Naomi Campbell: The original supermodel from Streatham

By Sarah Tetteh

She famously told me “black don’t crack”, and Naomi Campbell is certainly cracking and smashing every industry she puts her hand to.

I mean, who else at 53, is still the reigning catwalk queen? The original supermodel, from Streatham, no less, is always in demand and has proved timeless from her collaborations with the world’s most boujis brands to online fashion and high-street heaven with @prettylittlething.

So in celebration of South London’s finest Naomi, here we take a look forward to her iconic exhibition at the V&A, launched this spring with a glam event with fashion pals Edward Enninful and Sarah Burton, ahead of the exhibition opening this summer.

NAOMI: In Fashion explores the unrivalled 40-year career of style icon Naomi. After being scouted in Covent Garden aged just 15, Campbell quickly became a household name.

Naomi and fashion’s finest turned out to the launch of her iconic new exhibition (Picture: Dave Bennett)

Always flying the flag for women of colour, she made history a few years later when, at 18, she became the first Black model to feature on the cover of Paris Vogue, in August 1988.

And the rest is history.

Naomi told me on a trip to Nigeria for the This Day concert with Usher about how sisterhood is so important to her –  and she will always have that special bond with besties Kate Moss and crew.

In fact, she reckons the original 90s supermodels of her, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista still take some beating, despite the array of younger talent around today.

The exhibition celebrates her 40 year career as a supermodel (Picture: Dave Bennett)

She said: “We’re the original crew. We’ve still got it.

“My best moments over the years have been with Kate, Claudia, the original girls.

“And boy did we have so much fun. We’re still running things, we’re still doing it.

“I look back and we’ve done so much, we’re like sisters.”

Former Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful was also celebrating his ‘sister’s’ launch (Picture: Dave Bennett)

Naomi has always been fiercely proud of her South London roots. She dedicated her British Fashion Council’s 2019 fashion icon award to her manor.

She said: “This is a very emotional award to receive, although I spend so much of my life in different parts of the world, people forget that I’m from Brixton, I’m a South London girl.”

Despite her jet-set lifestyle, Naomi says indeed, South London will always be ‘home.’

She said in CNBC’s Meet series: “I feel connected to South London, absolutely. These are my roots. Whatever my accent sounds like, this is where I am from and this is where I am proud to be from.”

Guests at the launch included former Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton who famously designed Princess of Wales Kate Middleton’s wedding dress (Picture: Dave Bennett)

Aside from being a boss in business, and the catwalk, Naomi is also a boss mother-of-two.

In 2021, Campbell revealed that she welcomed her first baby— a daughter — at the age of 51. “I always knew that one day I would be a mother, but it’s the biggest joy I could ever imagine. I’m lucky to have her and I know that,” she told British Vogue when the mother-daughter graced the cover together.

Two years later, she announced the birth of her son.

While Campbell waited until she was older to begin her motherhood journey, it’s something she’s been planning for a long time. “I think about having children all the time,” she told Evening Standard in 2017. “But now with the way science is I think I can do it when I want.”

Fashion fans will be queueing to see her famous Vivien Westwood platforms where she had her graceful slip on the runway (Picture: Dave Bennett)

Fashion fans can go and see Naomi’s exhibition in April. Produced in collaboration with Campbell and foregrounding her voice and perspective, NAOMI: In Fashion is the first exhibition to celebrate the skill and contribution of an individual model to the fashion industry.

The exhibition draws upon Campbell’s own extensive wardrobe of haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles from key moments in her career, along with loans from designer archives and objects from the V&A’s collections.

Woven throughout is Campbell’s activism, having advocated for equity from an early age, joining the Black Girls Coalition in 1989 and fronting the 2007 ‘A Black Issue’ of Vogue Italia, calling for diversity on the catwalk.

 For more info and tickets visit:

Pictured top: Naomi looked chic at a launch party for her exhibition at the V&A (Picture: Dave Bennett)

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