Mar 29, 2009
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Naomi Campbell on catwalk for Mumbai victims

Mar 29, 2009

By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - British supermodel Naomi Campbell walked down the ramp in Mumbai on Saturday to pay tribute to the victims of last November's Mumbai attacks.

Along with a host of Indian celebrities, the 39-year-old Campbell helped raise funds for the city's emergency medical services in a charity show called "Mai Mumbai."

Campbell heads a charity called "Fashion for Relief."

Islamist gunmen went on a three-day rampage on some of the most famous landmarks in Mumbai, the financial and entertainment capital of India, killing 166 people.

After the show, Campbell, dressed in a red saree and traditional Indian jewelry, told Reuters why she loves coming to India but won't act in Bollywood again, and how the global economic slowdown has affected her charity work.

Q. Could you begin by talking about how the concept of Mai Mumbai came about? A. "I am a model with IMG (International Management Group) in America and Europe and they were telling me they wanted to do something for the bombings that happened at the Taj (hotel) and the Oberoi (hotel) and they asked me, what would you like to do, and I said I would like to contribute Fashion for Relief, and it just started from there.

Q. You are known for your charity work, in places like South Africa.

A. "That's where I am headed next. I have to do an orphanage in Cape Town and see Mr (Nelson) Mandela."

Q. What made you come to India?

A. "I have been many times to India, and it's been a place of, I don't know, it really has been a place of thinking and relaxing and rejuvenating. So, I have been asking Fern (Mallis, Senior Vice President, IMG) so many times, I want to be in India, go to India fashion week, why will no one ever bring me! I love India and I am so happy to be here. This was what was meant to be. I think God has a plan for everything and there was no better way to come here and do this show."

Q. Do you think enough people do fashion for charity?

A. "I don't do it for public adulation, even though I want the public to see it. What matters to me is that we make our contribution, as a fashion society, because many people feel that fashion designers or people in fashion are superficial and we don't give and we don't care. It's not true. We do care. Like you have actors do something. You have them do a presentation, you have the singers do a concert, this is our contribution, and this is what we do.

Q. How do fashion shows like the one you just did contribute besides the kind of money they bring in?

A. "We do have silent auctions and we try to be discreet. I also hound people for private donations. We are in the middle of a (financial) crisis and that is why, even more so I have to count on private donations. I worry that charities in the world will suffer, but I can only focus on the ones that I work with. It is going to be tough for them in this crisis. They rely so much on private donations and this is the time we need to think about these charities and this for me, is the most important thing.

Q. You did an Indian film called "Karma, Confessions and Holi."

A. "I did that film four years ago.

Q. Are you open to doing more such films?

A. "I don't think so, no. I am someone who lives one day at a time. I am unpredictable. When I do something, I give it a 100 per cent, and I enjoy modeling. I love what I do and I have no complaints. It has been good to me.

(Editing by Matthias Williams)

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