January 07, 2013 11:58am PT by Michael O'Connell
Naomi Campbell Will Show a Softer Side on Oxygen's 'The Face'
In the decade since modeling became a fixture in TV reality competitions, Naomi Campbell has noticeably avoided the fray.
But the 42-year-old fashion icon, one of the industry's first "supermodels," ends her non-participation streak when Oxygen modeling competition The Face premieres Feb. 12. Holding court at the Television Critics Association winter press tour Monday, Campbell talked about her move into television, possibly diffusing a few preconceptions about her stoic reputation in the process.
VIDEO: Naomi Campbell Brings High Drama to Oxygen's 'The Face'
"I've been asked for the last 12 years to do television," said the model. "[What appealed] to me was the whole thing about mentoring. I've been working 26 years, and I do feel like I have something to share."
To illustrate the EP's on-camera role in the series, the clip that kicked off the presentation -- Shine America president Eden Gaha, models Karolina Kurkova and Coco Rocha and host Nigel Barker also sat on the panel -- showed a teary Campbell embracing a shunned contestant.
"It was an emotional journey for me," said Campbell. "It hit me about the fourth or fifth day in that I wouldn't just be coming into the room and telling the girls what to do... I made it clear to all of them that I was there for them. It was a big learning curve for me."
Unlike obvious comparison America's Next Top Model, the panel of models on this show don't double as judges. Winners are chosen by a revolving door of clients and fashion brands -- something Campbell was quick to point out on several occasions.
Campbell, recently in the headlines for a reported November assault in Paris that left her relying on crutches, fueled questions about her injury when the she limped on stage with Gaha at her side.
"I had an injury with my knee, and I am on the mend," she politely responded, "but I cannot discuss any further because there is an investigation."