies Miami Rhapsody and Invasion of Privacy.
Problems in her personal life
One thing that Naomi Campbell has been well-known for in addition to her large portfolio of modelling and acting jobs is her temper. This came to be a problem for her in 1998 when she assaulted her assistant, Georgina Galanis, with a telephone and threatened to throw her out of a moving car. She pleaded guilty to the charge in 2000 and agreed to go to an anger counselling class. This problem appeared to be resolved until allegations from Campbell’s new assistant, Amanda Brack, began legal proceedings against her in 2006, claiming that Campbell assaulted her several times in 2005, including one incident where she beat Brack on the head with a mobile phone.
Also in 2006 Campbell was arrested in New York City for beating her housekeeper on the head with a mobile phone that had been covered in gems. The phone apparently tore into the housekeeper’s scalp, causing her to need several stitches. When she was arrested she was charged with a felony second degree assault charge. This time Naomi Campbell once again pleaded guilty and was ordered to attain an anger management course, she spent five days of community service at the Sanitation Department, and she had to pay the maid’s medical bills that results from the incident.
In 2008 Naomi once again found herself in trouble with the law when she assaulted a police officer in Heathrow Airport after one of her bags had become lost by the airline British Airways. Subsequently she was banned from flying with that airline again, and she was charged with three different counts of assaulting a police officer. She pleaded guilty and was ordered to 200 hours of community service.
Continuing her professional life
Despite all of these encounters with the law, Naomi Campbell has still managed to keep her status as a supermodel. During 2008 she was photographed for a Louis Vuitton advertising campaign, she appeared on the covers of POP, V, Numéro, and Vogue (French, Russian, Brazilian, and Italian), replaced Kate Moss as the primary model for Yves Saint Laurent, appeared in an editorial in i-D, closed a fashion show in Paris for the designer Hermes, and had photos of herself that appeared in an art exhibit in Miami. While 2009 has not been quite this busy, she has still appeared on three covered and was in a print advertisement for DSquared2. With all of this continuing work, and the established name of Naomi Campbell, it is unlikely that she will fade from the public sphere anytime soon. If nothing else, her past career is proof that no matter her circumstances she will adapt to the situation, which is one of the main reasons why she remains on top.