Naomi Campbell Recounts “Revolting” Racist Treatment At A Hotel In France
Naomi Campbell has spoken out about the need for diversity in the fashion industry on numerous occasions. Now, the model has told how she was subjected to “revolting” racist treatment at a hotel in France during the Cannes Film Festival in May.
“I was recently in a town in the south of France, while the Cannes Film Festival was going on, where I was invited to take part in an event in a hotel that will remain nameless,” she told the French publication Paris Match, after being asked about diversity within the industry. “They did not want to let us come in, my friend and me, because of the colour of our skin. This guy at the door made out that the place was full, but he was letting other people in.”
Campbell continued: “It’s because of revolting moments like this one that I’ll continue to express myself and make myself heard. The word diversity is everywhere today, but it didn’t exist when I started. I always wanted to be treated equally. Don’t believe that goes without saying – the challenge is constant.”
Earlier this year, Campbell spoke candidly about experiencing racism in the industry since starting out as a young model. “I used to have to fight for the same fee as my [white] counterparts doing the same job,” she said during the Condre Nast Luxury Conference in Cape Town. Thankfully, fellow models and friends Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington actively called out such treatment – and risked “jeopardising their own careers” – by insisting designers “who were not into even thinking of using a model of colour at that time” did so. If it hadn’t been for them, Campbell would never have been cast in their shows.
Things may be improving within the industry – brands such as Gucci, Chanel and Prada have all implemented diversity initiatives to create change across the board – but a lot of work is still to be done. “It’s still not balanced completely. I’m the face of a new campaign and I was told that because of the colour of my skin a certain country would not use my picture,” she recently told Vogue. “For me it was a reality check. I never believe in the hype, so it just kept things in perspective for me. Now I would like to know that models [of colour] get the same opportunities and fees in advertising.”