Supermodel Naomi Campbell was interviewed for a CNBC segment scheduled to air on CNBC Meets on CNBC World on Saturday, October 1, 2011, at 5:30 p.. ET. CNBC released excerpts, in a September 27, 2011, press release, which are attached.
Naomi Campbell spoke about her childhood, early breakthrough in modeling and how her lifestyle caused her to take a time out from the industry in an exclusive interview with host Tania Bryer. Campbell traveled to Los Angeles, to the home of musician Quincy Jones, who is a father figure and mentor to Naomi. for an insight into what motivates and inspires her.
Naomi Campbel got an early start in modeling. At the age of 15, she was in Covent Garden with her friends and Beth Bolt from Synchro Model Agency approached her and asked if she wanted to join the agency. Bryer asked if that was something she ever considered.
Naomi Campbell: No, not at all and I actually didn’t think she was talking to me when she asked if I’d ever modeled, or would I like to model. I thought she was talking to my lovely friend who had long blonde hair, beautiful bands. And she looked and said ‘No You!’ I felt kind of awkard within myself at that point body wise, as I was just going through puberty. Lanky and acne teenage spots and you know, whatever else happens at that time.
Tania Bryer: Did you also feel that you were breaking through for other women of color in the industry?
Naomi Campbell: I did’t realize, I knew I was the first black model, but I didn’t know the depth of the whole history of how women of color were treated. I thought it was just an achievement for me and my family. After when it came out and the reaction to it, I realized it was an achievement for women and my race.
Naomi Campbell battled with addiction in 1999. Bryer asked what her biggest challenge at that time.
Naomi Campbell: Not feeling guilt for taking time out. Not feeling like I was missing something. And the challenge was to go back and face something I hadn’t dealt with. Its scary for anyone looking in the mirror and tries and deals with them and leaves that baggage there and moves forward with clarity and in a fresh way…it felt good, because it doesn’t matter who yu are, or what you do, it does catch up with you. It could be anything, it could be overworking, it could be anything that becomes compulsive.
Tania Bryer: But you Naomi, what made you ready?
Naomi Campbell: Like I said before, I really didn’t want to work, I didn’t feel good. I just lost many friends. I was just done. I was physically and emotionally drained.
Bryer mentioned Campbell’s highly publicized temper tantrums and asked if she had regrets.
Naomi Campbell: No. The thinkgs that I’ve said and done, I apologized, I accepted responsibility. I did my community service.
Quincy Jones: For a long time, I was trying to figure out, got to the bottom of the things that wer gettin in her way, keeping her from having a better life. It was anger management.
Bryer asked Campbell if it was a time of reflection.
Naomi Campbell: There is no reason for doing that so its more of understanding and seeing a pattern that you have to break.
Tania Bryer: And you feel you have broken that?
Naomi Campbell: Work in progress.