Born in 1970 in Streatham, South London, Naomi Campbell has been described as the "first black
supermodel" and was arguably the biggest name on the catwalks at the end of the Nineties.
While still a student of the Italia Conti Stage School, she was spotted by Beth Boldt, former head of Synchro, window-shopping in London's Covent Garden. In April 1986, she made the cover of Elle, when another black model had to cancel the job. By August 1988, she had graced the cover of French Vogue as the publication's first black cover girl and completed campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Francois Nars, Lee Jeans, Olympus and Jazz. Versace soon followed suit.
Campbell has since starred in pop videos for Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and George Michael. In 1995, she published a novel, Swan, and released an album, Babywoman, although neither to high acclaim. In 1996, she made her big screen debut in Spike Lee's Girl Six and was honoured with a waxwork at London's Madame Tussauds. Four years later, the figure, wearing a slinky green Versace number donated by Naomi herself, had to be put behind a cordon after falling prey to "overly frisky" male visitors.
No stranger to controversy, Campbell appeared in an anti-fur poster campaign for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) in 1997, only to be seen several months later sporting a fur coat on the catwalks in Milan. She has been romantically linked the likes of Mike Tyson, Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Eric Clapton, Adam Clayton and Joaquin Cortés in the past - and is famous for claiming that she "made half of them famous".
Previously noted for her fiery nature, Naomi attended an anger management course in Arizona in the autumn of 1999, in an effort to rescue her relationship with F1 boss Flavio Briatore. The following year, she claimed to be a new woman. The couple finally split in August 2001.
In her time, Naomi has inspired many compliments among them to be named on 1998's list of Cool Britannia's most influential denizen's ahead of Sir David Spedding, head of MI6, and William Hague, then leader of the Opposition, as well as Kate Moss. Rather less well-received was her comparison to a glistening mountain range, in a travel guide funded by the Spanish government. La Maliciosa ("the malicious one"), the popular name for one particularly awesome peak in the Cuerda de las Cabrillas range, near Madrid, was described by the book's author as "black, svelte, hard and slippery, like Naomi Campbell's loins". According to government officials, there were originally two versions of the book and the wrong one found its way to the printers.