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Nothing super about Naomi Campbell
Updated: 2004-10-28 08:55

Naomi Campbell doesn't like being called a "supermodel."

"I don't like the word," the British beauty said yesterday during a speech at Shanghai University.

Naomi Campbell answers questions from students at Shanghai University October 26, 2004. [eastday]
"It is just putting some levels to a model's path - I'd rather call myself a working model."

Campbell was made guest artistic director for the modelling school affiliated to the university.

After the speech, she spoke to some of the students about the catwalk.

Maybe the leggy 33-year-old was modest - a trait she is not renowned for.

After all, Campbell is one of the top 10 models in the world, earning US$28.9 million a year.

Campbell is almost as famous for being temperamental as for her stunning looks, and true to form, she ducked out of the airport, refusing to pose for any prearranged photos on Tuesday.

Talent scouts spotted Campbell at her ballet school at 15.

She quickly broke new ground, becoming the first black model to appear on the cover of the French and British editions of fashion magazine "Vogue" and even on the cover of "Time."

"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all," is the way she describes her career, quoting Helen Keller, the deaf and blind woman who struggled to overcome her disabilities over a century ago.

"My job gives me freedom to pursue my dream and surpass myself, and to meet inspiring people such as Nelson Mandela."

Campbell has diversified from modelling, releasing a song with Japanese singer Toshi. She is also the co-author of the best-selling novel "Swan" and promotes charities supporting underprivileged children.

Shen Zhiwen, vice dean of the modelling school, said other international supermodels will be invited to give classes and provide instructions in the future.

"China is the world's biggest garment manufacturer and consumer of clothes," he said.

"There are more than 50,000 garment companies, but only about 10,000 professional models in the country, which leaves a big gap.

"The international catwalk needs more Asian models, especially Chinese models, because European fashion houses want to break into this huge market."

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