Naomi Campbell Says Hotel Turned her Away Because of her Skin Color

Fashion model Naomi Campbell recently spoke out about discrimination she has faced because of the color of her skin.

Campbell, 49, told the magazine Paris Match in a recent interview that she was turned away from a French hotel while attending the Cannes Film Festival. She told the magazine that she was refused service because of her darker skin complexion. "I was recently in a city in the south of France, at the time of the Cannes Film Festival, where I was invited to participate in an event in a hotel whose name I will not mention," she told the magazine. "[The doorman] did not want to let my friend and I in because of the color of my skin."

The fashion icon told the magazine the man at the entrance of the hotel “pretended that the place was [full]" despite letting "other people pass." She said she was “shocked” in the moment and decided to speak out about the challenges people of color still have to overcome today.

“I have always wanted people to be treated fairly. [I] do not believe that it goes without saying. The challenge is permanent,” Campbell told the magazine. “It is [because of] these kinds of shocking moments that I will continue to express myself and make myself heard.”

This is not the first time the model has spoken out about racism. In an interview with Vogue in April, she told the magazine a “certain country” refused to take her picture because of the color of her skin.

“I’m the face of a new campaign and I was told that because of the color of my skin a certain country would not use my picture,” she told the magazine. “For me it was a reality check. I never believe in the hype, so it just kept things in perspective for me. Now I would like to know that models [of color] get the same opportunities and fees in advertising.”

Campbell has been a fashion trailblazing icon since she got her start in the fashion industry. She caught her first break in the industry when she was just 15 years old and has been on the covers of more than 500 magazines throughout her career. She has also been featured in campaigns for Burberry, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Prada and many others. The supermodel was also the first Black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue, British Vogue, Russian Vogue and TIME Magazine. In 2007, she slammed British Vogue magazine for the lack of Black models, stating that it is a “pity” people don’t include more Black models in the fashion industry, The Guardian previously reported. “Black models are being sidelined by major modeling agencies, it’s a pity that people don’t appreciate black beauty,” the model said at the time. Campbell is not the only Black celebrity who has spoken out as they continue to face discrimination. In May, rapper Meek Mill said he planned to sue a hotel in Las Vegas after he was denied access to the hotel’s pool. Mill posted a 42-second video to Instagram, which showed him speaking to a hotel representative from The Cosmopolitan Hotel while inside the vehicle. The rapper can be heard telling the representative that he was told he would be arrested if he did not leave hotel property. “The Cosmopolitan Hotel…. and it’s a few other hotels that be doing this to Black entertainers because they don’t want too many Blacks on [their] property! Vegas notorious for this too [it’s] not just me!” the rapper wrote on Twitter on May 25.

The rapper, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was at the hotel to support DJ Mustard, who has a residency at Marquee Nightclub and was hosting a party on Saturday, May 23, NBC News previously reported. The Cosmopolitan said in a statement to the news station that the city fire marshal informed them the party had reached maximum capacity before Mill arrived. Security reportedly told the rapper that he would not be allowed inside because of capacity issues, but Mill “refused to depart the property and was then informed that any continued attempt would result in trespassing.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.