SHE’S GOT THIS
Naomi Campbell has always been ready to fight germs
Naomi Campbell is an hour late for our call, but for good reason. Turns out the fashion icon was FaceTiming with her personal trainer — social distancing at its most posh — which is actually why we wanted to chat in the first place. Campbell, the supermodel for whom the term seems several sizes too small, has somewhat surprisingly emerged in these uncertain times as a guru to an anxious horde of germaphobes.
It all started last July when the 49-year-old released a morethan-five-minute travel video featuring her now-famous “seat thing” — the most skilfully executed disinfection of a first-class airline seat in modern visual history. That video, hosted on her YouTube channel, has been viewed more than 2.6 million times.
The cleaning process seemed extreme back then, but now it’s instructional.
Q What has the response been since your Protecting Myself Against Coronavirus video?
A I really don’t know what people think, to be honest. I did it for me. It’s something I’ve been doing like 17 years. When I heard about the virus on the 22nd of February I was talking with a friend, actually Linda (Evangelista), and she told me about these haz-mat suits. So I purchased the suits a month before. I had them not knowing this was going to happen but just wanting to be safe. I feel that you have to do what you have to do to make yourself feel comfortable in a time like this, or in any time, really. I wasn’t thinking about the world.
Q So you’ve always been on top of your travel hygiene game, but when did the severity of this situation sink in?
A I heard about the doctor who tried to explain and then also died from the virus itself.
Q That was right before Paris Fashion Week, which was
Feb. 24 to March 3.
A I was meant to be in Paris for the shows, and I did one in which I was in an isolated dressing room that I asked for. The next morning I decided to leave. I didn’t feel comfortable to be around so many people in this time, so I chose to come back to America.
Q Why not fly back home to London?
A I have two grandmothers alive — one is in her 90s and one is in her late 80s — and because I travel so much I didn’t want to even be near them. I’ve been very wary because my mother had breast cancer. My mother is one of the people I do listen to about building up the immunes ...
Q Have people called you a germaphobe? Is that even a dirty word nowadays?
a People have called me many things. And again that’s their business, it’s not mine. I don’t care what people say — “you’re ridiculous, you’re extra, you’re overreacting” — it’s what makes me feel comfortable. I travel a lot, and I normally have to go straight to work, and my work is my physical appearance. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have nothing. Just for that reason I would always say, “OK, I have to protect myself.”
Q Were you surprised by the number of views that first viral video got?
A In China it got like six million views.
Q Was it planned?
A I said to my friend, “OK, you can shoot it.” She was like, “Has anyone ever shot this?” I’m like, “Never.” And we shot it on a telephone. It was as simple as that. Was I surprised? Yes, I’m surprised. I’ve had more people talk to me about that than the job I’ve been doing for 34 years.
Q Is it weird to be known for basically being super-clean?
A I accept what we’re going through. Basically I’m embracing this having to be still. I’m not going to fight it. We cannot panic, because when you panic and you stress, it takes from your immune. We have to de-stress. It’s easier said than done, I know it is.
Q It seems like self-isolation might have some benefits.
A Oh my gosh, there’s so many. Being still just makes you be at one with yourself. Again I look for the positive. I’m doing all these things to enjoy my home that I never get to enjoy. I’m in my home like four days a month.
Q At this point, folks would watch (and have the time to watch) a video of you wiping down your kitchen counter. Any other routines you have to help folks at home not go nuts?
A I do my drink with celery juice. I do a bath with Epsom salts and Kosher salts and vinegar, it’s also very calming for the nervous system. I sit in there for 30 minutes, and then I do a facial. In the afternoons I read, I listen to music, I dance.
Q What gives you hope?
A I think of someone I was very blessed to know, Nelson Mandela. His life was taken from him for 27 years in a tiny cell. If he could be the way he was, we can get through this.
Q In October, one of your YouTube fans asked if you were scared of anything, and you said no. Still no?
A You can’t change what
God’s plan is. I don’t want to live in fear. Fear is something else that is not good for your nervous system, not good for your immune. Your body, your facial muscles, everything clenches and constricts when you have fear.
The Washington Post
Famously fastidious supermodel Naomi Campbell takes the coronavirus very seriously and her videos about keeping it clean are serving a useful purpose for many of her followers.