Naomi Campbell has al­ways been ready to fight germs

Ottawa Citizen - - You - HE­LENA AN­DREWS-DYER

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.

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