Supermodel Naomi Campbell is a formidable force in the fashion industry and has used her success to establish herself as an entrepreneur, which is why she is a keynote speaker at the Forbes Woman Africa Leading Women Summit 2019 at the Durban ICC on 08 March.
Campbell will join in the conversation on wealth creation on the continent.
Her persona, however, is one that can’t be ignored. Her presence alone warrants the R5 500pp cost to be a part of the 500 strong audience.
And while I want to pose cerebral questions about her summit of one of the world’s most cut-throat industries, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to know what her beauty regime looked like either.
Daily green juices? Really? But I also want to know how she used prejudice against her to find her own power.
Campbell was the first British black model to appear on the cover of British Vogue – in the ’80s – yet she doesn’t look a day older.
Heck, she was the first black model to appear on the cover of TIME magazine, French Vogue and Russian Vogue.
She is on the cover of the March issue of the British Vogue as well. Editor Edward Enninful made the announcement online, sharing a story of their first meeting.
“I was a young fashion director and Naomi was already famous well beyond the industry, but we bonded on sight. After the shoot wrapped, she invited me to jump on a private plane to Dublin with her – I was due back in London and had only £10 in my pocket – but that’s just the way it is with Naomi. A quarter of a century later and she hasn’t changed. You never know where you’re going to end up,” he wrote.
Indeed her glamorous lifestyle has been well documented. She is an enigma. She recently made headlines in the British press for having told beau Liam Payne, 25, (One Direction) not to get too “clingy”. Campbell, 48, walked the runway for Valentino a few weeks ago in a sheer dress.
Her career is phenomenal. She has featured in campaigns for Burberry, Prada, Versace, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent and others.
She has appeared in countless TV shows, music videos and films, including as supermodel coach on Oxygen’s series ‘The Face’.
Campbell is also responsible for an incredible amount of fund-raising and charity work in South Africa and the world. In 2005, she established Fashion For Relief which has raised millions of dollars for various causes.
In 2018 she mentioned the idea of a Vogue Africa. It’s indeed the world from whence she comes, and when she is here next week, it will be wonderful to hear how she feels about the African narrative – and whether we now need that lens at all.