Beauty with a bang: Naomi Campbell’s history of abuse

After claims by content creator Elsa Majimbo, it seems the acclaimed supermodel’s past is coming back to bite her

19 February 2024 - 20:03
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Naomi Campbell poses on the red carpet at the 2024 British Academy of Film and Television Awards (Bafta).
CRUELLA Naomi Campbell poses on the red carpet at the 2024 British Academy of Film and Television Awards (Bafta).

There are many stars in Hollywood and beyond who captivate the industry and their fans with their immense talent. From Russell Crowe to Jonathan Majors, many celebrities have proven to be forces to be reckoned with, even when things get violent.

One of those is catwalk queen Naomi Campbell, who took the world by storm in the 80s and cemented herself as one of the core four supermodels of the 90s.

However, her illustrious career comes with many pitfalls, with some seeing her as the villain. Especially with the claims made by social media content creator Elsa Majimbo after the pair had a falling out that was spurred by a misunderstanding.

Kenyan comedian Elsa Majombo opens up.
Kenyan comedian Elsa Majombo opens up.
Image: Instagram/Elsa Mpho Majimbo


One of her most prolific feuds is with fellow catwalk queen Tyra Banks. The two supermodels have had a long history of not getting along. In a 2005 interview on the Tyra Banks show, Campbell said it was just tabloid fodder spurred on by publications at the time pitting them against each other, but Banks asserted that Campbell had been cold towards her. She cited a 1992 fashion spread with acclaimed photographer Patrick Demarchelier, where Campbell allegedly mistreated her. 

Banks would also claim that Campbell requested she be taken out of a Versace runway show, something that was requested directly by the fashion house’s eponymous founder, Gianni, who was extremely close to Campbell before his passing in 1997.

Their rivalry picked up after social media users noticed Campbell sharing a post discussing Banks’s shocking behaviour on her hit reality competition series America’s Next Top Model. The post claimed Banks was “the real villain” between the pair as reported by The Sun.


While it has become pop culture fodder, Campbell’s history with mobile phones comes with a violent streak that began in the late 90s after she admitted to assaulting her then-assistant, Georgina Galanis, while filming the movie, Prisoner of Love.

The BBC reported that Campbell was accused of lunging at Galanis and “grabbed her by the throat and shook her. Ms Galanis fell to the sofa, shaking and in tears”. It was found during the court case that Campbell became irate with Galanis due to being delayed by Canadian customs. The fight broke out when they arrived at their hotel and were ordering room service. She later told reporters that she would quit the London catwalk scene as it was the source of her stress. She was ordered to attend anger management.

While the original case was solved, Galanis sued Campbell for an undisclosed case that was settled quietly with no details about the case being revealed.


Vanessa Frisbee, another assistant of Campbell’s, would soon be promoted to her victim when she accused the supermodel of assault during an argument they had. Campbell would also sue Frisbee for breach of contract, but Frisbee’s case would be thrown out of court.

Supermodel Tyra Banks made history for Victoria's Secret.
Supermodel Tyra Banks made history for Victoria's Secret.
Image: KMazur/WireImage


While there are varying reports as to when it happened, another one of Campbell’s assistants accused her of hitting her with a phone. In a story by the Globe and Mail, Simone Craig accused Campbell of grabbing her by the arm and throwing her down on a couch. Craig’s lawsuit asserts that she felt like a prisoner when Campbell ordered her to stay in a room at the L’Hermitage Hotel until her work was done. Campbell denied the charges, and they were later dropped by the US federal court. Craig quit immediately after the altercation, having only been employed by Campbell for two weeks.


The third assistant, Amanda Brack, in Campbell’s rage against the phones, would also come out about the abuse she endured on four separate occasions. Speaking to Reuters, Brack’s lawyer said Campbell made her endure verbal, physical and emotional attacks. Brack also claimed Campbell thew a Blackberry in her face after they discovered a piece of Campbell’s luggage was left behind in Brazil.

Brack would go on The Tyra Banks Show a year later to share how she survived Campbell, who tore up her passport and left her in Morocco with no money because she forgot to pack an item of clothing. In 2006, the judge said the case had been “settled and discontinued”.

Media mogul and former TV host, Oprah Winfrey.
Media mogul and former TV host, Oprah Winfrey.
Image: Wiki


While most stars put their best foot forward before an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Campbell lost it while Winfrey's camera crew set up their equipment at her home.

The infamous moment was the case of 41-year-old housekeeper Ana Scovalino, who was struck in the back of the head by Campbell, reportedly with a gem-encrusted Blackberry. While she would tell Winfrey in an interview that she used a regular one, the controversial model was arraigned by police and claimed the attack happened because she could not find a pair of jeans she wanted to wear during the filming.

She had to fork out $363 (R6,894) for Scovalino’s medical bill and attended anger management classes once more. She was also sentenced to five days of community service which she would turn into a circus by rocking up in designer garments she blogged about on W Magazine and received lunches from her favourite restaurants. Shortly after, she wore a T-shirt with the print, “Naomi hit me ...” with “and I loved it” at the back.


While most airports are concerned about explosives and sharp objects, Campbell’s tirade during flights proved platform heels would be their ultimate undoing.

Campbell would plead guilty to four counts after assaulting a police officer at Heathrow airport. The ordeal was ignited after Campbell was looking for a bag containing clothes she was meant to wear for a TV interview went missing. The situation got heated when the pilot personally got out to apologise for the mishap. She was escorted off the plane. She was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, £400 (close to R9,550) fines to each officer she assaulted, £150 (over R3,500) to the pilot for his disrupted flight and a £2,300 (R55,000) fee.

Cara Delevingne in Chanel, Métiers d'Art collection 'Paris Cosmopolite'.
Cara Delevingne in Chanel, Métiers d'Art collection 'Paris Cosmopolite'.
Image: Chanel


After her casting as a judge on The Face, a modelling competition, Campbell would part ways with her real estate billionaire boyfriend, Vladislav Doronin who left her for The Face's season 1 winner Luo Zhilin.

The affair would dominate headlines as modelling opportunities for the former Miss Universe China would be rescinded. “She [Naomi] is trying to take this woman [Zhilin] out for no reason other than dating her ex-boyfriend,” a source told Page Six.

While playing the mean judge on The Face meant Campbell was given a platform to have tirades and hurl insults in front of the cameras, a former contestant would make claims that reignited the heartbreak Campbell experienced in the show’s first season.

Kira Dikhtyar, a Russian gymnast, was cast in the second season of the series. After her elimination in the third episode of the show, Dikhtyar told Page Six that she experienced a lot of psychological abuse from Campbell during that time. Dikhtyar claimed Campbell was still reeling from her break up with her Russian ex-boyfriend and projected her anger onto her.

“She’s an amazing woman, but it’s very hard to work with her. She put all her negative energy on me. After filming ended, they sent me to doctors. I’m still recovering. The network is still paying for my psychiatrist,” said Dikhtyar.


Taking a break from air rage, Campbell tussled with another supermodel and one of Karl Lagerfeld’s muses, Cara Delevigne at a fashion week event. The noisy and packed party saw Campbell get into a disagreement with Delevigne over her disrespect of fashion darling, Rihanna. E! News reported that a pushing match ensued between the two with Delevigne tugging at Campbell’s wig.

Sources claimed that Delevigne had no idea where the rumour came from and told Campbell “get away from me!”

They would both deny the fight ever happened on their social media accounts.

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