This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.
Naomi Campbell’s Social Good Style
There is a reason that humanity is drawn to great stories of achievement: acts of generosity that elevate our perspective, and endeavors so amazing they defy comprehension. Remember the poem “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” — the tale of a flower standing tall despite its surroundings? The three of us are inspired by its lessons, and we believe it applies to the journey of entrepreneur, philanthropist and fashionistaNaomi Campbell.
When celebrities discuss their lives, many use the most rosiest of scenarios. This is understandable. But Campbell has used a number of interviews over the years to reflect on the things that have tested her, and ultimately strengthened her resolve. Our moments in the valleys, the low points, teach us more about what we are made of than even one second on life’s peaks, our high points. She touched on this last year when she tweeted, “What I fear, I face; What I face, I survive; How I survive, I share.”
And how has Campbell shared? Through philanthropy. She supports the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and, Breakthrough Breast Cancer. In 2005, Campbell founded two charities: We Love Brazil, which was started to support programs fighting poverty in Brazil, and Fashion for Relief, which has organized fund-raising efforts for those directly affected by Hurricane Katrina, and both the Haiti and Japan earthquakes. In 2012, Fashion for Relief collaborated with leading designers to design a line of shirts that have helped to expand the organization’s international reach and maximize its philanthropic impact.
Naomi Campbell has style, on and off the runway. And we were happy she shared some of the elements of her signature style with us, including her thoughts on using social media platforms, and on the importance of giving back.
|Photo Courtesy of Naomi Campbell|
You’ve had quite a career. What does it take to have longevity in the fashion industry
I’ve been blessed with a long career, but most modeling careers don’t last this long. The great thing about modeling is that you learn so many important life lessons — how to work hard, take direction, persevere, and reinvent yourself creatively. These are important life lessons that are applicable to any career. My hope is that contestants can take what they learn on the show, and use that knowledge in their careers as models or in other industries.
You joined social media sites Twitter and Instagram. A good move because you can talk directly to their fans about life, projects, philanthropy, travels, etc. How are you enjoying it so far?
I joined Twitter in the fall and I love it! It’s fun to share my omi quotes on Twitter and pictures on Instagram. It’s hard to keep up with all of the different social media networks, but I’m having a lot of fun with Twitter, Facebook, Pheed and Instagram.
You have diversified yourself quite nicely. You’re Editor-at-Large of Interview Magazine Russian and German editons, and, you have new TV show, The Face. Do you find it difficult balancing so much professionally?
I have a lot going on between The Face, my charity Fashion For Relief, my perfume line, and my job as Editor-at-Large at Interview Russia and Interview Germany. I really like being busy and being involved with lots of different projects as a businesswoman. I’m always learning something new and exciting.
Speaking of your show The Face, what is it about, and what would you say makes it must-see TV?
Being a model is about more than just a having pretty face — you need to have the right look, charisma, talent, and smarts to represent a brand. My new show, The Face, is a reality competition series that follows up-and-coming models as they vie to become the face of ULTA Beauty. I choose a team, and then guide the models through assignments and challenges, including photo shoots, runway shows, and commercials with some of the biggest names in the industry.
The show is unique because it allows aspiring models to learn from some of the most well-known models in the world. Karolina, Coco and I will mentor the contestants, and guide them through assignments and challenges that prepare them for the real world of modeling. They’ll have experiences here that they would never normally have. And, we’re not just looking for a great model, we’re looking for someone who can represent a major national brand.
Your charity Fashion for Relief is respected throughout the fashion industry, and by many social good advocates. What motivated you to create it, and what particular causes does it champion?
I started Fashion For Relief in 2005 after seeing all of the devastation and suffering that Hurricane Katrina caused in New Orleans. I wanted to do something to help, but wasn’t sure what to do, so I decided to work with the people I know best — my friends in the modeling world — to raise money and awareness. Fashion For Relief was founded as a way to mobilize the fashion industry to support important causes through unique fashion shows. Since 2005, Fashion For Relief has presented events in New York, London, Cannes, Moscow, Mumbai and Dar Es Salaam, and has raised millions of dollars for various causes and aided people in need around the globe.
What are your thoughts on fashion and style moving forward? Any emerging designers and trends we need to be on the lookout for?
Two of the emerging designers who I really love are Fausto Puglisi and Roksanda Ilincic. Fausto is the new designer at Ungaro; I’m really excited to see what he does there! It’s great to watch up-and-coming designers and see the new perspectives and ideas they bring to the runway.
Lastly, how would you define “great style”?
Great style involves knowing what you like and what looks best on you. It also means having the confidence and courage to express yourself. After all, you wear the clothes, the clothes don’t wear you!
For more information on Naomi Campbell, and the exciting, impactful projects she’s working on, log on to her website.