Naomi Campbell, whose formerly excessive-seeming, germaphobic air-travel precautions now just look downright reasonable, launched a YouTube “talk show” show today, No Filter with Naomi. I say “talk show,” in quotes, because the live-stream is what every talk show is nowadays: A celebrity streaming from home from a single, fixed angle. Funny how stars really are just like us, or at least, those of us who have talked into a camera on the internet. Campbell’s first guest was her fellow golden-era supermodel Cindy Crawford. They chatted candidly for about 50 minutes, and the entire thing felt like eavesdropping on someone else’s FaceTime.
They saved their detailed conversation about the way things are until the very end of their chat. At that point, it was made clear that celebrities, in fact, are not just like us and a massively privileged class who will in all likelihood ride out a plague and economic collapse just fine, thank you very much.
“I think the strangest thing is just not knowing,” said Crawford from her home in Malibu. “Like, not having any plans, but also not even knowing when you can make plans. It’s like, we don’t even know where the light at the end of the tunnel is. I mean, we know it will come at some point but, y’know, I’m blessed. I can afford groceries and I think it’s hard to give advice to people because we’re already privileged so I’m very aware that not having to be worried about affording groceries or a cell phone bill is an amazing luxury.” She went on to discuss “small” blessings, which include living by the ocean and being surrounded by family.
“I don’t think it’s ever gonna go back the same, in terms of the hygiene,” said Campbell. “For me, never. But when we get this...I will call it a new reset because I really felt like the planet, Mother Nature, needed a break. I felt like a lot of gluttony and excess that this truly was just like, ‘It’s too much.’ This being still, I’m loving it. I don’t love the circumstance of what people are going through, the deaths, the friends that I’ve lost, or the friends and families I know that lost loved ones, also...this is horrible. But the stillness I can see in the air. Do you not see the difference in the airspace in L.A.?”
There was something sort of refreshing in Campbell and Crawford’s conversation, which made no bones about their privilege and didn’t come couched in “Imagine”-ary smarm. (This was something initially noted by my indefatigably correct colleague Hazel Cills when I started sharing clips in Slack. In a follow-up DM, she told me, “I hope more rich ppl talk about what free clothes they have.”) Campbell and Crawford were just two supermodels talking about “all those wonderful caterings we used to have with Herb in the desert.”
“We were given things,” Campbell said, recalling the glory days in this time of economic collapse. “You remember, we’d say, ‘I love that outfit.’ They’d say, ‘Take it from the runway.’” Must have been nice!
At one point, when discussing a star-studded Thierry Mugler show, neither could remember Traci Lords’s name.
At another point, Campbell talked about not having phones when they were coming up (with no apparent awareness of her reputation as a phone-thrower).
And there was some awkwardness, which sort of comes with the live territory.
This is me at least a dozen or so times every Zoom hangout.