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Naomi: I'll fight for diversity

FashionBy Sunday World
Naomi: I'll fight for diversity

Naomi Campbell can't retire from modelling as she still feels the need to protect her "babies".

The 45-year-old star has been vocal about the need to improve the lack of diversity in the industry, setting up organisation Balance Diversity with Iman and Bethann Hardison. Apart from Naomi thinking the lack of black and Asian models on the runway is old-fashioned and offensive, she worries about the effect it has on rising stars.

"We thought, we have nothing to lose now, but the babies - Jourdan [Dunn] and Joan Smalls and Malaika [Firth] - we don't want them to speak and get hurt in the jobs they're doing, so let us do the talking," she explained to photographer Nick Knight as part of his ShowStudio series Subjective.

"We are not a trend - I didn't work 28 years for it to be a trend. It's one of the things that keeps me wanting to work. I can't duck out yet because I feel I still need to represent and watch my little babies and be there for them. A lot of their hearts were broken this time in Paris; I got the calls and the texts. We've got this WhatsApp [text] that we share. It's something I won't stop talking about until I see a big improvement."

Naomi doesn't like to use the word 'racism' when she's talking about the issue, she refers to it as 'territorial-ism' instead. That's because she finds some designers don't want to make the change, or don't see a need to be more open-minded.

The supermodel won't stop until she sees models being treated equally, no matter what their colour.

"Yes it's improved, but I can give you the stats now - 2014, we've just finished the shows, 6.8 per cent [were black models], Asia, 7.9. [It's] not great. Some have gone backwards, not using girls of colour at all, this is Spring/Summer, the season when you would use girls of colour because of the pretty colours, some didn't use any," she fumed. "It's a conversation that has to be had. It's not calling out names to attack anyone, we're not blaming anyone, we're not pointing fingers. It's [more]: do you understand that?"

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