Naomi Campbell may not have been interested in modeling when she was scouted in London’s Covent Garden at the age of 15. But the ballerina hopeful, with legs that make up “three quarters of her body,” as the stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele once said, took to it like a pro. Within a year, she was posing for Steven Meisel, dining at her “papa” Azzedine Alaïa’s house in Paris, sharing a New York apartment with Christy Turlington, and embarking on a high-flying career that has been marked by iconic images and more than a little drama. In Naomi Campbell (Taschen, out early next year), a two-volume monograph spectacularly packaged in a bust of her likeness by the British sculptor Allen Jones, the fashion legend recounts through words and photographs her extraordinary life—or most of it, anyway. Less-glamorous moments, like her assaults on both her personal assistant and her housekeeper with cell phones and her testimony before a war crimes tribunal at the trial of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor (alleged to have given her blood diamonds) have been glossed over. But, then, la Campbell, who returned this season to the hit show Empire as the conniving cougar Camilla Marks, is nowhere near done with her story.
Photos: Body of Work
One of her first shoots, with Jamie Morgan. Courtesy of the photographer.
By Ellen von Unwerth, for Stern, 2010. Courtesy of photographer.
By von Unwerth, for Vogue, 1996. Courtesy of the photographer.
By Simon Harris, for i-D, 2008. Courtesy of the photographer.
Her upcoming book. Courtesy of Taschen.