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Naomi Campbell has taken her share of knocks in the press and, though she has been known to unleash a few, the supermodel was beyond affable Friday night. Before she tore up the sidewalk outside the Dolce & Gabbana store on Madison Avenue with a choreographed dance surrounded by models wearing T-shirts imprinted with images of her, Campbell chatted up fans while signing the limited edition tops. Surprisingly, the model welcomed questions about her personal life, as Dolce & Gabbana’s Gabriella Forte gamely handed her shirt after shirt. The first matter at hand was her recent courtroom appearance at The Hague for Nigerian dictator Charles Taylor’s trial. “In that instance, I felt like it was my trial. I really did,” she said. “But you know what? I’m moving on. I did what was asked of me and I am living today and every day on my own.”
Twenty-five years into her prolific career, Campbell rolled her eyes at the prospect of 25 more, but she isn’t about to vanish any time soon. “I love what I do. I am still working with all the greats,” she said. “I live one day at a time. The things that I have committed to doing in the future I am looking forward to doing.”
As much as she likes to cook (“everything spicy — I’ve been carrying around a bottle of hot sauce in my bag for I don’t know how many years”), don’t bank on her settling down with her Russian billionaire paramour Vladislav Doronin anytime soon, even though she mentioned repeatedly that she now lives in Russia. Asked if she was getting married, Campbell said, “No. I didn’t say that — I am happy as I am.”
Could the 40-year-old Campbell, who pals around with Leonardo DiCaprio, be more tempted by Hollywood? “To be honest, that would be very hard for me because I have this face that people know. It would have to be a situation where I was either making fun of myself or acting completely different than who I am,” she said. “Any type of challenge is appealing to me — let’s put it that way.”
Though she has crisscrossed the globe for work, there is a “bucket list” with the Nile, Petra, Jordan and Israel at the top. But she is not about to reveal her goals. “I’m not a sayer. I like to show. I don’t like to talk about things until I’ve done them,” she said.
While the British-born beauty has helped break down barriers, she said, “Diversity on the runways is getting better. I loved what Anna [Wintour] did the other night with the Fashion’s Night Out show. There was such a mix of girls from so many different countries and continents. It was like a rainbow. That’s how it should always be.”
Campbell would not do anything differently given the chance to recast her past. And she squashed any rumors of supermodel in-fighting with: “I love my group of beautiful, amazing ladies that I came up with. We’re all friendly and very warm. We’re like family.”
In fact, Linda Evangelista is the one who first told Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana they needed to meet Campbell, according to Gabbana, who missed Friday’s festivities due to a bout with the flu. The designers and the guest of honor cooked up the T-shirt idea on holiday in the Maldives over New Year’s. “For us, this is like a gift to celebrate her great career. She is a friend. This is not about business for us,” Gabbana said.