Thursday, January 23, 2014

Naomi On Kate: ´What You See Is What You Get.´

Today Kate Moss turns 40. To celebrate, Naomi Campbell writes  about their 25 year friendship and why she adores her supermodel ‘little sister.´

Naomi & Kate In 1995
I first met Kate Moss in Los Angeles in 1992. She was 15, I was 18. It was a brief meeting but I remember her being strikingly quiet, she hardly spoke. She can be very shy at times, if she doesn’t know you she doesn’t speak. The other striking thing, obviously, was her beautiful face. I knew she was special from that first minute I saw her.

Some months later in 1993 we were both working in Madrid and that’s when I kidnapped her. I said: “You can’t be here on your own! You’re coming with me.” That was the start of a long friendship.

Back then we were young, so young. We were on the road a lot, travelling the world, working. Shoots would go on for hours and hours. You might be doing them back to back, day and night. We were often in the same places, so we came together, protected each other and it quickly became a lot of fun.

Kate: At Her Peak
What’s Kate like? Well, she’s honest, loyal and straightforward. There’s no bullshit. She’s not pretentious in any way. What you see is what you get. I love that about her. After all, we’re both from South London. I’m from Streatham, she’s from Croydon, and from working class families. She’s never tried to be anything else and nor have I. We know our roots.

I was lucky enough to have met Christy Turlington already, and then I took Kate under my wing and we became a three. Christy and I showed Kate the ropes. If we knew a designer was a certain way we’d explain it to her, we’d tell her how people worked and what to look out for. We’d share everything. We worked so hard in those days, and then in the evening we would go out, for dinner, to concerts.

Kate lived between Christy’s flat and my flat in New York and then when we travelled to do the shows in Italy and Paris, we’d try to stay in the same hotels and on the same floor. We might have a break somewhere like Marrakech after the collections and then we’d be back to face 25 shows.

We were like sisters. Kate was cool, stylish. She’d sometimes tell us how to dress “You need to be a bit more funky and down beat,” she’d say. On her advice I once wore Adidas sneakers with a Galliano dress, which in retrospect was an appalling faux pas. I realised that Kate Moss could get away with things that the rest of us couldn’t.

We were all practical in the flat. I was tidiest and liked to cook and we’d organise Sunday lunches for whoever was over from London. Nice big English roasts, with stuffing, sage and onion, with potatoes. I wasn’t very good at doing the Yorkshire pudding, Kate did that, and we’d have English friends around to remind us of London and family.

Still Good Friends: Naomi & Kate In 2012
After one Sunday lunch we wanted to go and see Nirvana, who were playing at Columbus Circle, where the old Coliseum was, but we didn’t have tickets. We decided to blag it. So we get there and say, “So have our tickets been left here?” And the woman was like, “No, I’m sorry, there’s none.”

We did the whole, “that’s so weird because they are supposed to be here”. And all the while the lady is looking at Kate Moss. Her picture was all over New York for Calvin Klein at the time, and they must’ve thought, well it must be true. So in the end we got to see Nirvana and we got backstage. Where there’s a will there’s a way, we’d say.

We were completely unaware of the sudden attention around “models” that was going on around us at the time, with Christy and Cindy [Crawford] and Amber [Valetta] too. We never paid attention to press and we did our jobs and tried to enjoy it at the same time.

Kate and I were a backbone of support for each other. We’d meet after work for dinner, we’d go out. We talked about boys, as girls do, and the boys we’d met. Once we were with a person we’d still see each other. If her birthday was in LA, I’d go there. If mine was in New York, she’d come from wherever she was. We’d make an effort to be around for Christmas, birthdays, summer holidays. If I was doing a fashion show and she wasn’t in it, she’d still come and watch.

We were very spontaneous, never pre-planned. We lived life, enjoyed life everywhere we went. It was fun. We were professional models but we were also growing up. We started so young, we were still having our teenage years.

There are so, so many good times I remember, so many. There was the time in February 1998 when we flew to meet Nelson Mandela in Cape Town.

Kate helped me pull together a load of people for a benefit for The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and we did it in a short amount of time. We were adventurous. Granddad [Mandela] had a tea party for us in the Presidential House in Cape Town and he introduced himself to everyone, hairdressers, make-up artists, everyone. Amber was so overwhelmed she started crying. That was such a memorable trip to share with friends.

And obviously Kate and I have seen each other through the good and the bad. Kate has stood by me through it all. You can count on your hands the friends who’ll be there for you in the tough times, and she’s one of them. We can sit down and laugh about things, but she’s also respectful and mature.

She knows me very well and while sometimes we might tell a story differently (“No, I remember you didn’t wake up on time,” or “you fell over when you were doing that”) but at the end of the day it’s that we were together that counts, that I’ve grown up with her.

One thing I like about our friendship is that we’ve learned to resolve issues one-on-one, we don’t let anyone else get involved. We don’t have to speak every day but we have a connection. Sometimes she’ll know something is up, she’ll call and say, “Are you okay?” She’s very intuitive, very instinctive. She might not tell you she’s noticed something straight away but she doesn’t miss a beat. Nothing gets past her.

I’m proud of Kate, I’m very proud of her, I think what she’s done and what she’s still doing is phenomenal. There was never any jealousy between us. We were always supportive of each other and happy for one another. I respect her husband Jamie tremendously; I love him. Kate is also an amazing mother.

Perhaps what I love best about Kate is that she tries to keep the child within her, I would never want her to lose it. Yes, she’s 40, I’m 43, but it’s always great to have your child in you. It’s that vulnerability that makes you special, that makes you do the creative things, she so has that and when we’re together it comes out. We’re like we’re at secondary school. That’s what happens with girlfriends who’ve grown up together. That’s the charm of the friendship.

We always laugh together, always. I feel completely comfortable with her, I can really let go, let my hair down and have a real laugh. When we’re together people always say, “Oh my God you two are such entertainment. You’re so funny.”

Never complain, never explain is her way. She’s very private, she likes to be private, that’s her approach.

I don’t know what I’m getting her for a present yet. I will be running around the shops to get her something in time to give it to her on her birthday.

She’s like my little sister, and 40 or not she’s still my little sister. We even have nicknames for each other, but I don’t think she’d want me to tell you!

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