Naomi Campbell goes to war


And I don’t mean armed with her Blackberry. Aside from providing headline fodder (and the occasional gorgeous photo shoot), Naomi Campbell is not exactly famous for her social and cultural contributions, but recently, she’s joined the fight against the forces of poverty, ignorance and the evils of WWII with a fashion show and a role in Spike Lee‘s new movie.

On Sept. 20, Campbell’s Fashion for Relief featured a lineup of celebrities catwalking to raise funds for victims of floods that hit the U.K. earlier this year. In the spirit of giving, the show was open to the public, for the mere price of £100 to £750. But if I’d happened to accidentally fly to London and happened to accidentally charge $1400 USD to my credit card for the show, here are four reasons why it would have been worth the price: Campbell joined by Jodie Kidd, Yasmin LeBon and Elle Macpherson.

Pretty, yes, but I think I’m more excited about the Spike Lee news. It’s true that the phrase “model-turned-actor” is generally alarming. (I’m looking at you, Elle Macpherson. You were sexy as a bi-curious lawyer in A Girl Thing, but your acting style was 100% strike-a-pose.) But Campbell is a master of the cameo, and in any case, she admits that her part is “a very, very small role.”

No, I am looking forward to the film itself, which is based on James McBride‘s gorgeously written Miracle at St. Anna. The novel tells the story of four soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 92nd Division, an all-black unit of buffalo soldiers, trapped behind enemy lines in a remote Italian village. Caught between an advancing German army on one side and the prejudice and incompetence of their white American commanders on the other, the soldiers have to make peace with the Italian locals and their own fear and rage to survive. I’m not sure how Campbell will fit in, but the book is worth cinematic treatment.

And one more worthy cause for Campbell: Here she is at the “Unite for a Better World Gala Dinner” a couple of weeks ago, helping to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s charities. Philanthropy can be a beautiful thing.

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