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The Face’s Naomi Campbell: “I Am Different. I Am Before Tyra.”

Last night, stars Naomi CampbellCoco RochaKarolina Kurkova and the artist formerly known as America's Next Top DreamhunkNigel Barker came out for a red carpet event celebrating their new Oxygen Media modeling showThe Face.

The first episode of the seven-part season will air next week on February 12. The format pits Campbell, Rocha and Kurkova against each other as model coaches, competing to see who can better mentor young women hoping to carve out careers in the modeling industry. "Helping people" is not commonly the stuff of competition, so kudos The Face!

The show's competition occurs on two levels: 1) Twelve contestants compete along the conventional reality modeling show lines of, I don't know, challenges and eliminations in hopes of becoming America's next top model the "next supermodel," as the PR copy puts it and winning an ULTA campaign; 2) The three modeling industry icons test/display their mentorship skillz.

This format is one of the main reasons why, when asked how she would differentiate The Face from America's Next Top Model and herself from Tyra Banks during a publicity conference call on Monday, Campbell thought there shouldn't even be a comparison:

I am different. I am before Tyra and I have a lot of respect for Tyra and what she’s done with America’s Next Top Model and taking it all over the world and what she’s done for young women out there who want to be in the fashion industry. I don’t like to compare anything that I do. This show is a completely different type of format. I’ve not really watched it.

Campbell doesn't like to compare anything she does, but Nigel Barker's role as host of The Face will make it difficult to set aside the comparisons. The photographer owes his celebrity primarily to an eighteen season/nine year tenure as a judge on ANTM, but was fired last year as part of a big rebranding effort. His departure had many longtime viewers (like this one) pledging to never watch America's Next Top Model again. If The Face's contract with the former ANTM judge was an attempt to woo disappointed former fans of Tyra's I-guess-let's-call-it-pioneering modeling competition, it's not a bad move — but it does make the comparison mandatory. 

Image via WENN