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Glossip Girl: The rise of the supermodel role models

March 31st 2014 / Emma Gunavardhana

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If you’re going to get taken under someone’s wing, it might as well be a super star…

We see them as coaches on The Voice, judges on The X Factor and experts on Project Catwalk, so a celebrity mentor isn’t a notion we’re altogether unfamiliar with. But it’s not just when the cameras are rolling, when there’s a premium rate phone-in or when the world is watching that the stars’ nurturing sides come out…

In the fashion world, there’s now a friendship more beautiful than any Vogue cover: veteran supermodel Naomi Campbell and newbie Jourdan Dunn.

Ever since Jourdan appeared on the fashion scene in 2008 there has been public mutual appreciation between the two. The pair dined out at The Firehouse in the capital last week and Jourdan posted a picture of the duo on Instagram with the hashtag #guardianangel.

Naomi’s advice to the 23-year-old has included on-set catering and taking time off: ‘She told me to take my own snacks on shoots in case they forget to feed you - which they do sometimes! And she told me not to forget to ask for time off otherwise you'll be booked in for job after job after job and never get a break.'

Clearly there’s more to their relationship than the sharing of practical on-set tips, and most recently they have teamed up to talk about the lack of black role models in fashion.

Campbell’s endorsement of Dunn isn’t a recent thing. The supermodels walked the catwalk together for Issa in 2008 and at the time it was regarded by observers as a ‘changing of the guard’. Indeed while Naomi is known for being outspoken, so Dunn, who was discovered in her local Primark store, is equally vocal about matters close to her heart.

Admittedly, from what we’ve seen on both the UK and US versions of model talent show The Face, Naomi comes from the Joan Crawford school of mentoring; but you can’t argue with both her and now Jourdan’s success. And could it be Campbell’s influence that’s establishing Dunn as a serious player rather than a tabloid darling and a fleeting star in the fashion world?

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