Sep 12, 2013

    I wasn't just a mentor, I was a shrink too

    British supermodel Naomi Campbell, 43, who ruled the runway from the 1980s to the 1990s, is now the executive producer for the modelling reality-TV series The Face.

    The contest - hosted by fashion photographer Nigel Barker and which features two other supermodels, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova - sees models competing with one another to be the face of United States beauty retailer Ulta Beauty.

    Campbell spoke about the show and what sort of model it is looking for.


    What made you decide to do this particular project? 

    For the last 12 years, I've been asked to do television. For me, what was attractive (about the show) was being able to work with executive producer Eden Gaha, and just the whole concept of mentoring.

    I've been working for 26 years and I feel like I do have something that I can share with young, hopeful supermodels who want to be in our business today.


    Are you out to find the next Naomi or are you looking for other body types?

    We're looking for someone who catches your eye, is driven, passionate, can take direction... Someone who walks into the room and takes your breath away.


    How was the audition process like?

    Because I'm British, Karolina's Czech and Coco's Canadian, I felt it would be fun to mix it up a little bit and have a few girls who are from around the world to be involved in the audition process. We were not physically at the castings, but we got to meet the top 24. And, from there, we picked out the top 12, and then, from them, we picked our three groups.


    Many people in the modelling industry had to work very hard to get to where they are now. Does the business really care about your hard-luck story?

    Everyone has a hard-luck story. I was raised by a single mother.

    It's made me more driven, to do and be whatever I committed myself to doing with my utmost best.

    With these girls, what we wanted to see was drive.

    Having drive and a thick skin are extremely important, because you go for castings and you take it personally when you get rejected, and no one teaches you how to deal with that.


    The show seemed to be a very emotional journey for you. Did you expect that?

    I've never done TV before, just little bits here and there as myself, but this was a completely different thing.

    It hit me on the fourth or fifth day, in that I was not going to just be coming into a room and saying to my girls: "Well, this is the challenge. I'm going to help you with A, B, C to Z."

    I realised I had to be more than that. I'm not a shrink, but I felt like one, because I had to be there to hear everything - the contestants' family history, their background, their tragedies and their ups and downs.

    You become attached and, whether the girls were on my team or not, I felt protective of them. It was a big learning curve for me.


    The Face airs every Monday at 8pm on Diva Universal (StarHub Ch 522 ).