Naomi Campbell champions African models, mothers

Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:08am EST
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By Katrina Manson

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters Life!) - Carrying a golden dagger on her first African catwalk, supermodel Naomi Campbell emerged from behind a shimmering veil to make a pointed attack on the developed world's discrimination against black models.

"Where do we see a woman of color in an advert? It's quite blatant," she told Reuters in an interview backstage at her "Fashion for Relief" charity fashion show, which she held in Africa for the first time.

"There's definitely space (for more black models) but has there been enough effort? It was getting better but it's slipped back this year."

The British supermodel brought together flamboyant outfits laced with beads, peacock feathers and big necklaces from local designers, as well as aspiring models from across the continent who are competing to be the new "Face of Africa."

Many of the women were star-struck meeting Campbell, who helped advise backstage on hairstyles, makeup and posed for photos at the show held in the sultry Tanzanian coastal city of Dar es Salaam.

"Women of color who have had a great experience in life need to share their experiences with others. The world is not made up of blonde hair and blue eyes. We need to share ourselves," she said.

"It's like a dream come true to meet her," said Tholakele Dlamini, a 23-year-old "Face of Africa" contestant from Zimbabwe.

"I think there need to be more black models to balance it out a bit -- there's a lot of quality out there with potential."   Continued...

<p>British supermodel Naomi Campbell smiles at the end of the catwalk with fellow models at her fifth &ldquo;Fashion for Relief&rdquo; charity fundraiser in Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam, November 12, 2009. REUTERS/Katrina Manson</p>