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"I cry at movies." I say to Naomi that when I interviewed Diana Ross 20 years ago, she said: "Black don't crack". You wonder is Naomi OK that everyone seems to have an opinion of her - informed, mostly, by people who have never actually met her. Did you learn subconsciously how to walk on the catwalk from watching your mother dance? "Yeah," she answers, "but dancing at that time was very competitive. I think it is part of growing." What have you learned from mistakes?
And so my two friends said, 'Well, you want to use us, but we'd like you to use Naomi'. Julia Molony Amanda Byram strides into her local branch of Le Pain Quotidien in south-west London - ponytail swinging, skin gleaming, 1,000-watt-smile in place.
See Newsdesk Roz Purcell is one of Ireland's most influential personalities and one of only a handful of Irish models who successfully transitioned from a photocall career into a lucrative food business.
My left one more than my right." Is that your way of disguising that you're actually crying? Nelson Mandela dubbed her his "honorary granddaughter". "It showed my family that being a model was a good choice. "There is some part of me that's shy." Is that difficult when you realise that all of your being is known to possibly every person on the planet? And when a lot of the media profiles are based on second-hand bullshit, it is more difficult?
' I say, teasing the world's most famous model e-vah, dahlings. Naomi, who is arguably the world's most famous, most photographed model, is an incredibly divisive figure. When, in 2004, in Britain's High Court, Naomi won her breach of confidentiality claim against the Daily Mirror - for publishing a report about her drug addiction, including a photograph of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in Chelsea in February, 2001 - its then-editor Piers Morgan said: "This is a very good day for lying, drug-abusing prima donnas who want to have their cake with the media, and the right to then shamelessly guzzle it with their Cristal champagne." Others have been more complimentary. The people around me have been around me for many, many years; my school friends, my girlfriends from school - they are still around me. It is important for me to keep solid relationships." Naomi Elaine Campbell was born in London in 1970. When she was a baby, Naomi and her mother Valerie moved to Rome until Naomi was four, when they returned to London. I think modelling has become more competitive now than it ever was before, but there were so many dancers then, trying to get their Equity Cards and stuff." In 1987, Naomi appeared on the front of British Vogue. ("I can't even begin to explain what this cover meant to me," she has said. I just did my work." Are you still, underneath it all, quite a shy person?
I think now, going on television," she says - referring to Empire, the television series on Fox in America where Naomi plays a fashion designer, Camilla Marks - "is a different dynamic, because they think you're the character that you are on television," she laughs. There's no love lost," Naomi says, meaning it literally. That's not in your hands." In a 1994 documentary about models and international fame, Christy Turlington claimed that the spotlight was only really ever on her at fashion shows when she walked down the ramp, and that she could freely walk down the street at home. So, I think, it wasn't just for myself - it was for everybody in recovery to have their anonymity and be able to go and take care of themselves. I think recovery is a very healthy thing." Naomi says she was actually "smiling and happy" in the Daily Mirror photographs in which she was papped coming out of a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in London. But the High Court then ruled in my favour." Did it set your recovery back? A lot of people told me not to fight it, but I thought it was wrong. And I think people have a bit more respect for recovery now. It's almost like we shouldn't be looking at it." How did it make you feel when you saw that picture of Aylan Kurdi? Can you remember the moment you became Naomi The Supermodel? I was with Linda, Christy, Cindy [Crawford], Stephanie [Seymour], Tatjana [Patitz].
No, because I had great support from my family and my friends. even yesterday, looking at that picture of that little boy on the beach in Turkey. It became one of fashion's most enduring images of the supermodels. "It's too easy to say that," Naomi says, now meaning racism.
My mother is not a believer in not finishing something off. I wanted to." Did you ever regret not pursuing that? I love to go to theatre and stuff in New York; ballet; and when I was in Moscow," says Naomi - who lived in Russia with then-boyfriend, Russian entrepreneur Vladislav Doronin - "I went to the Bolshoi ballet, like, every week, but no, it is a really hard job. Or I go to a friend's house." "It's fine," she continues, "I don't have any complaints or regrets." I read a very honest interview where you said you would never blame anyone for the mistakes you made. I have been in the public eye since I have been in my teens.
"I think I've always known that - that everyone is going to think what they want to think of you - but also when you're a model, you put yourself out there to be looked at. "When I'm not working, I do maintain a private life." Naomi adds that when she walks into a restaurant, she knows "what to expect. So if I don't want to go to a restaurant and be stared at, I have dinner at home. I'm still a work in progress." But when you were in that work-in-progress, in recovery, it was all over the tabloids .
Some of us in the non-fashion world got our first glimpse of Naomi as a horizontal hussy in Madonna's Sex book in 1992. " Did Madonna talk you through the whole concept for the book? Just my part." Naomi was pictured having a simulated menage a trois with Madonna and the rapper Big Daddy Kane. It is about eating and food and what's good for what part of the body and the brain and stuff like that." I chance my arm with a question. Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran." What kind of music would you get up and dance to in a club? I like rhythm and bass." Didn't you do a song with Gavin Friday?
"I have great memories of doing the Madonna book," she recalls. "I posted a picture for her birthday from the book recently! To some, the images were akin to pornography; to others, they moved things on in terms of how sex and sexuality were viewed. If I am jet-lagged and I can't sleep, it's the worst." I have this perception of you that you live on planes. You talked on Oprah about having an abandonment issue (Naomi never knew her father)? "Gavin did my whole album," she corrects me, referring to Baby Woman, the 1995 album that Dublin-born arthouse singer Gav produced. We speak regularly." (There is a story - possibly apocryphal, but beautiful anyway, and worth retelling here - that Naomi, Bono and Gavin Friday sang We Are The Champions by Queen at Mr Friday's 1992 wedding in the Clarence Hotel.) Would you do more music? Just like a quick guest appearance, like on Quincy Jones's The Secret Garden. But I don't know if I have the time to do another album." What's your singing voice like? "I think everybody should try something; if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but at least they can say they tried. "I like the element of surprise." There is nothing psychologically you would like to learn about yourself?
" You are a great advertisement for a kebab, Naomi, I say to her. " she roars with laughter, adding that she also has certain memories of the nights out with Adam, U2 and Gavin Friday and the gang, in Mr Pussy's Cafe De Luxe in Dublin. The last is because, in September, Naomi was announced by Newbridge Silverware as the glorious new face of its brand for the next two years. The sort of lasting, exalted fame that Naomi enjoys is difficult to contextualise, other than to say that there are very few people in the world who wouldn't recognise Naomi Campbell. As Vanity Fair magazine put it, how well do you really know Naomi?