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Naomi Campbell in your 'Face': Supermodel talks Oxygen reality show, life lessons from the runway

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Naomi Campbell
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Today marks the launch of EW’s new Style & Design channel, which brings you a behind-the-scenes look at the making of your favorite TV shows and movies, interviews with Hollywood’s hottest costume and set designers, and daily coverage of fashion industry news and Hollywood’s most fashionable red carpet parties and premieres.

To celebrate, we caught up with supermodel Naomi Campbell to give us the inside scoop on her new Oxygen reality show The Face, her latest pop culture obsession, and her advice for us on how to navigate the often cutthroat world of the fashion industry.

Entertainment Weekly: You’re both a coach and an executive producer on The Face, what can we expect to see each week?

Naomi Campbell: The Face is a reality competition series that starts with 24 up-and-coming female models from all over the world. I’ll choose a team from the pool of aspiring models, and throughout the series, I’ll mentor and guide them through assignments and challenges, including photo shoots, runway shows, and commercials. I’ll help them become stronger models by sharing lessons and pointers from my years in the industry. In the end, one contestant will win the competition, and become the face and spokesperson of a major national brand.

EW: Models often say that, although the job looks glamorous, it’s not easy. Will we see any model hazing on the show?    

Naomi Campbell: From the get go, I said that I wanted to do something that was positive and inspirational for young women.

EW: Recently, you were part of the model moment at the Closing Ceremonies of the London Olympics and you also sashayed down the runway at designer Zac Posen’s New York Fashion Week show. You’re one of the few original supermodels who still walks the runway, how have you managed to have such a long and successful career?

Naomi Campbell: I’ve been blessed with a very long career in the modeling and fashion industry, but most modeling careers don’t last this long. There are lots of great models who have become successful businesswomen, from Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum to Kate Moss and Iman. They’ve been able to take what they learned as models and transition that into the business world. They are proof that a model’s career doesn’t have to end when she’s off the runway.

EW: I heard that last week you had a fitting to decide what you’ll wear on the show, will we see you in lots of designer labels, lower-end pieces, or a mix of both? 

Naomi Campbell: I’ll be wearing a combination of both. I have many designer friends who have been gracious enough to dress me for the show, including Azzedine Alaia, Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander McQueen. However, I do also wear affordable pieces from stores like Topshop.

EW: Do you think that pop culture influences fashion trends?   

Naomni Campbell: Fashion is and always has been a reflection of the cultural viewpoints of the time. Think about the looks of the 40s and 50s versus fashions of the 80s and even today. Fashion is influenced by what’s going on in pop culture and social issues, and it’s both aspirational and every day at the same time.

EW: What are you geeking out over right now?

Naomi Campbell: I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had much time to watch movies or TV shows. I usually listen to pretty typical R&B and pop music, but right now I’m really loving old school music and I’ve recently rediscovered Kid Creole and the Coconuts. I’m loving them!

EW: What lessons have you learned during your career in the fashion industry that could help us make EW’s new Style & Design channel a big success? 

Naomi Campbell: The great thing about modeling is that you learn so many important life lessons; how to work hard, take direction, persevere, and reinvent yourself creatively. These are important life lessons that are applicable to any industry.

Tell us: Will you tune in to watch Campbell’s new model reality competition The Face?

Follow Bronwyn on Twitter: @BronwynBarnes

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