Friday, April 4, 2008

beauty and anger


Naomi Campbell was arrested again, this time for a little run-in with the police. I‘ve been trying to use her lately and it hasn’t been a breeze. Perhaps it’s due to not particularly liking her – liking helps – and not so much for all her bad press. Campbell was quite unkind to my boss at Chanel in the early 90s, when she was still high in the Trinity, hurling a foul and obscene litany on the phone because my boss could not get an alteration done in the timely manner Ms. Campbell desired. My boss, having a really good (and French) sense of humor, blasted the entire rant on speaker phone in the employees lounge for all us worker-bees to enjoy.

- So why use her at all? Beauty and anger are not necessarily divorced from one another. One’s greatest power can at times feel like a dehumanizing curse. She once said in W that her anger stemmed from not knowing her father (something I can relate to), but I don’t think it explains all.

In the same interview, she expressed surprise/amusement when people were interested in what she wore to her community service gigs for her previous trespassing in anger at the little people. “I’ve never looked bad in my life,” she said (italics theirs).

Whoa, not in your life. The pressure, with so many hands and eyes all over you since you were 15. I’d be pissed too. You could say it's just a photograph but after awhile, one wonders. I’m no Naomi Campbell, but I do know what it’s like to shift the expectation for a nanosecond. Some who smirked or snarled the lipstick and nails were still oddly taken back on the day I showed up without it. “Are you sick?” they asked me.

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