The iconic supermodel and activist tell i-D about being photographed at her home in Kenya by Luis Alberto Rodriguez, and her hopes for 2021.
“When I’m in Kenya there are days that are less hectic than others, but I’m always busy. I’m being more careful at the moment because of the situation with COVID, but I still saw the kids in the orphanage that I support, I didn’t want to let them down. I want to reach as many people as I can. I want to spread awareness. There’s a part of me where, if I love something, I want the world to know about it.
“We were working, too we were even shooting on Boxing Day! We shot during the day, we shot at night, but the atmosphere on set with Carlos and Luis and Jawara was so fun, so easy there was always a boombox somewhere close by playing music that it just felt like we were taking pictures on vacation. I think that’s something you can see: in how at ease I am; in the style of Luis’ photography; in the way, Carlos has styled me, and in the fun, Jawara had with the hair. We got to be a bit flamboyant, and it didn’t really feel like work, to be honest, it just felt like dressing up!
“It was just very real, very organic. And I felt proud, humbled, and happy to be part of a shoot with young creatives that are all my skin color, and that I’m getting to work with them after so many years of being in the fashion industry. It’s very rare that this has happened to me. Luis is the third photographer of color I’ve worked with in my whole career in fashion.
“When you see these images, I hope you see that Kenya is beautiful, that Africa is beautiful. I think people now are going to really open their minds and start to understand that real beauty is in Africa. There are so many gems, so many hidden secrets. I’ve been coming here since 1994 and I’m still discovering things.
“At the end of 2020, my main reflections were on the need for us to move upward and forward. We have to rise to every challenge and walk through it. And we will get through it. 2021 is going to be a great year, we’ve just got a few more bumps to get through first. Nothing disappears overnight, but we just need to get through this first quarter. After that, I believe that this is going to be an amazing year.
“Actually, I don’t just believe it will be; I feel it will be.”
Photography: Luis Alberto Rodriguez
Fashion director: Carlos Nazario
Hair Jawara at Art Partner using Dyson.
Make-up by: Bimpe Onakoya and Naomi Campbell.
Styling assistance Raymond Gee, Christine Nicholson, Cari Pacheco, and Jennifer De La Cruz.
Hair assistance: Matt Benns.
Casting director: Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Post-production: Michael Moser.
Model Naomi Campbell at Models1.
Content courtesy of I-D & Nairobi fashion hub