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Naomi Campbell Called ‘Angry Person’ in Weird, Combative Interview with the UK’s Channel 4

Image: WENN

Image: WENN

A few days ago, Naomi Campbell was tasked with defending both herself and the growing campaign demanding more runway diversity in a bizarre, combative interview with UK broadcaster Channel 4 News. 

Most of the time, it's refreshing to see a journalist at a major network challenge a big name subject, but in this case, the program's host seemed determined to get a rise out of Campbell.

It started with the opening question, which insinuated that the supermodel's success delegitimizes her claims that the fashion industry isn't racially inclusive:

Channel 4: Are you essentially accusing the industry you've done very well in, of being racist?

Naomi Campbell: No, I'm saying the act of not choosing models of color is racist. We're not calling them racist, we're saying the act is racist. And I'm also saying that they may not intentionally know, but they do choose. They hire casting directors, they hire stylists — now they are the ones that choose the models, not so much the designer anymore. So it's not necessarily the designer, but it does affect their house and their brand.

Then this exchange:

C4: You're a world famous supermodel. Why can't you go up to… Victoria Beckham —

NC: Who says I haven't?

C4: What does Victoria Beckham say?

NC: I haven't gone up to Victoria Beckham. But I have gone up to designers I am friendly with and said, "Hey, why are you not using more models of color?"

C4: And what do they say? Your friends?

NC: "We want to, you're right, you're right." But it doesn't happen. 

Asked whether she is particularly invested in how London Fashion Week handles diversity, given her own background as a Brit, Cambell deflects: "I'm not pointing at one country, we're pointing at the fashion industry as whole."

The exchange continues:

C4: But you're naming Alexander McQueen, you're naming Mulberry. You've named Victoria Beckham. 

NC: Yes, because they haven't used any models of color!

The interviewer doesn't back off, asking the supermodel whether being involved with the "blood diamonds" controversy might discredit her current campaign:

NC: I don't care what people think about me, they're allowed to have their opinion about me. But what they cannot fault me on is my job. And this is my business — fashion — this is what I'm in, and this is what I see. 

C4: You have a reputation, rightly or wrongly, for being quite an angry person. 

NC: I'm not here to talk about me, I'm here to talk about Balance Diversity. So I think I will finish here as I need to get to my set and finish my TV show. 

C4: Let me finish my question. I just wondered if there's a good anger and a bad anger, and if this is actually a good anger to have. 

NC: I'm not angry. And I don't like the thing of "the angry black woman" either. This is not what this is about. You asked to interview me because we've done very nice interviews in America. And you want to know what it's all about. We are passionate. And feeling passionate about something doesn't mean you have to be angry. 

The full interview:

RelatedAndré Leon Talley: ‘It’s Not the Designer That’s Racist, It’s the System That’s Racist’