Makeup artist and maker Pat McGrath has announced that supermodel Naomi Campbell will be the face of her campaign for a new range dubbed the ‘Divine Rose’ collection.
The collection consists of two lip glosses, two eye palettes, two lipsticks and two lip pencils, while Naomi will be joining McGrath’s Masterchat series to spruik the products online.
Campbell and McGrath have been pals and collaborators for a quarter of a century now, having met on the set of an i-D fashion shoot back in 1994.
Since then, Naomi has launched her own perfume – eons ago, in 1999 – but the model-turned-entrepreneur told Cream magazine then that she would not be getting into makeup business for some time.
Between shooting music clips for Madonna, George Michael and Michael Jackson, running the runway for Galliano, Gaultier and Gabbana, and posing for everybody from Vogue to Nokia, it’s a wonder Campbell even had time in her halcyon days to even consider lending her name to a perfume.
Cream scored 15 minutes of that precious time. And goodness, was she precious…
Interview by Antonino Tati
Hi Naomi. With so much work on your plate now, will you be continuing work on the runways?
Not sure if I will continue doing shows, as I find it really stressful to do 16 shows a day, with fittings and everything else. What I’d like to do is chill out a bit more.
Let’s talk about your journey, from your ‘discovery’ in Covent Gardens, London, to now launching your own fragrance.
Well, it’s certainly been a long one, which I believe has survived due to dedication on my part to the profession, as well as my taking on new challenges. The reason I’m still here is because I do all the work that comes to me. I believe if I don’t do that work, there wouldn’t be anyone of my minority representing my race.
Er, okay. What inspired your fragrance?
I did not want something that was heavy. It is a combination of the fragrances I love to wear [star anise, spicy red pepper, and Caribbean cactus flower].
The bottle is extraordinary. [It looks a bit phallic: like a dildo, actually].
Yes, I wanted something slender and fashionable. To me it represents all that is futuristic; everything ‘millennium’.
You were very much involved in the creative development of the fragrance, weren’t you?
Yes, I was.
You are in fact the first model to have your own fragrance. Why did you wait so long?
For years I wanted a cosmetics contract, and now I am I happy I did not get such a contract, as I can now work on my own and be far more creative. You are what you do, and this fragrance represents me. Perfume is something that has taken me out of the fashion world.
“I believe if I don’t do that work, there wouldn’t be anyone of my minority representing my race.”
Where do you see your fragrance fitting into the market?
It is a fragrance for every woman: black women, brown women, even Aboriginal women… Teenagers… Even my male fashion designer friends wear it.
Is there more interest in the market in launching a fragrance over, say, a cosmetic or clothing range?
Well, underwear is definitely Elle’s department. Swimwear is not something that comes to my mind. I’ve been approached by fashion houses, but generally I’ve declined. There is a complete infiltration of makeup right now, so no hurry for this. I think it’s better to conquer perfume before you try makeup. If you can make it in perfume, you can make it in makeup. Perfume is harder to sell. I have time to do makeup later.
You have been a role model of ethnic representation in the fashion world. As a result of that, would you perhaps like to see more representation in magazines of, say, Aboriginal women?
Why do you think that isn’t happening?
I think that with the powers that be, I’d put it down to narrow-mindedness. You don’t know until you try, and the results of my career have been based on that.
“If you can make it in perfume, you can make it in makeup. Perfume is harder to sell.”
Any advice to aspiring models, coloured or otherwise?
It is very hard not to take it personal, because you can become upset. But now I use this as a survival kit; the challenge that keeps me going. Things have to change.
Shortly after this interview, I was invited, along with a host of other media, to meet Naomi in the presidential suite of a posh hotel in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. On the way to the venue, I lost my Nokia phone – in fact, I’d left it in the backseat of the taxi cab. Ironically, I was not the only person having phone troubles that day: two other male members of the media also had lost their phones. Spooky, yes. So there we were, while Naomi Campbell was being hounded by a bevvy of female journalists, the only three guys in the room were all on other people’s phones, making calls to cab companies, trying to retrieve our lost mobiles… and this only weeks after Naomi had gone mad and thrown her Nokia at, well, a journalist.