You’d better duck really fast if Naomi Campbell catches you doing this
The legendary supermodel tells Times Select about the one thing that enrages her more than any other
One of the world’s original powerhouses, Naomi Campbell, has body-shaming high up on her list of taboos.
The 47-year-old British-born beauty revealed in an exclusive interview with Times Select on the eve of International Women’s Day, that she abhorred the practice of body-shaming, where mainly women, famous or not, are trolled about their weight on social media platforms.
In recent years local celebrities like Minnie Dlamini Jones, Ntando Duma and Amanda Du-Pont joined a long list of internationally famous faces including Gigi Hadid, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian, who have all been criticised for their figures by social media trolls.
Studies published in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine found that people who felt ashamed of their bodies also had poorer overall health, regardless of their actual weight.
“I don’t agree with body-shaming anyone. I feel that’s terrible to make someone feel less than who they are. It’s something I dislike immensely,” Campbell said.
British-born Campbell – one of the five original supermodels who revolutionised the fashion industry in the 90s – arrived in Durban on Thursday to deliver a keynote address at the Forbes Woman Africa Leading Women Summit.
The two-day summit, which culminated in a gala dinner at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Friday, brought together 500 influential women from across industries and professions.
Campbell’s work on the runway has seen her grace countless magazine covers, as well as feature in numerous television shows, music videos and films.
Her charity work started alongside Nelson Mandela in 1993, with Madiba bestowing on her the title of “honorary granddaughter” for her ongoing activism.
In 2005, Campbell established her own charity, Fashion for Relief, which has presented shows in New York, London, Cannes, Moscow, Mumbai and Dar es Salaam, raising millions of dollars for various causes.
The famous philanthropist conceded that her work can be “hectic”.
“But I don’t find it pressurising, no. I enjoy all that I do. I wouldn’t do it if I don’t enjoy it, if I’m not committing to it. It can be hectic, yeah.”
Campbell refused to be drawn on the issue of rampant eating disorders in the modelling industry.
“I don’t really touch on this because I’m not qualified, and I feel you that really need to get this from someone who is a doctor. I’m not a spokesperson for this.”
Despite being regarded as one of the most beautiful woman in the world, Campbell revealed in a Good Morning Britain interview in 2018 that she too had insecurities about her figure.
She was speaking to hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid about celebrities posting nude selfies on social media.
“I can’t do it. I’ve always been self-conscious of my body. When I first got to New York, if I wore something tight, I would wrap a cardigan around me to hide my back.”
She said there is no handbook for modelling.
“I looked, I learned, I watched, I observed. I like to be directed by photographers, directors in whatever I’m doing. I like to know what they want from me.
“I like to work in taking direction. That’s the only way to learn. I erase myself because I want to transform into what they want they want me to be.”
The women who were lauded at the awards ceremony included department of home affairs employee Nosipho Mkhupheka, who received the Forbes Woman Africa Public Sector award for her dedication to efficient customer service, and one of the world’s fastest women, Caster Semenya, who received the Forbes Woman Africa Sports award.
“The awards ceremony was the perfect conclusion to a highly constructive day of networking and concept-sharing by Africa’s most dynamic women,” said Methil Renuka, managing editor of Forbes Africa.
“I would like to congratulate every award recipient – the work they are doing is impacting the lives of millions of young women worldwide, creating a space for them to, in turn, make their mark in a meaningful way.”