To Get Naomi Campbell To Work, Lie


Carole White, the head of London modeling agency Premier and the woman often credited with “discovering” Naomi Campbell, penned an as-told-to piece for today’s Telegraph. Get ready for some early-90s nostalgia! Did you know that Chisty Turlington and Naomi Campbell had a very special shared nickname? It was “Wagon.”

White says that Campbell used to call her “Mum.” The relationship has since deteriorated: White no longer represents Campbell, and the two are currently embroiled in a legal dispute — suit, counter-suit, counter-counter-suit — over revenues from a perfume called “Naomi Campbell Cat Deluxe With Kisses.” (Not that you’d know that from reading White’s piece: the Telegraph doesn’t mention the litigation.) Last year, White testified that one night in 1997, Campbell had received blood diamonds from notorious Liberian dictator Charles Taylor while staying at Nelson Mandela’s presidential compound. Campbell repeatedly ducked Taylor’s war-crimes prosecutors’ attempts to get in touch with her until the court had to compel her to testify with a subpoena; she then took the stand, told the court “this is a big inconvenience for me,” and admitted only to receiving “some kind of dirty-looking pebbles” from men unknown. Campbell also called White, “someone I no longer trust and no longer work with.”

But back in the day, Naomi Campbell did trust Carole White. They had a traditional, close, trusting kind of agent-model togetherness. So trusting, in fact, that White lied to Naomi Campbell all the time:

Christy and Naomi are very different characters. Christy was a dream, very professional and calm, whereas Naomi was less disciplined and used to get me into trouble. Mostly it was because she was late, but sometimes she just didn’t turn up. I used to lie to her about what time she had to be at a job, but she soon worked that out, so I had to lie further. If the call time was 10am, I would tell her it was 8am so she would think it was 9am, but I still had to cross my fingers that she’d be on time. She missed planes too. Once after she missed a flight to Austria I had to organise a private jet to get her to the job because the money was so huge she had to be there.
Another time a Dutch nursery named a rare black tulip after her and asked her to promote it. Hundreds of the flowers were driven to London in a refrigerated van to fill a studio. Naomi was supposed to lie in the middle of them for a commercial, but she didn’t turn up for the shoot — she was sick. These poor guys watched the tulips wilt in the studio and the ad never happened.

You’d think by now the Dutch would’ve learned their lesson where tulips are concerned, but I digress.

Carole White Recalls Happier Times With Naomi Campbell [Telegraph]

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