The mother of two delves into her struggles with alcohol and drug addiction in Apple TV+'s docuseries, 'The Super Models.'
Apple TV+'s highly anticipated docuseries, The Super Models, made its debut on Wednesday, giving fans unprecedented access to the iconic supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington.
The four-part series travels back to the 1980s, after each woman became a force in their own right, to show how they came together to transcend the industry itself. Of course, it was then that they were simply known as Naomi, Cindy, Linda and Christy and were as prominent -- and as dominant -- as the designers who dressed them.
During the series' fourth installment, Campbell delves into her struggles with alcohol and drug addiction between 1998 and 2005. The addiction stemmed from a place of grief, she explains, after the murder of Gianni Versace in July 1997. The Italian fashion designer and Versace founder was murdered outside his Miami Beach mansion, Casa Casuarina, by spree killer Andrew Cunanan.
A friend to many in the fashion and music world, Gianni's death rocked the industries. In episode three, Crawford even says his death "sort of ended the supermodel era."
Campbell recalls that she was in Rome, driving to meet Gianni's sister, Donatella, for a rehearsal when she got the phone call about Gianni's murder. The 53-year-old shares that she didn't believe the news until she saw Donatella, and found herself in shock when it became clear that Gianni was genuinely dead.
"Everything starts ringing in your ears. It's awful," she recounts. "I can't get to the hotel because there are thousands of people outside, so I have to climb up the laundry shaft to get into the hotel."
In the fourth episode, Campbell details how she dealt with Gianni's death, saying that she was shocked at first but later she broke. She says that she "kept the sadness inside and dealt with it" by using alcohol and drugs as a balm for her emotional pain.
"Addiction is such a bulls**t thing," she tells the camera. "You think it's going to heal that wound, but it doesn't, and it causes huge fear and anxiety."
The mother of two references her previous assault convictions, the first such case, heard in February 2000, in which Campbell pleaded guilty in Toronto to assaulting her personal assistant with a mobile phone in September 1998. By 2006, several other employees and associates came forward with claims of abuse.
"I have always owned up to [my mistakes], and I chose to go to rehab, and it was the best and only thing I could have done for myself at that time," Campbell says of checking into rehab after collapsing at a 1999 photo shoot and attending NA and AA to stay sober. "If I have people in my life who need help I will offer my help."
Marc Jacobs and John Galliano recall how Campbell helped them out of dark places of addiction and got them into rehab.
In previous installments of the douseries, Campbell opens up about how she experienced racism in the industry after moving to the U.S. to pursue modeling. While the model, who grew up in an Afro-Jamaican household in the U.K., recalls instances of racism in her childhood, she explains the difference she felt when she journeyed to the other side of the pond.
"I wasn't going to accept being bullied at school for the color of my skin," Campbell says. "My mother was paying my school fees just like everybody else. I had every right to be there, so take your bullying somewhere else, is how I felt... At the time, modeling was kind of looked down on in my family. My mother had no idea I was doing any of it."
"I started to understand culturally that I was going to have to work really hard to feel accepted," she adds. "There was no way I could go back home with my tail between my legs ... I was going to go harder and further."
Campbell shares how she and Turlington, 54, became close after moving in together and that Turlington and Evangelista, 58, advocated for her when she was met with discrimination.
"Naomi wasn't always booked to do the shows," Evangelista explains. "I didn't understand. Naomi, I thought, was more beautiful, had a much more rocking body than I did and a better strut. [I was] like, 'Why aren't they booking her?' I said to them, 'If you don't book her, you don't get me.'"
Campbell shares that Evangelista and Turlington "absolutely put themselves on the line for [me]," which she adds kept her going on the hardest days.
While Campbell's journey to superstardom was a tumultuous road, she became one of the most influential models in the world. She was the first Black model to ever cover Vogue France in August 1988 and the first Black model to open a Prada show in 1997.
And her personal life has blossomed -- the supermodel announced that she had welcomed her second child, a son, on June 29, after the birth of her first child, a daughter, in May 2021.
"My little darling, know that you are cherished beyond measure and surrounded by love from the moment you graced us with your presence," the proud mom captioned a photo of herself holding her son. "A True Gift from God 🙏🏾, blessed ! Welcome Babyboy. 💙🍼✨ #mumoftwo ❤️💙."
The model announced her daughter's birth similarly, taking to Instagram to share a photo of her holding her baby's feet.
"A beautiful little blessing has chosen me to be her mother, So honored to have this gentle soul in my life there are no words to describe the lifelong bond that I now share with you my angel," she wrote. "There is no greater love."
Since then, her daughter has made a few appearances on her mom's social media and even landed the cover of British Vogue last year. In her interview with the publication, Campbell didn't share many details about her first child’s arrival or the process of having her, but did confirm that she was not adopted.
"She wasn’t adopted -- she's my child," she noted. "I can count on one hand the number of people who knew that I was having her. But she is the biggest blessing I could ever imagine. It's the best thing I've ever done."
Campbell did share that her daughter loves to travel and had already hit a major milestones at a young age. "She’s a good girl: she sleeps very well, she hardly ever cries and I'm told she's very alert for her age. She's just started waving, which is fun. She laughs a lot. She's almost talking,” she mused.
The Super Models is now available to stream on Apple TV+.