Discipline and a
I never thought I would ever, in a million years mention Naomi Campbell, role model and me in the same sentence but please hear me out.
I recently watched a couple of episodes of a reality model show called ‘The Face’ which features our very own Naomi Campbell as one of the coaches/mentors. The concept of the show is that out of twenty-something wannabe models and a series of tests, three supermodels – Naomi Campbell, Karolina Kurkova and Coco Rocha – each select four girls who they want to mentor, making a total of 12 girls. So each supermodel is a coach/mentor to her group of girls and each week all the models go through various tests as a group to get to the winning team.
First of all, it goes without saying that Naomi Campbell at 42 looks great. Yes she has money and good genes; however, I suspect that she works hard to look that good so note to self.
What is striking about Naomi in this show is that she doesn’t apologise for who she is. She plainly says that she is very competitive and wants her team to win. She mentions characteristics that she is looking for in her girls – Drive, Discipline and a Thick skin. She acknowledges that the fashion industry is ruthless and competitive and in order to survive it you have to suck it up and keep going irrespective of how you’re feeling.
In one of the tests, the girls were required to choose a complete outfit and strike a pose. One of the girls chose a shoe that was too small and was a bit teary about it, even I could feel her pain through the television! Miss Campbell asked her ‘what’s wrong with you? Are those tears I see?’ After denying it a bit the girl finally owns up that her shoes are too small. What did Naomi say? Something along the lines of ‘You can’t go in front of a client and complain about what you’re given, you have to wear it, pose and suck it up!’ Bloody hell I thought! That’s tough love right there.
As harsh as that may sound, ‘suck it up and get on with it’ is true, it’s life! Life isn’t always easy, things don’t always go the way you want it, when you want it; you just have to keep moving forward. Don’t stop and turn back just because the only pair of shoes available is a size or more too small. On runway shows the models aren’t always given the right size shoes, with the heels that they’re comfortable with.
And that’s the same thing in life, in the real world. In order to succeed you have to keep going no matter what. Drive, Discipline and a Thick skin.
Drive – to keep going no matter what, irrespective of the setbacks, the knockbacks and the rejections; believe me, you will encounter a lot of those on the road to success.
Discipline – to ignore every unnecessary distraction that will keep you from doing the things that you need to do to achieve your goals. Isn’t it funny how when you need to study, do research or make an important phone call, all of a sudden tidying up, doing the laundry or doing the dishes become all important?
Thick skin – oh yes, in order to succeed your skin has to be thicker than that of an elephant and a rhinoceros combined (if that were possible!). This is because you will experience some level of failure and rejection; people will say negative things about you, about your goals. Colleagues, friends and even family members will try and knock you down but you have to be strong enough for those things not to set you back; for them to be like water off a duck’s back.
Naomi Campbell is a perfect example of having these qualities; please don’t get me wrong she isn’t an angel, far from it but then who is? I love the fact that she’s been through what she’s been through, fought her personal demons, and paid her dues. From the show it seems that she now knows who she is and she doesn’t apologise for it. She acknowledges that she’s competitive and wants to win; you can take it or leave it. Of course such an attitude comes with age and experience, knowing and accepting who you are.
When you’re young irrespective of the facade you try and project, you want people to like and accept you. When you’re older and you’ve gone through all sorts of experiences, you don’t care whether anyone, with the exception of close family and friends, likes you. When you’re older you know who you are, what you want, what you like, and the things you won’t compromise on.
So you go Naomi, you’ve come a long way from the crazy temper tantrums, the phone throwing, the drugs, etc. You’re showing yourself to be a competitive, driven and disciplined woman with a thick skin (with all those tabloid reports you have to have one!) who knows what she wants, sucks it up, goes for it and will not stop until the goal is reached.
You have officially joined my list of role models which include, my mum, Oprah Winfrey, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, women who are strong, driven, flawed, imperfect, disciplined and ambitious; and I salute you.
Yes, Naomi Campbell, I salute you!