Blast from the Past: Naomi Moments

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.


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.”


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.


A decade later and still serving it up in memorable music videos, this time for Jay-Z and Pharrell.


Could most models turn their community service into one of the best fashion editorials of the year? The answer is no.


You have to love Mario Sorrenti‘s images of Naomi for V Magazine.

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.


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.

  1. i know her since iam 5,6year old…i saw her last year, age 25… a dream come true…the most legendary model of all time…happy birthday Naomi

  2. I’ve never seen that JPG photo before. Its exquisite. Queen Omi is a formidable model but in the change clothes video Omahyra Mota overshadows everyone. True facts.

  3. I’ve never seen that JPG photo before. Its exquisite. Queen Omi is a formidable model but in the change clothes video Omahyra Mota overshadows everyone. True facts. @marty, she’s an inspiration to a lot of models, black or otherwise (see Karlie trying, and failing, to replicate her walk)

  4. the era of Naomi Campbell, there was a real diversity in the passes. since the beginning of 2000, fashion is more than ever supremacist, the rule is in place for “a single black model” is applied to the diversity of 90 ‘s to completely disappeared. the models are all black sucesss biracial or type “clear eyes, hair smooth clear skin. easier to work with makeup and hairstyles.” .
    girls in black complexion are only one season, they eventually disappear because of lack of work. The only positive of his last years are the next massive Asian models.

    and congratulations to Naomi Campbell to give an overview of black beauty

  5. i remember seeing naomi on the cover of UK/Harpers Bazaar (in what turned out to be a fur editorial)and thinking “finally”.I recall being excited and showing it to two close friends that were stylist at the time and them saying she would never make it.It was the eighties and black america’s idea of a model was a light skinned almost blue-eyed vanessa williams meets lisa Bonet type .I also recall the same friends a year later practically screaming when she walked in to do there Essence shoot.She was all legs and grace.Three years later when we worked with her at Sportswear International -a shoot she did as a favor for the same stylist-for they had grown close as friends.Whenever i met Naomi Campbell she was always a balance between polite and professional and i was “just” an assistant.Thanks to all the ladies from China to Beth-ann to Naomi who perseveer in an industry thats given to ignorance
    Happy Birthday Omi

  6. Naomi you are absolutely a beauty and an artist. I love you work. You have inspired many women in my family. In addition you have inspired me to be the best model that I can be, despite the negativity of race in the industry. You challenged yourselves and those around you to see you, the artist. You defy stereotype and chose not to play that game. I love you. Happy Birthday Queen Naomi.



  7. One thing that I love about Naomi, she always looks health, something rare in this industry.

  8. Happy Belated Bday to the Icon and Queen of the Supermodels! Many more to come and thanxs for such a Awesome retrospect!

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