Naomi Campbell condemns magazine’s ‘whitewashed’ London

The supermodel said diversity in fashion and advertising has improved but there is more to be done.

Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell has revealed her shock at seeing an issue of Hello! magazine that she said presented a “completely whitewashed” London.

The supermodel said diversity in fashion and advertising has improved but that progress has come late and there is more to be done.

The catwalk queen spoke ahead of an appearance at the One Young World (OYW) summit closing ceremony, an organisation she said is needed now more than ever in a divided political world.

In an interview with the Press Association on Saturday in The Hague she said: “I picked up a Hello! magazine today and if I was not from London I would think ‘My god, London is completely whitewashed’.

“That’s what it sells you, it’s awful.

“London is one of the most diverse cities and cosmopolitan cities in the world and we have a huge diversity of people.”

Of the magazine, which had been in her hotel room, she said: “I was shocked. I was just like ‘wow’.”

Campbell credited her friend Edward Enninful, who took over as editor of British Vogue last year, with helping to bring about change in the industry.

She said: “It’s (his editorship) uniting a whole different culture of people and innovations, and young people coming together and speaking out and I hope that it continues, it will continue to stay that way, not going back.”

Campbell, who began modelling as a young teen, said while she is an optimistic person, change with regard to diversity in fashion has been a long time coming.

She said: “I’m more the person that will say better late than never – but it’s late.”

She added: “This season was a great improvement, and when I say great improvement, not just in fashion shows, in seeing diversity in advertisement.”

OYW, a global gathering of young leaders, will take place in London next year after the UK’s planned departure from the EU, timing Campbell described as “perfect”.

She said bringing young people together from across the world to share ideas and work for change is “fantastic”.

“I think it’s the perfect time if we do go through with it (Brexit),” she said.

“I’m not going to go into politics, I never do. But I just feel that it’s a very important time for everyone to be united together on a platform like this. And I think it’s wonderful that they (young people) have a place that they can come and view their opinions, share their stories, their strengths, their hopes and see what other peers come on board with them.”

Addressing this year’s delegates, gathered in The Hague’s Circustheater, Campbell said she had faced many obstacles as a young black model.

She said: “I’ve always welcomed challenges in my career and I faced my share of battles as a woman of colour.

“It’s been a challenge to receive fair recognition and to shape the waves of change, not just for myself but for everyone.”

Campbell, who will attend next year’s summit in her home city, told the young leaders: “You are one of the change-makers, of the true change-makers, you are one of the most valuable resources there are.”

She added: “Do not let the voices of doubt put out your fire. Build up your peers, invite others to join your mission.”

The annual summit, which has previously featured speakers including Meghan Markle, before she became the Duchess of Sussex, will celebrate its 10-year anniversary next year.

It brings together young people from across 196 countries who are already making efforts to tackle issues ranging from climate change to conflict resolution, and human rights to diversity.

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