Naomi Campbell Skirts Around ‘Racism’ Label, Says She Faced ‘Territorialism’ in the Modeling Industry
In a recent interview with Alan Carr on his British show Alan Carr Chatty Man, super model and actress Naomi Campbell tells him that using the term “racism” is a cliché when asked about the hardships she faced in her career.
The 45-year-old model would not use the term racism to describe the hardships and unfairness she faced. She believes the term is an “excuse.”
“For me it was, I call it territorialism, where there are people that have that certain territory and they stand their ground and they are not going to change their mind and that is their opinion,” Campbell told the host. ” Many times, many, many, many times I would do the jobs of my counterparts but get much less money and I would do it for the creative reason, you know because of the look of it and to be part of my group of women but I would never say I was getting much less.”
While the esteemed model states that she has overcome many obstacles in her career, she sidesteps the racial issues in her industry.
According to data collected by NewModels.com, white female models get more work as they get older. When white female models hit the age of 50, they tend to get 2.5 percent of the modeling jobs available, while Black women only get .8 percent of those jobs. They also report that there are 54 white models working in the 50-59 age range but only 17 Black.
However, Campbell insists that the odds are in her favor. She talked about the time she insisted on being on the cover of French Vogue in 1988 but was denied initially:
“I have always risen to every challenge and so basically my other friends had a French Vogue cover and I was like, ‘Why can’t I have one too?’ And at first they said no, because they had never had anyone [Black] on it. It was instantly no without thinking. So I thought ‘Let me go to my great friend Yves Saint Laurent and tell him’, since I was his contract girl. I asked him to fix the situation and he did. That is how I got it.”
Campbell tells the host that her relationship with the white French fashion designer is the reason she got the job. The super model became the first Black woman to grace the glamorous magazine in 1988. However, the scenario shows that Campbell’s beauty and merits had to be validated by someone white in order to be appreciated and awarded.
The super model’s career has been groundbreaking. She was the first Black model to appear on Time magazine in 1991 as well. Even with her success, many models are still dealing with the racism Campbell says is cliché.
The interview aired Thursday on Britain’s Channel 4.