Naomi Campbell has never been the face of a beauty brand. Just take that in. Even though she’s one of the most successful supermodels in the world and worked with everyone from Versace to Burberry, a big make-up contract just hasn’t happened… until now.
NARS Cosmetics has cast Campbell as the face of its Radiance Repowered range from January 2019.
"Naomi is a living icon and brings such strong personality to the camera," says creator of the brand, François Nars. "She and I are like family. I have known her since the very beginning of her career. From the start, I have admired her, her beauty, and her style."
It’s a big milestone for Campbell, who’s long been vocal about discrimination in the industry. Last year she spoke to the Evening Standard about never modelling for a big beauty brand: "People say, ‘Oh you’ve got beautiful skin’ and yet I’ve never done one." When asked why this is, the writer notes: "She gives me a look that says, ‘You know why.’"
At 48 years old, Campbell has been smashing boundaries since the beginning of her career. In honour of this breakthrough, we’ve taken a look back at her career and beauty evolution.
Campbell’s first media appearance was at the age of seven, when she appeared in Bob Marley’s music video for Is This Love. Her modelling career began when she was discovered in London’s Covent Garden at 15 years old.
Her rise to the top was swift – before she even turned 16 she was on the cover of Elle magazine. Campbell was fresh-faced, with straight, long brown hair (and even longer legs).
As one of the few models of colour at the time, she was up against a lot of challenges and managed to achieve huge accomplishments – she was the first black model to grace the cover of French Vogue in 1988.
The supermodel era
Campbell’s real breakthrough came in the 1990s, which became known as the supermodel era. Along with Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Kate Moss, Campbell formed a squad of top ‘supers’.
In terms of beauty, Campbell experimented with various hairstyles during this time, ranging from shoulder-length locks to a bob and variations of a fringe. Her career went from strength to strength as she worked with some of the biggest names in fashion, from Versace to Vivienne Westwood.
By the Noughties, Campbell was a bonafide supermodel, and it was at this time she started looking outside of fashion. In 2005 she founded Fashion for Relief – a charity which organises huge-scale fashion shows to raise money for worthy causes like Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake.
Campbell’s beauty evolution matched this. She went more sophisticated with her hair and make-up. In general, Campbell uses subtle make-up, which helps emphasise her features and glowing skin.
In recent years, Campbell has had something of a reputation overhaul. In the 90s and Noughties she became notorious for her temper. However, she’s put this behind her and now when she hits the headlines it tends to be for her charity work or efforts to expose discrimination in the fashion and beauty industries.
When Edward Enninful became the new editor of British Vogue last year, one of his first moves was to appoint Campbell as contributing editor – who immediately criticised the lack of diversity at the company.
In terms of beauty, Campbell has well and truly gone back to the beginnings of her career. By this, we mean she’s back to her old favourite long, straight hair. Every so often we’ll see Campbell mixing it up a bit – maybe adding a fringe or a bold red lip.
We can’t wait to see what else 2019 brings for her.