Naomi Campbell describes her days as fashion industry’s ‘token’ Black model

Naomi Campbell (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Naomi Campbell has slammed some fashion shows for making her “the token” Black model.

The 49-year-old supermodel didn’t name the shows in question but said she felt “uncomfortable” in the past when she was the only Black model in a “show of 70 girls,” as she felt she couldn’t turn the down the show because then “there’d be none.”

Speaking during the WSJ. Magazine at WSJ Tech Live event on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, she said: “I’m not gonna call people out and I have to believe that everybody is coming from a good place. We’ll discover as we go along — we will know who is doing it for the token and who is doing it for real.

“I know what it’s like to be the token, and it wasn’t a good feeling to have to always be the only Black model in a show of 70 girls. It was uncomfortable. I didn’t like it. So, if I said no, there’d be none. It was a rock between a hard place.”

The beauty is no stranger to speaking out against racial discrimination, as she recently claimed she was barred from a hotel because of the color of her skin.

Campbell alleged she wasn’t let into the hotel in the south of France, which she chose not to name, as a guard said it was full but she later saw others being allowed in.

She told Paris Match: “The word ‘diversity‘ is everywhere today, but it did not exist when I started. I’ve always wanted people to be treated equally. I was recently in a city in the South of France, where I was invited to participate in an event in a hotel whose name I will not mention. They did not want to let my friend and I in because of the color of my skin. The guy at the entrance pretended that the place was full, but he was letting other people in. It is for these kinds of revolting moments that I will continue to speak up and make myself heard.”

Campbell previously revealed how the prejudice she has faced has fueled her career success.

She explained: “I was told many times that I couldn’t do certain things because of the color of my skin. I let it drive me. And of course I’m human, and I found it hard at times not to take it personally. But I stand here today as a proud woman of color, and I will continue to push for diversity and equality in this industry.”



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