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Naomi Obsession: 'Now Walk'


A Campbell-centric recap of The Face Season Premiere

What State of the Union speech? As far as I'm concerned, the most anticipated event of the month is the premiere of The Face, the new modeling competition which debuted on Oxygen last night.

Before we go any further, I have to come out about something that only my closest friends and a few family members already know: I'm a proud gay man, but for over 20 years I've been in love with a woman.
Her name is Naomi. Naomi Campbell.

I can root back my obsession to 1992, when Naomi appeared in a Michael Jackson video for his forgettable single "In The Closet". In it, Naomi shuffles around the King of Pop in a white mini-skirt, the sepia tones of Herb Ritt's photography enhancing her splendor. From that moment on, I began putting up posters of Naomi in my room, I cut out all the magazines she appeared in, and even got her Barbie doll for Christmas. Growing up, I ditched the paraphernalia, but my fascination never fizzled out.

So imagine my excitement when I found out that she would pop up in my living room every Tuesday, in high-resolution. Hosted by Nigel Barker, The Face takes on a concept similar to NBC's The Voice, but applied to modeling: three supermodels (Coco Rocha, Karolina Kurkova, and Naomi) coach teams of newbies as they vie to become the new face of a national cosmetics campaign.

The prospect of hearing Naomi herself give out modeling tips got me boiling with anticipation, and the season premiere lived up to my expectations. In the first minutes of the episode, the aspiring "faces" are invited to a Zac Posen runway presentation at New York Fashion Week.

Then this happens:


Naomi opens the Zac Posen show, her hips rolling down the runway, with a poise and attitude that commends all eyes on her. As Elton John once said, "You have to see Naomi Campbell walk to understand that she deserves every cent she's ever made". Clearly, no one can do it like her. One of the contenders rightly commented that seeing Naomi walk was like "seeing Michael Jackson do the moonwaIk": An inimitable art form. As she makes her appearance, the girls -- me included -- go into a frenzy. Later on in the show,
an electrifying walk tutorial by Miss Campbell herself brings me close to a spontaneous orgasm.

If there were any doubts about it, the first episode made clear that Naomi is the star of the show. Although her co-stars Coco and Karolina come across as lovely and personable women, Naomi rules the spotlight (she's also the executive producer of the show, so that helps). Her presence triggers uncontrollable reactions: One of the girls on her team balled out an oh-so-unprofessional "Oh my God, I love you so much!" when she found herself in front of her -- basically quoting me in all my imaginary interactions with Naomi.

Naomi also proves to be a natural when it comes to reality-TV diva-hood. In the first hour, she shows an untamed taste for competition (her smirky "Let the games begin!" got me hooked), delivers killer one-liners
("I like her, she's got balls"), and throws snarky remarks at her fellow coaches ("Don't worry Karolina, you'll grow to like her"). And if we trust the previews, there won't be any shortage of rage outbursts, which I think is what everybody is waiting for. All that on top of exuding unbearable beauty.

But the show is mostly an opportunity to discover the humane side of Naomi, as she finds herself rooting for the underdogs and the most inexperienced girls. After such intense emotions, I forgot their names... Who's your favorite girl?

Watch the full episode here

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Julien Sauvalle