Exclusively in the June issue of W magazine: Supermodel Naomi Campbell reveals the inside story about her court-ordered stint with a clean-up crew in a New York Sanitation Department garage. For Naomi, the punishment turned out less than punishing - in fact, according to her, it became a time for reflection - and she even made friends amongst her fellow floor-sweepers. Also revealed in Naomi's diary - the truth about her alcoholism and anger issues. Some choice excerpts from Naomi's clean-up crew journal:
Naomi's first day:
I arrive at 7:50 and walk into the warehouse past a horde of press who are lined up along this drive that’s about 100 feet long, kind of like a catwalk. It’s absolutely crazy. My focus is on getting to my job, keeping my head up and looking forward to another new experience. I sign in and show my I.D. I’m not allowed to bring my cell phone in—though all the other people doing service seem to have theirs. At first I’m told I’ll have to put on my orange vest where the press can see me. Later, Mr. Barry, who is my supervisor and is absolutely lovely, says I don’t have to, but if that’s the picture they want, I’m just going to put it out there so it’s over and done.
(Naomi - so brave. another new experience for her. but they wouldn't let her have her cell-phone - weapons not allowed I guess.)
Naomi makes a friend:
As we are working, one of my coworkers tells me how he ended up here, which was basically because of alcohol. I bond with him, and I tell him I’m in recovery. I started doing drugs when I was 23, as a recreational thing. I had no idea of the effect it would have on me. I had been discovered at 14 and brought into the business at 15. There’s no handbook to teach you how to deal with this business. It’s been such a roller coaster. Before long, I started taking drugs to escape or deal with some disaster, like when someone died. I lost a lot of friends in 1997, and that was the year I really fell down emotionally. I first sought treatment for my addictions in 1999, and then went in and out of recovery. I’d be okay for a couple years and think I had things under control, but then I would relapse.
I never really looked into myself, deep below the surface. I was just caught up in my job and flying around the world and wanting to be fabulous. But there comes a point when it all catches up with you and you have to deal with it. And that caused me to reassess myself and get real treatment for my anger and my addictions.
(Naomi writes really well. almost as if she were a professional. and she's so candid too, talking all about how the stresses of being a model caused her to do drugs. waking up at noon and ordering people around must be more emotionally draining than it looks.)
Those wacky Internet folks:
I decide to wear black. It’s getting crazy. I’m getting all these calls from designers and stylists asking me to wear their clothes. Apparently, people on the Internet are rating my outfits. With everything happening in the world—in Iraq, in Africa—this is what they focus on?
(yes Naomi - we are frivolous. we should care about what's going on in Iraq and Africa but we're too busy fixating on you. when, oh when, will we learn to pay attention to things that really matter? we are so unevolved Naomi. not like you and other supermodels.)
Naomi discusses her jet-set life:
Two of the people in the room have never been on a plane. They ask me what it’s like, and I’m embarrassed to tell them I was on seven planes the week before alone.
They tell me some of the things they’ve read about me, like that I have a diamond-encrusted BlackBerry. I start laughing. I’ve never had a diamond-encrusted phone! I’ll leave that to Paris [Hilton]. It’s not my style.
(haha - Naomi slams Paris in her diary. oh, by the way - that was a ruby-encrusted BlackBerry Naomi had, just to clarify.)
Naomi's rough life:
I grew up very much on my own. I never knew my father. And my mother, who was a contemporary ballet dancer, left me with a nanny from the time I was three until I was 12 while she traveled. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for her to leave me, but she was a single mother and she had to work. I can’t imagine the pain she felt when my father abandoned us. I would see her on vacations, when she would pop over for a few days. It was always a delight to see my beautiful young mother. How happy I’d be when she picked me up from school.
Recently, my mother agreed to go into therapy with me. It’s something I wanted for a long time but haven’t started because now I need to get myself on the right path first. Part of that involves cutting a lot of working relationships. I don’t really have many yes-people in my life anymore. I’ve gotten away from them—all the agents, assistants, people who would never tell me the truth and watch me destroy myself. But of course many of those people maybe didn’t want to work with me anymore, either, which I totally understand.
(so that's why Naomi hates the help so much - because she was dumped with a nanny when she was a kid. she's acting out all her childhood shit by whaling on people who remind her of the nannies. uh, Jayden James and Sean Preston in twenty years?)
My last day. Clean the offices downstairs. Sade’s playing on the radio. The important thing to me is that I did my job, that the Sanitation people were happy with the work I did. That’s all I wanted to hear. I feel like I’ve paid my debt to society. I’m not proud of what I did, but it’s something I definitely learned from. Now I have to get on with my life, keep working on my problems and go to meetings every day.
I want to walk out of here with my head up. I want to go out in style, and fashion is what I’ve done for 21 years. It’s something that I love. So, when I’m finished with my work, I slip on the silver sequined Dolce & Gabbana demi-couture gown that I packed in my bag this morning. I put it on lying down so I can’t be snapped by the paparazzi, who can see in the window. When I get outside, they start screaming, going crazy, as I get into my friend Giuseppe Cipriani’s silver Bentley. I go back to his place and relax for an hour before I fly out to Miami, because I want to watch my friends Venus and Serena [Williams] play in the Sony Ericsson/IMG tournament. I go to sleep late, but I wake up early, thinking about my coworkers who are continuing their service. I call Marc, and he says, “We missed you today.” But life goes on, and I learned from my mistakes. I’m enjoying my life in recovery, and I don’t find it boring. And it’s just one day at a time. That’s how I’m going to live.
(putting on that Dolce & Gabbana gown wasn't your way of saying "fuck you" to everyone, right Naomi? it was just you walking out with your head up. dear God, and you expect everyone to believe this load of made-up horseshit?)
Read the full story and see more photos at style.com.