Naomi Campbell: ” On a 1988 Vogue Italia cover they made my skin gray. I cried when he went out ” – Beauty


Interviewed in the BBC’s Woman’s Hour podcast, Naomi Campbell talked about the problems encountered during her career related to make up for black women. Like the time that to take the cover of Vogue Italia in June 1988, the make-up artist created a foundation that made her gray skin. And when the magazine came out, the Black Venus cried

In recent years, many cosmetic brands have put on the market lines dedicated to different skin tones, designed not only for white women, but also for black, Hispanic or Asian women. The world of beauty has not always been so inclusive, however, and an absolute star like Naomi Campbell knows that, interviewed for an episode of the BBC’s “Woman’s Hour” podcast, she retraced an episode dating back to 32 years ago, but evidently still remembers very well.

The cover of the June 1988 issue of Vogue Italia taken by Steven Klein with Naomi Campbell

In 1988 Naomi Campbell, at the time just eighteen years old and in business for only two years, was called to shoot the cover of the June issue of Vogue Italia. A very important occasion for the English model still in her infancy who, once on the set, however, found herself dealing with an unpleasant surprise: the absence of adequate makeup for her complexion. “I remember a job in Italy for which basically the make up artist when he saw me said: ‘Oh, I didn’t know you were black’”, Says Naomi Campbell. “And he said he didn’t have foundation for me, so he had to mix some colors he had to try to find the one that suits me best. But it was mainly made up of gray foundations. I remember that when the cover came out I cried because I really wanted to be on the cover of this magazine, which was Vogue Italia, but I didn’t want to be gray!“.

Many years have passed now, but that moment must have somehow marked Naomi’s career if it is true that already in another interview for The Guardian in 2016 he had reported the episode also revealing that from that moment on he always brought his tricks on the set.

It was another world, with a decidedly different sensitivity to the themes of diversity and inclusion, as Naomi recalls: “When I think back to when I started modeling in 1986, trying to buying black make-up was very very difficult. Very few stores had it, very few dedicated shelves, and it was limiting. I used my mother’s makeup: she had given me a foundation of a color that was good enough for me, but I happened to have problems “.

Mostly before meeting Pat McGrath, the famous black make-up artist, Naomi’s fraternal friend and defined by Vogue himself as the most influential MUP in the world. It is no coincidence therefore that after founding the Pat McGrath Labs brand, the make up artist chose Naomi in May 2020, fifty years old in May, as the first face for her cosmetic line (which will be distributed in Italy from Sephora starting in July).

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