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Interview With Naomi Campbell

Aired December 7, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive, super model Naomi Campbell. Her drug problems took her from the cover of fashion magazines to the front pages of the tabloids and then the catwalk queen took the press to the court and, boy what a battle that's been. She's sure not hard to look at and she's here for the hour and she's next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
Thanks for joining us. Private lives turned into public fodder, celebrities expected, they usually accept it as part of the price of fame. But when Britain's "Daily Mirror" reported about Naomi Campbell's drug problem, the world-renowned super model thought they went too far and sued for invasion of privacy.

In March, a British high court ruled in her favor. She won and shortly after that, Naomi gave us her first U.S. TV interview about her lawsuit victory. An appeal by the "Daily Mirror" was pending when we talked. Since our sit-down with Naomi, the "Mirror's" appeal was upheld and Naomi's case was thrown out. Naomi has decided to go to the House of Lords to try and get her case reinstated and we're still waiting to find out what happens there. Now that we've brought you up to date, here's the interview with Naomi Campbell, and I begin by asking why she filed the suit in the first place.


NAOMI CAMPBELL, MODEL: I think for me this particular incident was something that I found to be not just a focus on me, myself, Naomi. It was about everybody. It's something that everybody who has a problem like I had needs to go to and needs to take care of themselves, and I found it to be really intrusive and to be very negative when doing something that's good to help myself.

KING: So, simply put you had an addition. You were seeking help and they took pictures of you leaving the place that you -

CAMPBELL: Yes, the type that they put with it was completely nothing to do with what doing something that's good for yourself, what the type that was next to it made it look like something bad so someone reading it would say, oh my God, I don't want to go seek help because this is what's going to happen to me.

KING: What did they presume? What were they presuming?

CAMPBELL: Well, they just made up a whole story. It then got very childish and immature in terms of calling me chocolate cookie soldier, which is taking remarks about my skin color and my family, and I think -

KING: The "Daily Mirror" is a popular tabloid in London, is it?

CAMPBELL: Yes, it's a tabloid I guess that everybody buys. It's not one of the ones that I would ever read. In fact, I don't read newspapers any longer.

KING: When it was shown to you, do you remember your first reaction?

CAMPBELL: My first reaction was really just shock and really distrust in everything, in everyone around me, and everything because going to something that was doing and is and still does do a great deal of good for me and learning about something that I had an allergy to was something positive, the right thing to do. I would never think that I would have to pick up and see something in the way they put that.

KING: Had they treated it -- had they said Naomi Campbell leaving drug center on her way to recovery, trying to -


KING: You would have felt differently?

CAMPBELL: No because it wasn't that. I was leaving a meeting which is ...

KING: Just a meeting?

CAMPBELL: Just a meeting, yes.

KING: And had they talked to you or tried to get you to...

CAMPBELL: No, never.

KING: They never tried to do that?

CAMPBELL: No. In fact, what's really funny is I remember there was someone who called once to my agent and they said oh we're not going to run a story because the editor is disgusted by it because he also is in the program. So, I mean you know it's any (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It doesn't discriminate.

KING: Was it tough though? Because you realize when you sue, I don't know the rules in England, you have to do depositions?


KING: And you can be cross questioned right about anything in your life?

CAMPBELL: I was and it wasn't tough at all because beyond the stand you're asking me, was that tough? Yes, but with the passion that I had for me and for the others to have the right to be able to go to a meeting in privacy, it wasn't difficult for me. The only difficulty was when they would bring up, the opposition would bring up other things that had nothing to do with what we were there to talk and discuss and just took the reason I was there for. So, they were trying to dig more into my private life, which is what I was taking the stand for. So, on certain things like that and the questions that they gave to me, yes it was tough.

KING: Did you have friends say forget about it Naomi? It will go away. It's last week's rag.

CAMPBELL: Yes, I did and a lot of my friends who are in the same program as I were very much supportive, and the most important thing they said to me is do not let this interfere with what you have to do in taking car of yourself. That was the most important thing. So really, I just put it in the hands of the lawyers and trusted them and they all were very amazing. My whole counsel were amazing.

KING: Do you feel better for having done it?

CAMPBELL: I feel I did the right thing. I don't regret, I kind of afterwards when even though I got the verdict, I kind of felt a little down.

KING: Why?

CAMPBELL: I don't know. I felt just, I don't know, obsessed. It was such a buildup to waiting for this date to arrive.

KING: And it was a post reaction?

CAMPBELL: Yes, it was like a post reaction and I then since have gotten on my life and I'm enjoying each day. I live day by day.

KING: What rights do public people have to privacy? It's debated forever.

CAMPBELL: It's debated forever. I just believe in terms of medical rights, going to the doctor, whether it's finding out you're pregnant, I think people have the right to keep that to themselves until they want to come out publicly and say so. I mean I have lots of friends who don't ever want to say they're pregnant until a few months have gone by because you never know what they've had in the past, and I think it's the same -

KING: Their body, their business.

CAMPBELL: It's their body and say for instance it's their health. They have the right to keep their health private you know. And, I mean you know there's certain things that I do that I know it's public and I'm ready to go out there and I know before I even walk out the door that I've got to be in this frame of mind and that's fine. Just to say I'm not ashamed of what I've had to go through. Everybody goes through it in one way or another and I'm happy to be on this side of the wall than the other side of the wall.

KING: Are you happy to say also, or content to say it goes with the territory? CAMPBELL: Everyone's an individual. I'm not going to blame my business or anyone. There's no blame to be given to anyone about myself and I chose to fall into the hands and prey of something I've become allergic to, and I'm learning about and am in recovery about. But, I would never dare to blame anyone but me because no one forced me to do anything.

KING: It is an allergy, is it not?

CAMPBELL: It's an allergy.

KING: What are you allergic to?

CAMPBELL: I'm allergic to all substance abuse substances.

KING: Starting with liquor?

CAMPBELL: Liquor. That just makes me feel everything but my real self. It makes me not give my true emotions, so.

KING: So you can't take anything?


KING: Did you discover this early on?

CAMPBELL: I discovered it in time for me, my time.

KING: Because a lot of people who have it don't admit it.

CAMPBELL: Yes, well I -- that's the thing I think out of all of what's happened in this case is that I'm not living in denial anymore. I'm not living with having to look behind my shoulder who's going to tell. I have a clear conscience because I'm dealing with my life and I'm loving my life today.

KING: Do you think you or will you always say I am an addict and I work at it day to day?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely, that's the way that I live my live, day by day.

KING: Are you tempted?

CAMPBELL: No, I have amazing people around me and I'm in sometimes dangerous situations at parties.

KING: At a bar.

CAMPBELL: A party or bar. When I say dangerous situations, I'll explain that, meaning once I had some Aqualibra and Aqualibra looks like wine so the waiter didn't know and he came and poured wine into my glass and I went to pick it up and then I just looked at him for just a split second because everything changes. You become so much more clear and focused, and I went did you put wine in there? And he said yes, you're drinking wine, aren't you, and I said no. This is Aqualibra and I said you know what the best thing is just bring the bottle on the table. Then we will know what it is.

KING: And you do believe had you taken that drink you might have gotten right back?

CAMPBELL: There's that risk.

KING: Possibility.

CAMPBELL: And that possibility and it's just I don't want that poisoning my system.

KING: My guest is one of the best known models in the world, Naomi Campbell. We'll be right back on LARRY KING LIVE. Stay right there.


KING: We're back with Naomi Campbell. What was the impact of the case upon your life?

CAMPBELL: On my life, it was I believe that it was something I needed to go through. Everyone has their path set out and this was mine. I think it's changed my life in a lot of ways in terms of my friends, in terms of things I do, things I say, the power of the word. I learned a lot of things. I mean ...

KING: You learned who's your friend and who's not right?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely. I mean the funny thing is that people that I know but not very close to were the people that were there for me. Of course, certain people that were very close to me have been very loyal and are still there but what happened was I think in cases like this people get like oh is it going to be a name calling thing? I would never. I've always been very loyal to whoever I know. That never passes my lips. It's just me on my own. I'm standing on my own and I'm doing this my way for me.

KING: How, Naomi, did you realize that you were an addictive person? Was there an event?

CAMPBELL: No, it was just many patterns in my life that I didn't like and the way I was and how I acted and my God, now I understand so many things, reasons for events that had happened in my life that just were not me. It was just acting out from substance abuse.

KING: Did any parent or grandparent have this problem?

CAMPBELL: Not that I know of, no.

KING: Because it can pass down.

CAMPBELL: It can be hereditary but I am not, I have not.

KING: It must be glorious to know that you've kind of controlled it. I mean the feeling, it's a victorious feeling. CAMPBELL: It's a really calming and centering feeling for me and like I wake up in the mornings about 6:00. I do my gym. I have a routine and I like it and even when I travel, I keep the routine. Before everything got unmanageable and I'd been saying yes to so many things and forgetting I said yes and not being able to be one person to be in so many places, it was impossible. So, I am managing my life the way I -

KING: You're 32 years old, right?


KING: How long were you using substances?

CAMPBELL: For about seven years.

KING: Were you able to work while using?

CAMPBELL: Yes, that was the scariest because I was functional, functional but not fooling anybody but myself.

KING: You mean you could be high and walk down the runway?

CAMPBELL: No, not that. I never did that. I never took the drugs before I walked on the runway because I was smart enough to know, see addicts are smart. We think we're smart. We have all the tricks that everyone ...

KING: Good at lying too.

CAMPBELL: Good at lying and mostly to ourselves.

KING: Yes, true.

CAMPBELL: I would know that if I did walk down the runway and the audience was so close, my eyes are everything so they'd be able to see, so I would never ...

KING: But you could do print photography, right?

CAMPBELL: No, I never did drugs when working.

KING: Never?


KING: So, if you were able to control it then, what let you lose it at night? We don't know, do we?

CAMPBELL: You think that you're invincible or you think, I don't know, I'm not quite sure what it is in the mind. The mind is such a powerful thing. It's very cunning and very baffling and it's like I have no idea. If I knew that, I think I wouldn't be an addict and I wouldn't be talking about it right now.

KING: Why did you become a model? CAMPBELL: That was kind of also another destiny thing that was in my path in my life because I didn't choose to become a model. I was studying to be a dancer. I started at three.

KING: Your mother was a dancer?

CAMPBELL: My mom was a dancer and I told her I wanted to do it too.

KING: Is she living?

CAMPBELL: My mother is living in London, yes.

KING: And your dad?

CAMPBELL: I don't know my real father but I've got two -- I've got three wonderful great men, one I think you know. One is Quincy Jones, who's like an amazing father figure to me.

KING: I passed him on the street yesterday.

CAMPBELL: You did?

KING: He cut me off.

CAMPBELL: And the other is Chris Blackwell and they have both taken the roles as my father and they both take it very seriously.

KING: Your mother never married?

CAMPBELL: I have a father, stepfather but they're divorced.

KING: So you never knew your father?


KING: That's missing something for a little girl, isn't it?

CAMPBELL: Yes, but I don't make that an excuse. I think if anything it made me more independent at an early age knowing mom was on her own taking care of me. It meant I had to sleep at the right times because mum had to go to work.

KING: When did you give up the dancing thing?

CAMPBELL: At 16 because I couldn't keep up the traveling becoming a model and ...

KING: Are you a good dancer?

CAMPBELL: I really adored it and I miss it and I've got this fear, which I'm hopefully going to break one day soon or going back to class just for a hobby, just to enjoy.

KING: How did you get into modeling?

CAMPBELL: Modeling, I was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in London.

KING: You were what?

CAMPBELL: In an area of London called (UNINTELLIGIBLE) garden.


CAMPBELL: And there's a lady called Beth Bolt (ph), who was a model herself for Ford in America. She came over to me, I was 14, handed me a card and said come and see me. You should be a model.

KING: You were 14?

CAMPBELL: Fourteen.

KING: You were tall?

CAMPBELL: I was lanky. They used to call me Olive Oil. I was very teased at school about my -- I was very skinny.

KING: Olive Oil, like the Olive Oil?

CAMPBELL: Olive and Popeye, yes. And, I went home to my mother extremely excited having to explain why I was coming so late because I took a detour home and my mother said no. She's like no way. She was pregnant with my brother at that point and she said no, I don't want you to do this. You've been training to be a dancer. I want you to do this and I thought that maybe after your exams we can see but not right now. I don't want you in that world and I was like OK, really disappointed.

I then after my exams kept the lady's card. I called her and I said can I come to see you after school and I snuck my mother's clothes out of her room and high heels and went to see her after school, got all dressed up and she said put back on your uniform. I'm going to take you upstairs and take your picture. So, I put back on my uniform. She took my upstairs, took the picture.

Then when the pictures came out, she sent me to "Elle" magazine and British "Elle," and the lady called us into chambers and a photographer called Martin Braden (ph) decided we're going to take her on a trip because an American model, Veronica (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has to cancel. So, I got to go on this trip.

KING: How old?

CAMPBELL: I was 15 and a half.

KING: More in a minute, the saga of Naomi Campbell, lots of areas to cover. We're just underway. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Naomi Campbell. All right, what about the stories that you were tough on people, abusive to people, been treated abusively and been abusive yourself, true? CAMPBELL: Probably true and at the place where I was at, at the time, as I said before I feel that that had a lot of influence on me to behave in that way.

KING: Drugs? You would be harmful to people, I mean verbally?

CAMPBELL: I wasn't verbally. I've always been someone I have to say that has stood up and said what I want or what I don't want and I'm not someone people can push into doing something. It depends on what it is. Sometimes people, if I said no I can't do something, a job or whatever it is, would call me the "B" word without even have met me just because they don't get what they want. But I don't really think there's one woman I know that tries to take hold of her life who's very strong. I mean I'm strong but I'm sensitive also on the other side. That doesn't ...

KING: Do you have a temper?

CAMPBELL: No longer. I've got my temper under control.

KING: That time the reports of that confrontation on that airplane, was that when you were in...

CAMPBELL: That was more again an intrusive feeling of we are on our way to do a charity benefit. I'm sleeping. I mean tell me if this is right. You're sleeping in first class or whatever class you travel and you're sleeping and someone comes and puts a camera in your fact because it's Larry King and they want to get you and to look in your hair to see what's what. Wouldn't you wake up and be a little upset?

KING: I'd be ticked. I'd be ticked. You were ticked?

CAMPBELL: I was ticked.

KING: And you caused a scene?

CAMPBELL: We tried to get the film back, yes.

KING: And you knew when you do something like that, one of the problems whenever that happens, if that happens, the person next to me, usually the wife, will say don't act crazy. The story is going to be about you.

CAMPBELL: Yes, and I again being the way I was ...

KING: It's still an invasion.

CAMPBELL: It is an invasion, lost my emotions I guess and behaved irrationally at that time.

KING: Tell me about Naomi Campbell and Johnny Versace.


KING: You were very close. CAMPBELL: Yes, and when I saw you and at that time Donatella was getting the award in Washington, but.

KING: This was a big night. Al Pacino went up into the Italian Hall of Fame.


KING: Donatella Versace got the award for Johnny and that's where you and I were together.


KING: We sat next together on the dais.

CAMPBELL: I miss him very much.

KING: What was special about him?

CAMPBELL: His honesty, his wit, his intelligence, very quick. He would read any magazine back to front. He knew everything about music but he didn't always say. I love that he was so discreet about things and very maternal. Like when I was really ill one time and he called up and said come to my house in Carmel in the country. I want you to rest and I was like oh my God. Johnny got on the phone and wants me to come. I said OK, I'm going to come.

He hadn't told me that he had plans for me to do the men's show, which I'd done before, but it was Maurice Bejar, the choreographer and I had to study ballet and I didn't -- and he said OK, you're going to do ballet with Maurice Bejar. We're going to do one day of rehearsal. I'm like there's no way. He's like yes, you're going to remember. It's going to be fine and I did that and it was amazing to work with such a wonderful choreographer.

KING: Where were you when he was killed?

CAMPBELL: On my way from Naples driving to Rome to be with his family to do a show, which I wasn't meant to be at because I was meant to be in South Africa doing something with Mr. Mandela and he had called up and asked if I could stay two days extra in Italy to be able to do this Bejar show for Johnny. I had not known that he wasn't going to be there. I thought he was in Rome. So, when I first got the phone call, I thought it was a joke.

KING: Who called you?

CAMPBELL: My publicist Desiree Gruba (ph) and the thing is the year previously in Italy, there was a joke that went around that Johnny was dead, so I ...


CAMPBELL: Yes, and so I took it as a joke and then when she called back and said no this is for real, I just remember everything went spinning. I was sick in the car. I had to stop the car. I just couldn't -- it was my family, part of my family because the last thing he said to me before, one of the last things he ever said to me was you're not just a model for me. You're like my family. You're like my sister and that's how Donatella and Santo and the whole family have always made me feel.

KING: Have you been in that house in Miami?

CAMPBELL: Yes, I have.

KING: In Miami Beach?

CAMPBELL: I've even slept in his bed because that's where he would tell me to sleep, and I learned a lot from him. He's been a guardian angel for me.

KING: Wear a lot of his clothes?

CAMPBELL: I do wear a lot of his clothes.

KING: Well you just did a show of Versace, right?

CAMPBELL: No, I didn't do -- I did Gaultier, Jean Paul Gaultier, but I was there in Paris. Actually, no I did -- what happened was for no reason, this negativity, it was just I couldn't do Versace anymore. I just, with him not being there, it was really different for me. I did it, I did about four shows after he died and then I decided I wanted to stop.

KING: What do they call it (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when they do it?

CAMPBELL: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) yes, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE). They have Versace do like six female shows a year and I made the decision on my own that I felt I'd rather just maintain a friendship and family ship or whatever we had that was special and keep that and keep the memories than to continue working for the House of Versace, and so that's the decision I made.

KING: We'll be back with Naomi Campbell. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Naomi Campbell. All right, what got you? You started young. Did you finish school?

CAMPBELL: Finished my exams.

KING: And then modeled as well?

CAMPBELL: I only did that one job before my 16th birthday and then I was 16 in May.

KING: What made it for you? Was there a particular shoe, a particular dress, a particular designer, or a particular photographer?

CAMPBELL: I guess a particular photographer. I was asked by Stephen Meisel to come to do American "Vogue" in New York. KING: Is he an American photographer?

CAMPBELL: Yes, he does all the American "Vogue" covers and Italian "Vogue" and he's a very good friend of mine and I remember saying oh, Stephen Meisel's booking me and they're like do you know now that you have gotten there big time?

And I'm like why? Because Stephen Meisel's booking you. I'm like, is he great? They said, is he great? So, I was discovering the business and I mean to be put on the Concorde at 16 years old, dressed up and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of a designer who we all love in the business, at 16 it's not realistic, you know.


CAMPBELL: And so my life began in an unrealistic way.

KING: What did you wear for the "Vogue" cover?

CAMPBELL: It wasn't a cover. It an inside shoot and it was all black evening dresses.

KING: What does the great photographer do that the ordinary photograph doesn't do?

CAMPBELL: I think it's taking care, making sure the clothes are right. With Stephen as an example and Herb too.

KING: Herb Ritz?

CAMPBELL: Yes. They really care about the way it closes but they have a whole, they plan it before. They have a like a story. It's like, you know, they tell you what they want like a character, so you start to think in your mind in the makeup room they want this. They want that. So, when you get on set, you're kind of prepared. It's like kind of silent acting in a way.

KING: Acting?


KING: Is it hard though when the model is beautiful for the model to not take away from the clothes she's modeling?

CAMPBELL: I believe more for me as a character and I go inside myself. It's really a lot to do with the mind as well, I think.

KING: Did you handle early success well?

CAMPBELL: As best as I could. I mean I was -- there was no one that taught me how to -- what was going to happen.

KING: I mean you were a kid.

CAMPBELL: So, I handled it as best as I could. I mean I've made many, many mistakes and had to live with them, correct them in the public eye, but there's no book that teaches you how to deal with people recognizing you on the street and people asking you for your autograph but I dealt with it as best as I could.

KING: How about making a lot of money?

CAMPBELL: There's -- you mean...

KING: There's no training for that either.

CAMPBELL: There's no training for that.

KING: Did you let someone handle it for you?

CAMPBELL: Yes, I always have.

KING: So, you haven't been hurt in that area?

CAMPBELL: No, I just have -- I just love to buy shoes.

KING: You're a shoe freak?

CAMPBELL: I love it.

KING: Emelda Marcos lives.

CAMPBELL: I wouldn't say that far but that's my fetish is shoes.

KING: Is Great Britain still home?

CAMPBELL: Well, yes. I mean, I sometimes feel am I really English in the way they treat me but England is home.

KING: They treat you worse than here?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely. England is home. I'm very proud to be English and from there.

KING: You're treated worse in your home country than anywhere?

CAMPBELL: I feel so at times but that's just one particular person and one particular publication. So, what I've learned to do with myself today is not to just -- that's not the whole parameter of England. I am born there. I'm from there, raised.

KING: Citizen.

CAMPBELL: Yes, and carry that passport.

KING: Do you work here with visas then?

CAMPBELL: Yes, I work here with a visa.

KING: Do some models fit some designers better than others? Are there models for designers?

CAMPBELL: Yes, I guess. KING: Can you be a great model for Versace and not so great for Prada?

CAMPBELL: Yes. I mean but I have done both.

KING: Because it depends on the clothes?

CAMPBELL: It depends on the clothes of the season. I've been told many times you're not going to fit this season and I don't take it (UNINTELLIGIBLE). That's never an excuse. I just accept that opinion. It's happened to me many times but I have to say Johnny (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Calvin Klein was the first one to use me in America, have since because they use me, Karl Lagerfeld. Everyone said well who is using her? We want to use her. I now work very closely with...

KING: Like a snowball?

CAMPBELL: Yes and right now I'm working very closely with Dolce & Gabbana.

KING: Dolce & Gabbana. You see those stores everywhere.

CAMPBELL: Yes and they're doing -- they're very sweet people.

KING: What are you wearing now?

CAMPBELL: Dolce & Gabbana.

KING: This is a winter outfit, right?

CAMPBELL: This is.

KING: You were telling me before we went on, these are the winter clothes, the colors.

CAMPBELL: These are the winter colors, yes.

KING: Brown and off brown.


KING: And who decided that?

CAMPBELL: Domenico and Stefano, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.

KING: They got together and said brown?

CAMPBELL: Yes. This is the color. I mean it was a beautiful show and I do the men's show for them too, even though I'm not the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but I'm like (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I guess.

KING: When you say the men's show, you mean?

CAMPBELL: The men's, like they pick like four girls and we get to hang out with beautiful looking men.

KING: Speaking of that, you've been linked with...


KING: Eric Clapton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lenny Kravitz, the Italian businessman Flavio Briatore, am I pronouncing that right?

CAMPBELL: Yes, correct.

KING: Have you ever gone -- Mike Tyson even.

CAMPBELL: You did Flavio, I think, didn't you for Formula One?

KING: Correct.

CAMPBELL: Correct.

KING: DeNiro too? Have you ever gotten close to marrying any of these folks? It's none of my business but I'm just asking.

CAMPBELL: Yes, I have and I thought that I was too young at the time but the best thing is Lenny Kravitz is like a brother to me and Leonardo is a really good friend and also Eric has been extremely supportive with what I've had to go through.

KING: Good guy, Eric Clapton.

CAMPBELL: Wonderful man and...

KING: DeNiro's a good guy?

CAMPBELL: Amazing and Flavio has taught me so much and I learned so much from them I come with views now that I didn't understand when I was younger and I have a great friendship with all those people that you mentioned.

KING: You have no regrets over these though?

CAMPBELL: None of them and I maintain a friendship because I never speak publicly about them. I just love that they trust me and I love their loyalty.

KING: Do you want to marry?

CAMPBELL: I would like to marry, yes.

KING: Want to be a mother?

CAMPBELL: Very much so and I think I wouldn't have wanted it before. I wouldn't have been right in my mind, in my body, in my soul. I feel now if God blesses me with those things, it's more right than it would have been before.

KING: Would it change your life a lot? If you met the man of your dreams, got married, would you have to cut back on modeling? CAMPBELL: Yes because I am actually the one they say that travels the most. I travel a lot but I like to fly. I like to explore different countries.

KING: Fly all over the world?

CAMPBELL: Yes. I fly like four planes a week sometimes. It depends, you know, and it depends but I still get excited about jobs that they offer to me so I'm very enthusiastic about what I do. Now, of course, I'm able to choose what I want to do and what I don't but when I commit to something I do it with full commitment.

KING: It's wonderful to have a position when you can turn things down, right?


KING: Because the struggling model takes anything.

CAMPBELL: But I don't, like for instance Mark Jacobs when he started and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when she started, they didn't have any money (UNINTELLIGIBLE) too who's now at Dior.

KING: They work cheap?

CAMPBELL: And who's at (UNINTELLIGIBLE). No, I did those people because I believed that they were going to be huge and big and I loved what they did.

KING: So you roll the dice?

CAMPBELL: And yes, I believed in them at the beginning. I loved everything they put on me and I said OK, you don't have money now but one day you will. It's not always about the money. It's like OK I love your creative sense and you're going to be so amazing at what you do and you're going to be here for a long time.

KING: Are the odds against Black models, all things being equal?

CAMPBELL: Are they, I mean we...

KING: There's a White model and Black model coming through the door. Does the White model have an edge?

CAMPBELL: It depends. I believe it really boils down to personality and honesty with yourself and who you are. It doesn't necessarily have to. I've walked through the door with a little insecurity are they not going to look at me and have walked out with the job.

It's just, it's really believing and having a sense of who you are and trying to feel, not overly confident, because when I do fashion shows, I'm still very nervous when I do shows and I'm happy to have that nervous energy because I don't want to be over confident because then it would be just, I won't get that feeling of I'm going to try my hardest. I like to have that feeling. KING: Is that more nervous than a photo shoot plus the public being there?

CAMPBELL: Yes and because it's live. Anything can happen. I mean I have fallen on the runway. I fell in Vivian Westwood because those shoes were incredibly, if you can call them shoes, enormous. They now are in the Victorian Albert Museum in London and you know what, when I fell I just said OK, this is what happens. It's a show. It's for clothes. It's not so serious in life. I mean there are so many more things that we need to focus on.

KING: Is the money huge?

CAMPBELL: It's a business and, yes, it's how you take care of your money and what you commit yourself to. I was never one that got a contract for like a House of Revlon as an example.

KING: Where you work for one person only?

CAMPBELL: No, and I'm quite happy to say today that I'm happy I never got that kind of contract. I'm not saying I wouldn't take or not fulfill that kind of contract now but what it enabled me to do was do my own perfume line, which I do with Wella. That was the way it was meant to be for me to be part of the whole creative force and the proving of who I shoot with for the ads, the scent, the smell, the bottles, the design of the bottle. So, it's put me in a business seat which I actually like being in. So, it's great.

KING: What type of dress are you best suited for? What would you use you for?

CAMPBELL: Oh, God, jeans. I live in jeans most of the time but I do like...

KING: Do you like modeling jeans?

CAMPBELL: When they want to take the pictures of us like in "W" this month, they want us to be just ourselves. They usually put us in jeans and a top of their choice or vice versa. But no, I actually have to be honest in thinking about my clothes. I carry all types of clothing like when I went to audition or "Austin Powers" and I'm very happy that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) got it. I'm going to go see it and so I'm like thinking I've got to go out and buy a wig and get all this '70s outfit and the funniest thing was I had all of that stuff in my closet so it was like, OK, you know I have a wide variation of clothing and I don't really plan how I want to look day to day.

KING: Our guest is the sensational Naomi Campbell. What a story, what a life, and still more to come. Don't go away.



CAMPBELL: They've been running it wrong in the magazines saying it's PR. It's not PR. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's not PR. Tell me, explain again.

CAMPBELL: It's branding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's branding. It's marketing.

CAMPBELL: It's lots of people branding and product placement, image consulting, branding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, well nobody knows how to do that better than you.

CAMPBELL: Take them places where they've not been before.


KING: We're back with Naomi Campbell. On the runway scene, walking, could you be a very good photo model and not a good runway model?

CAMPBELL: When I started doing shows at 16, just before my 17th birthday actually, there used to be one set of models for photos and one set of models for runway and I think I'm right in saying this. Cindy, Christie, Linda, myself, Claudia, Stephanie, Tatiana, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), if I'm missing someone, it's that group. We broke the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of doing both and that's when now everyone does both.

KING: Do you like them both?

CAMPBELL: I love them both yes.

KING: Equally?

CAMPBELL: Yes. I mean yes.

KING: What's the secret of the runway if there is a secret?

CAMPBELL: I try to show the clothes and not myself off. That's what I try to do and try to show them as best as I can in the most elegant way possible.

KING: Are you better if you like what you're wearing?

CAMPBELL: Oh, yes. I think that's just a given.

KING: Because there are some things on a runway show. You don't like everything. You can't.

CAMPBELL: And then you just say that's why you say well this is my job that I'm here to do, to show this in the best way and I do like it. No one has to know.

KING: There's a secret to the walk?

CAMPBELL: People ask me that lots of times and I think you walk with your personality. Like everyone calls me a black panther when I walk on the runway. That's become ...

KING: You're sleek?

CAMPBELL: I guess so. I don't know.

KING: Now do you walk the same way if you're doing a dress and jeans?

CAMPBELL: No, and I don't walk the same way for every designer. Like the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I'd walk differently.

KING: Really?


KING: Because of them or because of what they design?

CAMPBELL: Because that's the way that they are. It's because of them and their culture and that's what they want. They tell you.

KING: Why is it not boring?

CAMPBELL: For me it's just not. I mean the day that happens I think I will not be doing it any longer.

KING: So, you're excited to run back and change, walk down ...

CAMPBELL: It's the whole thing of the show. It is the whole adrenalin rush, the screaming, get the comb, get the -- you know. There's no shoes full enough for her skirt. It's broken. It's fun, you know.

KING: A lot of people back stage then?

CAMPBELL: A lot of people. Each girl has a dresser or two, depending on how many outfits she has to change into.

KING: And now in the photo shoots, can that be tedious?

CAMPBELL: The hours can be long but, you know, when you've got a good team, when you have a good team people think OK, she made that picture because she's in that picture but it's not just that. It's the photographer, the hair, the makeup, even the catering, everyone who contributes to making the product.

KING: The lighting and so on.

CAMPBELL: Everything, the lighting, the music, whatever, it takes to make everyone feel comfortable. It's a contribution.

KING: You work with a lot of gay people.


KING: I'm asking that because have you known people die of AIDS?

CAMPBELL: I have and they've always welcomed me with open arms as I welcome them with open arms.

KING: What do you do with South Africa and Mandela?

CAMPBELL: I met him in '91 and basically I'm on the board or the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and I go to Africa, which I haven't done this year yet and I go to the hospitals and I talk to people and children and raise money for Nelson Mandela Children's Fund all over the world.

KING: The thrill to my life was going to his house.

CAMPBELL: Isn't it amazing? Did you go in (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

KING: Yes.


KING: Nothing like him.

CAMPBELL: Nothing like him. He is, people say a role model. I'm like there is no one else like that man for me and I call him granddad. I spoke to him for his birthday July 18th. He's 83 and I said where are you? I'm in London.

KING: How are his knees?

CAMPBELL: His knee's okay. It's good.

KING: Still trouble with stairs?

CAMPBELL: Yes and maybe that when he flies they get a little swollen on his ankles but he's in great health. He's the most amazing man, isn't he? He's got those charming eyes.

KING: The best. Well, he's one of the great figures of the 20th Century.

CAMPBELL: Do you know the most important thing I've learned from him is he doesn't ever complain, never complains, and he has got and been through so much.

KING: How about forgiveness?

CAMPBELL: Forgiveness, forgiveness, exactly is the word.

KING: Michael Jackson, this is some switch from Mandela but it's a switch. You did a video with him?

CAMPBELL: I did a video with Michael Jackson.

KING: How did that come about?

CAMPBELL: I think that Herb put me up for it?



KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is a beautiful and well known photographer.

CAMPBELL: Well known photographer and very lovable person and he's a good friend to me and has always been very supportive to me in all aspects of my life. Herb asked for me and Bob suggested me and Michael agreed and I was really stopped because I know (UNINTELLIGIBLE) had just done the other video. I didn't think they were going to put on so soon after and Ii don't know it was just, you know, amazing to work with him. He's very professional and a lot of fun.

KING: Easy to work with?

CAMPBELL: Yes, it was fun. It was very...

KING: Demanding?

CAMPBELL: No. It was really great, reasonable hours actually. We started at two. It wasn't demanding at all. I had a lot of fun.

KING: You said you tried for "Austin Powers." Do you want to do acting?

CAMPBELL: Yes, I do. I would just take something if offered to me and it was right, nothing big because I don't want to take pressure on myself and not do something right. I'd like to start small and I've been doing theater. I did (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in San Francisco.

KING: Oh you did?

CAMPBELL: And here in L.A. and it was for me, I decided to do that with my coach Susan Batson (ph) because it was the way for me to go out there on the stage with all my fear and say OK, this is me. I'm going to do this because otherwise it was like oh yes.

KING: And when you've done it, you've enjoyed it, the movies, television?

CAMPBELL: Fear every night, nausea every night but I really enjoyed it, I really did. I got to talk with Kathryn Helmond (ph) who is wonderful and it was great and, you know, with the theater you know you get a bad review the next day but you're still got to get up, go on there and do it and do it and do it again and it was a great discipline to me, a great learning experience and I will definitely do it again.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Naomi Campbell on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Naomi Campbell. Do you feel jealous about Claudia Schiffer (ph)? She's going to be a mother.

CAMPBELL: I'm very happy for Claudia.

KING: Do you like her?

CAMPBELL: Yes, I get along with Claudia, with Cindy, Christie. Christie was my roommate when I came to the United States.

KING: Really, oh yes.

CAMPBELL: Yes. Linda, Kate. Kate's going to be a mommy too.

KING: Do models learn from other models?

CAMPBELL: When I grabbed Kate in Barcelona, I was like she's going to be with me.

KING: This is Kate?

CAMPBELL: Moss. It was -- she used to think I was nagging her sometimes. I just wanted to restore everything that ever went wrong in my life to make sure it never went wrong in hers. I'm like Kate, mustn't do this, mustn't do that. I never had a sister so I was so happy to be able to tell her you know be careful of this because this happened to me. She can do this, you know. It was great and we're very close.

We don't speak every day but I love and adore Kate and yes, I'm a giving person I believe and I think most of my friends can say that about me. I think you have to pass things on for good to come back to you. You shouldn't just keep it all for yourself.

KING: So, there are many models that you would hire?

CAMPBELL: I'd go up to young models and new models. If I go to a show and I've never seen them before, I go and introduce myself because they look at me and they're too terrified to come up to me and I don't want them to be terrified to come up to me so I go, hi, I'm Naomi.

KING: You were once terrified?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely, like when I heard (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was doing the same show I was and I was hoping (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I'm going to cry. I couldn't believe and then.

KING: What's special about her, by the way?

CAMPBELL: Oh, she really is like graceful.

KING: Is she the best?

CAMPBELL: The best but as a human being as well, the most beautiful and graceful. I mean she took me under her wing at 16 and that was just like I couldn't, you know, my dream, you know, and my hero.

KING: Mentor? CAMPBELL: Mentor, very much so but she takes a great interest in my life, like she came to L.A. She had did a book. She had an amazing book out called (UNINTELLIGIBLE). She came to L.A. and then after thinking she'd want to go off and be with all her friends from the party. She said no, I want to come with you and I want to see your home where you live in L.A. I want to see how you're doing. She takes that kind of interest in me and I really love that.

KING: Is 30 too old for a model?

CAMPBELL: Some people might say yes and some people might say no.

KING: It all depends how you look?

CAMPBELL: How you look. I'm here. I'm still working.

KING: Do you think you can go on until 40?

CAMPBELL: I don't know. I'll go on as long as God allows me to and as much as -- I mean as you said I'd love to have kids and.

KING: As you look forward, Naomi, what do you -- you still want to act?


KING: Or continue to model?


KING: You want to get married some day? Are you involved with anyone now?

CAMPBELL: No, I'm not.

KING: Like it?

CAMPBELL: I do. What it's enabled me (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about myself again is that I'm not co-dependent because I thought I was in my last relationship, and got bless Flavio because he's been amazing to me but I...

KING: No hard feelings?

CAMPBELL: No hard feelings, no.

KING: Did you break it up or he broke it up?


KING: Mutual. What do you eat?

CAMPBELL: Right now I really am watching myself as I am 32 and I've taken the time now and the interest, so I'm not really eating too many carbs. This is right now and I eat what everyone else eats. KING: Are you an exercise freak?

CAMPBELL: Yes, I work out. I enjoy to work out. Before I didn't enjoy it. I'd be like oh, I've got to go to the gym. I don't want to go. I'm not feeling good, cancel. Now, I'm like I get up and I'm enthusiastic to go.

KING: A couple other things, ever gone on a modeling job and said I don't like, I don't want to wear these clothes?

CAMPBELL: Yes. Yes, I have.

KING: Is that hard to do?

CAMPBELL: It is but, you know, what happens if there are contracts and stipulations and your agent has talked before and it has happened to me and I had to leave because it wasn't what I was -- I was sent the clothing and it wasn't what I was told it was going to be so I had to go.

KING: Would you do something for a very inexpensive line being sold at Target?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely. I would love to do something for Target.

KING: Really?

CAMPBELL: Yes, I mean I like the people. It reaches everybody.

KING: A $79 dress?

CAMPBELL: Yes, it would be fun. I'd love to be able to be involved in the design, not just put my name to it. I'd love to be involved in the whole (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Are we saying you want to do a Naomi Campbell line?

CAMPBELL: Yes, I do.

KING: For all people or?

CAMPBELL: For everybody. I mean again, I mean you know I want to...

KING: Have you tried designing?

CAMPBELL: Just jeans I've done. Just jeans.

KING: Because you've had some great people around you?

CAMPBELL: I've had some great people.

KING: If any of it wore off, you got all these designers.

CAMPBELL: But if I did, I wouldn't be like stuff like Dolce & Cabbana. I wouldn't dare to even think that high. It would be sporty stuff, you know, like I love what (UNINTELLIGIBLE) does. I love what Puff Daddy does with his line. I think it's great.

KING: So you like the casual?


KING: The short shorts, shorts and throw on a blouse?

CAMPBELL: I mean, you know, I've received some stuff from Jennifer Lopez, from her line, and I just like casual things you know. That's what I like to wear on my time off, on my own personal time.

KING: It's super having you with us.

CAMPBELL: Thank you so much. Thank you.

KING: Thank you, Naomi.

CAMPBELL: You're welcome. Thank you.


KING: Naomi Campbell. What an hour. We hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and the crew did. I know the crew did. We thank you very much for joining us. I'm Larry King. See you tomorrow night. For Naomi Campbell and yours truly, good night.


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