Naomi Campbell is one of the most successful African American models of all time. Born May 22 in Streatham, London, England, the bronze beauty started began ballet lessons at ten and her modeling career at just 15. She was able to quickly establish herself amongst some of the most elite models of the 1980’s. Naomi Campbell was also one of six women who were named supermodels in the fashion industry. She is of African-Jamaican decent, and has Chinese Jamaican roots that can be traced back to her grandmother ‘”Ming”.
Campbell grew up in Rome, and watched her mother dance for a living. While she didn’t start to follow her mother’s footsteps in dance until she was ten, she made her first public experience in Bob Marley’s “This Is Love” music video. By the time she was twelve, she was appearing regularly in videos and while still attending ballet classes at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts she was scouted by Beth Boldt, who was head of the Synchro Model Agency.
Shortly before her sweet sixteen, Naomi Campbell graced the cover of British Elle Magazine, and her career quickly began to take off. Campbell’s success began to grow quickly, as more designers and fashion magazines wanted to work with the young melanated beauty. She was able to walk the catwalk for several big name designers like Gianni Versace and Isaac Mizrahi. In the late 1980’s, Campbell along with Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista formed the notorious trio “Trinity”. They set a trend and become the most well known and in-demand models of their time.
Campbell experienced discrimination at times. While designers liked her exotic look and the way she walked in their creations, they feared they may loose customers because of their choice to use an African American model. She pressed on with support of her friends and established a stronger self image. Campbell quickly reached international success, and was commonly desired amongst the most successful designers and photographers. She has paved the way for so many women of color with her determination and fearlessness. Campbell is a role model to young girls who feel restricted in living their dreams because of their skin color, and for women who are already on their way.