Happy birthday to supermodel Naomi Campbell, who turns 42 today and is still one of the most in demand faces within the industry. Naomi’s career is legendary not just because of her phenomenal accomplishments (there isn’t a campaign she hasn’t booked or a runway she hasn’t walked) but also because of the series of ground she broke, not just for herself but for models of color everywhere. Take a look back at some of our favorite Naomi moments from her 20 years in the industry.
1988 – THE 1ST
As a true trailblazer Naomi was not only the very first black model to appear on the cover of Vogue Paris, she was also the first to land a spot on the cover of American Vogue‘s coveted September issue.
1994 – PRADA
Not to mention the very first black model to appear in ads for Prada, also one of the few to ever set foot on the mega-brand’s runways. Fashion historians will note that it took 10 years for another black model to grace the Prada catwalk.
90s – THE TRINITY
The iconic faces of a generation; along with friends Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, Naomi owned the 90s runways. More than just a group of besties, the trio banded together with Evangelista and Turlington refusing to do shows unless Naomi walked alongside them.
1989 & 2008 – YSL
As a mentor, friend and supporter, Yves Saint Laurent was an important part of Campbell’s success. “He was the one who campaigned to put me on the cover on French Vogue and I was the first woman of color to be on the cover — that was because of him. He was so supportive of me. Not just for me, for women of color everywhere.”
1992 – THE KING OF POP MEETS THE QUEEN OF MODELS
We know the George Michael Freedom video is another fashion milestone, but only one supermodel shared the dancefloor with the King of Pop!! Jackson’s In the Closet video, directed by Herb Ritts, shows two enduring talents at the top of their game.
1993 – VERSACE
Richard Avedon‘s Versace ads are modern classics and Naomi’s history with the house is well documented, from her friendship with Donatella & Gianni to her numerous appearances on the Versace runway.
2003 – CHANGE CLOTHES
A decade later and still serving it up in memorable music videos, this time for Jay-Z and Pharrell.
2007 – THE NAOMI DIARIES
Could most models turn their community service into one of the best fashion editorials of the year? The answer is no.
2008 – DREAM A LITTLE DREAM
2009 – SO GOUDE
Jean Paul Goude + Naomi is a winning combination, especially when recreating one of his classic Grace Jones images with the help of Marc Jacobs.
2010 – PUSHING BOUNDARIES
Never one to be afraid of controversy, Naomi has appeared in countless editorials that push the limits, most recently her Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott story in Interview was an especially striking example.