Supermodel and actress Naomi Campbell was born May 22, 1970, in London, England. The daughter of a Jamaican-born dancer and unnamed father, Naomi Campbell attended Dunraven School and the London Academy for Performing Arts as a youngster.
She studied at Italia Conti Academy stage school and appeared in music videos for Bob Marley and Culture Club before signing with Synchro modeling agency at age 15.
One of the world’s most renowned supermodels, Naomi Campbell was the first black woman to appear on the covers of French and British Vogue and the first black model to appear on the cover of Time.
While the exquisitely exotic leggy supermodel began her career on the catwalk, she quickly segued to high-profile advertising campaigns for such fashion icons as Ralph Lauren and Francois Nars. Naomi Campbell has also posed for more erotic fare, including Playboy magazine and Madonna’s book Sex.
In addition to modeling, Campbell has pursued acting and music careers, the latter of which has been particularly successful in Japan. Her singing career peaked with the hit “Love and Tears.” Though her debut album Baby Woman sold over 1 million copies, it was a critical flop.
Campbell has appeared in several music videos and films, including Cool As Ice and Miami Rhapsody. She is the co-author of the novel Swan and has published a self-titled photo book. An ambitious businesswoman, Naomi Campbell has created two spin-off companies, NC Connect and a perfume line.
In 2002, Naomi Campbell was involved in a high-profile lawsuit with London’s Daily Mirror over the publishing of photos of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. After several appeals, the court ruled in Campbell’s favor.
With a reputation for a quick temper, Campbell has been arrested and sued for committing acts of physical violence and verbal abuse. In June 2008, she pleaded guilty to assaulting two police officers during an “air rage” disturbance on a plane at London’s Heathrow airport. In January 2007, Campbell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor “reckless assault” for throwing her cell phone at her maid in a dispute over a missing pair of jeans. She spent five days mopping floors at a New York City warehouse, covered the maid’s medical expenses and was ordered to attend a two-day anger-management program.
In 2000, she pleaded guilty to a similar attack on an employee in Canada. Her assistant claimed Campbell threw a mobile phone at her and threatened to throw her out of a moving car. Campbell paid the assistant an undisclosed sum and agreed to attend anger management” classes.
Naomi Campbell has been linked with such high-profile love interests as Mike Tyson, Robert De Niro, Usher and Flavio Briatore. She is active in promoting the welfare of children in Africa and has worked with Nelson Mandela since 1997.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell took the stand against former Liberian President Charles Taylor Thursday, after it was revealed that Campbell received raw “blood diamonds” from the leader as a gift in 1997. Prosecutors are hoping to use Campbell’s testimony to prove that Taylor handled these uncut diamonds while serving as Liberia’s president, thus igniting a brutal civil war in Sierra Leone.
In a previous court case, Taylor denied charges of trafficking the precious stones. With no evidence, the case was closed in February 2009. However, word of new testimony from Campbell caused the courts to reopen the case. Campbell told the tribunal that she received a gift of “dirty-looking stones” after returning to her hotel following a dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela in 1997. She said two men knocked on her door and handed her a pouch, saying simply “A gift for you.” The men said nothing about themselves or from whom the gift came. The supermodel said she didn’t know if the stones were diamonds or not, and wasn’t sure that the gift actually came from Taylor.
The next morning, Campbell said she opened the pouch and saw a few “very small, dirty-looking stones.” She told the special court that, afterward, she gave the stones to Jeremy Ratcliffe, the director of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. Campbell said she called Ratcliffe a year ago to find out what he had done with the diamonds. At the time, she said, Ratcliffe told her he still had them. Mandela’s charity, however, said this week that it did not receive the diamonds.
Campbell was reluctant to cooperate with prosecutors until last month, when legal officials ordered her to appear in court, or face up to seven years for contempt. Asked why she did not wish to appear before the tribunal, the model said she was afraid to be linked in any way to Taylor. “This is someone that I read up on the Internet that killed thousands of people supposedly and I don’t want my family in any danger in any way,” Campbell said.