As a trailblazer for Black women in the modeling industry, Naomi Campbell has seen her fair share of discrimination, which she’s often talked about. But this time she recalled a specific time when she experienced racism at a hotel.
Campbell said the hotel is in the south of France, and someone wouldn’t let her or her friend in. And this didn’t happen in her younger years of modeling, she experienced it not too long ago.
“The word ‘diversity’ is everywhere today, but it did not exist when I started,” she told Paris Match magazine. “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.”
Campbell said the hotel worker then gave a flimsy excuse as to why she and her friend were denied entry, but it was easy for her to see through it. And it’s those kinds of moments that motivates the 49-year-old to speak out against racial discrimination whenever she sees it.
“The guy at the entrance pretended that the place was full, but he was letting other people in,” she explained. “It is for these kinds of revolting moments that I will continue to speak up and make myself heard.”
Campbell has addressed racism and a lack of diversity in modeling many times. In January of this year, for example, she spoke to BBC Newsnight and said while certain improvements have been made, a lot more needs to happen.
“To see more than one woman of color on a magazine cover is a big deal but it really shouldn’t be,” she stated. “It’s not a trend.”
And in 2017 she posted a photo of British Vogue’s editorial staff before editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman stepped down, which didn’t show one person of color.
“She needs to look at that picture and see that it’s clearly not diverse,” Campbell told BBC Newsnight regarding Shulman. “A child could see that.”
Campbell also launched a campaign called Diversity Coalition in 2013 to tackle racism in the modeling industry head-on.