Even with over 500 magazine covers, numerous designer brand campaigns from Prada to Chanel and countless runway shows, Naomi Campbell has no plans to end her 28-year modeling career.
Campbell, 45, discusses the fashion industry’s ignorance toward using models of color, in a new video interview series called Subjective, which traces the history of contemporary fashion photography. She feels it’s her duty to fight for equal representation.
“I don’t even like to use the word racism. I call it more territorial-ism, where they just don’t want to budge. They don’t want to change their ideal and be more open-minded to just booking a beautiful girl regardless of color,” she told photographer Nick Knight.
Campbell notes that in all 2014 runway shows only 6.8% of models were of color. She believes it is her and other seasoned models’ responsibility to talk about this lack of diversity.
“We have nothing to lose now. But the babies, we don’t want them to speak … So let us do the talking,” she explained.
Campbell, who first started modeling at 15 years old, doesn’t plan on retiring until the issue is addressed.
“I didn’t work 28 years for it to be a trend. That’s one of the things that keeps me wanting to work. I can’t duck out yet; I feel I still have to represent.”
Campbell, alongside model Iman and fashion activist Bethann Hardison, has been working as a part of the campaign “Balance Diversity,” which notes how many models of color were used in every runway show that occurs.
It’s not about pointing fingers, she explains. It’s about people not being aware or understanding that there is a problem.
“Some [designers] have gone backwards, not using black girls at all,” says Campbell. “It’s a conversation that has to be had.”
Check out the full interview below: