I just finished reading a piece, written by a fashion reporter, about Naomi Campbell. The supermodel apparently has an anger problem fueled by delusions of superiority and entitlement that I won’t go into here, but she’s been in trouble with the legal system more than once, for assualting her “service providers.” Apparently, anger management classes and a slap on the wrist wasn’t enough to get the supermodel to modify her behavior. This time, she was ordered to do five days of community service, cleaning up for the NYC Department of Sanitation, after pleading guilty to throwing a mobile phone at an assistant.
A look at the beautiful Ms. Campbell’s “official” web site mentions the fabulous life she leads, without any mention of her community service stint in NYC. It also doesn’t mention that this “punishment” will be part of a 20-page feature planned for the July issue of W magazine, among other things.
Community service isn’t a laughing matter, yet, to my amazement and dismay, quite a few of the fashion media seem to think that Ms. Campbell’s stunning outfits and “I’m SO above this” attutide, is a hysterical joke. The fashion writer whose column I just read, supports her shocking behavior, suggesting that Naomi was making a shrewd “fashion statement,” wearing clothes and accessories to the “job” at the Sanitation Garage that cost more than an average civil servant makes in months, and changing into a stunning gown and stilettos, and sweeping past the Sanitation Workers, into a Rolls Royce, for the finale of her service.
I write about beauty and fashion, among other things, but I also have worked for the same Department of Sanitation that Ms. Campbell sneers at along with her fashionista supporters. In fact, I helped set up NYC recycling programs after Local Law 19 was passed, mandating recycling for all the Boroughs. Even though I was Director of Special projects and wore a suit to work, I never thought that I was somehow more entitled or better than the hard working Sanitation men and women I came in contact with. I have worn a work jacket and boots, and they were not designer. Even if I had been able to afford such luxe duds, to wear them would have been inappropriate–a “diss” that would send the message I was somehow better or more entitled to do so than the actual San workers.
In my opinion, Ms. Campbell’s antics were a huge slap in the face of decent, decidedly-UN-glamorous, civil service workers, who provide essential services to all New Yorkers. These unseen workers keep the City running smoothly and safely. Even Ms. Campbell cannot live in a City piled high with garbage. Essential services are not something any of us should take for granted.
The Sanitation workers who provided such merriment to Ms. Campbell and her ilk, will never be able to afford a luxury Rolly Royce to take them home after a hard days’ work. And, these men and women don’t just work dirty, hard jobs to make even more money in fashion spreads and as an atonement for a violent act(s), but to put food on their family tables.
While I agree that there is no reason to look terrible at work, even dirty work, the outrageously expensive outfits, the mean-spirited attitude, and the finale gown and Rolls antics, were tacky. Sadly, Ms. Campbell knows nothing of why she was sent to do community service. She obviously doesn’t feel bad that she hurt someone, and worse, she views it as a great way to be rewarded with money. Her “I’m above it all” attitude shows just who Ms. Campbell thinks she is, but it shows her ugly side. A pretty model with a nasty streak is an ugly human being. Next time Ms. Campbell gets nasty with one of those “service providers” who she thinks she is better than, I hope she is given a stint in jail, since to date, she obviously has learned nothing about humility, patience, kindness or dignity. She has been rewarded, not punished. Instead of another chance to promote herself, I hope (if she shows her nasty temper again), that she will have ample time to reflect about how she appears to others, in her less than stylish prison garb. This will give her a chance to learn what equal means. Abusing people who work hard at jobs she will never have to do “for real,” given her beauty, is digusting and base. Perhaps, it will also tone down her ego a notch.
Ms. Campbell learned nothing from this experience except that remorse isn’t as necessary as money and media attention.