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Naomi Campbell Was ‘Killing’ Herself with Drugs and Alcohol to Deal with Grief and Abandonment Issues Following the Loss of Gianni Versace



The murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace was extremely hard on supermodel Naomi Campbell, and she’s reflecting on her grief in the new Apple TV+ documentary “The Super Models.”

The four-part docuseries follows the careers of Campbell and super models Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington as they dominated the catwalk in the 1990s.

In an episode of the documentary, Campbell spoke about the shock and grief she suffered following the death of her great friend Gianni Versace.

Versace was murdered in front of his home in Miami’s South Beach, Florida, on July 15, 1997. The 50-year-old was shot to death by 27-year-old serial killer Andrew Cunanan and became his last victim before Cunanan took his own life.

“Grief has been a very strange thing in my life because it doesn’t always show,” she shared. “I go into a shock and freak out when it actually happens, and then later is when I break. But I kept the sadness inside, I just dealt with it.”

“Azzedine Alaïa was my papa. With him, I learned about chosen families. The same for Gianni Versace,” she noted. “He was very sensitive to feeling me, like, he pushed me. He would push me to step outside and go further when I didn’t think I had it within myself to do it. So, when he died, my grief became very bad.”

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The 53-year-old model added that she dealt with her grief and abandonment issues with drugs.

“Addiction is such a bulls—t thing. … You think it’s going to heal that wound. It doesn’t. It can cause such huge fear and anxiety. So I got really angry,” she recalled. “‘When you try to cover something up, your feelings … You spoke about abandonment. I tried to cover that with something. You can’t cover it. I was killing myself. It was very hurtful.”

According to People, Campbell also spoke of the racism she endured as a super model.

“It was hard to be an outspoken Black woman and I definitely got the cane for it many times,” she recalled, adding that when Elite modeling agency founder John Casablancas took her to a meeting with Revlon about a cosmetics contract, she declined due to the pay, which was less than other models for the company.

“But when they told me what they wanted to pay me, I said no in front of the whole room. I said, ‘I get paid that in Tokyo in one day, why would I take that for a contract for a year?’ … “John got very embarrassed and then decided to call me ‘difficult.’ And he then decided he was going to go to the press and say I was difficult and that he fired me. … First of all, let’s get this clear. Models cannot get fired. We are self-employed. Sponsored by our agencies.”

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Campbell went on to say that Casablanca’s words created a stigma surrounding the super model for many years.

“That stigma of his words and his statement to the press messed my work up for many, many years. I’ve heard ‘crazy,’ I’ve heard ‘nightmare,’ I’ve heard ‘difficult.’ I was called difficult because I opened my mouth. Period.”

“The Super Models” is currently available on Apple TV+.

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