Naomi Campbell was born and raised in London, England with a brief stint in Rome, Italy.

According to Campbell’s mother, she was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, the faith to which her mother is still deeply devout.1 But Campbell herself said she was christened into the Church of England.2 Hmm. . . maybe she’s both, and the whole Protestant thing happened later in life. But then after she began dating Vladislav Doronin, a Russian real estate tycoon, rumors started circulating that she was planning on converting to Russian Orthodoxy in order to marry the billionaire.3

Confused yet? Just wait. After a visit to Brazil to attend a witch doctor friend’s birthday party, the press was convinced that Campbell converted to Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian form of Animism. Part of the confusion came when her friend talked about how Campbell was “very interested” in the religion.4 Campbell later made clear that she was a Christian and is not, nor ever was, a member of the religious sect.5

And then there was the whole Kabbalah thing. Some sources claimed she converted from Christianity to the Jewish-based school of thought when she talked about how practicing it took her “to a positive, calm place.”6 But she later clarified that Kabbalah is not in fact a religion and that she remains a Christian.7

Despite all these rumors, Campbell is genuinely dedicated to her faith. She took a trip to Jerusalem over her 42nd birthday for a “religious” trip.8 And she left us with this quote on her Twitter feed:

Spiritual work is like climbing a ladder. To reach the peak, make sure you are firm on the step you are on, before going up to the next one. But don’t stay satisfied too long on it, or you’ll lose the motivation to keep climbing, and won’t complete the journey.910

Pretty heavy stuff. Looks like she’s a devout Christian after all.

Black in a White Industry

Campbell’s politics are not quite so difficult to decipher. She doesn’t appear to be too involved in partisan politics, but from what she has done, she looks to be a Labour supporter. She called former Prime Minister Gordon Brown “very jolly”–11 I think that’s a nice thing to say. And she’s also in his wife Sarah’s good graces. The two work together to prevent maternal mortality in the developing world during pregnancy and childbirth.12

But beyond the partisan, Campbell is most focused on fighting racism in the fashion industry. In 1997 she said,

There is prejudice. It is a problem and I can’t go along any more with brushing it under the carpet. This business is about selling, and blonde and blue-eyed girls are what sells.13

More recently, in 2011, she criticized candy-maker Cadbury for comparing her to chocolate, prompting an apology from the company.14 And after Barack Obama was elected America’s first black president, she said she thought it was great, but that racism in fashion was only getting worse.15

Hopefully for one of the world’s only black supermodels, she’ll see things change for the better in her lifetime. And maybe she’ll have something to do with it.

  1. The religion of Naomi Campbell, supermodel. Adherents. []
  2. Naomi Campbell Slams Witchcraft Rumors. Socialite Life. []
  3. Naomi Campbell to change faith to marry Russian. RT. []
  4. Naomi Campbell passionate about bizarre Brazilian sect. Religion News Blog. []
  5. Naomi Campbell Slams Witchcraft Rumors. Socialite Life. []
  6. Naomi Campbell Converts to Kabbalah. UsMagazine. []
  7. Quoted: Naomi Campbell Talks Religion. Beliefnet. []
  8. Naomi Campbell: Religious and Private Trip to Israel. AbbaNibi. []
  9. NaomiCampbell: #omiquotes Spiritual work is … Twitter. []
  10. NaomiCampbell: the next one. But don’t … Twitter. []
  11. Naomi’s ‘jolly’ trip to No10. The Sun. []
  12. Naomi Campbell gets Sarah Brown’s vote in Harper’s list of heroines. The Observer. []
  13. Hannah Pool on racism in fashion. The Guardian. []
  14. Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss bare all, talk racism in fashion for Russian and German ‘Interview.’ theGrio. []
  15. Black no longer the new black. Myanmar Times & Business Reviews. []