Q&A

'The Face' Returns: Naomi Campbell Knows How to 'Send a Tweet and Instagram' (Q&A)

Supermodels, they're just like us -- the executive producer of the Oxygen series, which returned Wednesday, talks about her social media skills, her show's new season and why Kendall Jenner deserves some respect.
Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP

Let's face it, when it comes to becoming the next supermodel, there's no better mentor than Naomi Campbell.

Returning for the second season of The Face, executive producer Campbell is ready to guide a new group of girls to become the next big thing. The Oxygen series, which focuses on helping model hopefuls develop their modeling and branding careers, welcomes two new supermodel coaches, Lydia Hearst and Anne V, to join Campbell and returning host Nigel Barker this season.

In a phone interview with Pret-a-Reporter, Campbell shared what she most looks forward to this season, how social media plays an important role for up-and-coming designers and the young models she currently admires (Kendall Jenner, included).

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What can we expect from season two of The Face?

What's great about this season is we have 10 episodes as opposed to eight, so you get us for 10 weeks. The challenges are extremely tough. … You really get to see the girls who have endurance, passion and drive who really want this. They want to be in the industry, a working model. They can basically walk out from The Face into a casting. And that's what we want. There are a lot of tears [this season]. I push my girls. If they have the ability and endurance, I push them. There's a lot of doubt sometimes, with the girls thinking they can't achieve something, and it's wonderful seeing they can. The transformation of seeing the girls from when they first arrive to whatever point they get to within the show is what makes me happy to do the show. That's what it's all about.

There are two new mentors this season -- Lydia Hearst and Anne V. Do you feel a new group dynamic?

The dynamic is great. We all have our own mentoring styles. It makes it refreshing and fun. It's interesting for me to see how they work, too, because Anne is more of a Victoria's Secret/Sports Illustrated type of girl, while Lydia has done both editorial and commercial. We've all done different things, so it's nice to see how they maneuver and work with young, aspiring models.

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You mentioned how you like to push your girls. What are some words of wisdom you usually offer?

You have to be driven and have thick skin. You can't take things too personally. Do not lose focus of your goal, but always know that if you're not right for something, it's not about you, personally. It's just not right for this particular job. Your time will come. Do not give up hope. It's hard to be patient when you're so eager, I get it. But there is a place for you. You've got something special, so keep your charm. Don't try to be anybody else. Be you.

Be You. We like the sound of that. Since the modeling world has changed so much since you started, what challenges do you think up-and-coming models face today?

It's much more competitive. There are so many more models and agencies out there. Instead of choosing out of 10 girls, it's 1,000 now. It's moving much faster. You get to know one girl and then another one is coming right up. I'm grateful for the time I came into this business. I'm grateful to be with a group of wonderful ladies -- Cindy [Crawford], Christy [Turlington], Stephanie [Seymour], Claudia [Schiffer]. It was nice not to be alone.

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Considering it's tougher for models to stand out these days, how important do you think it is for models to use social media?

I think it's definitely very important these days. Everyone wants to know if the model they're hiring does social media. I picked it up nearly two years ago, and now I can send a tweet and Instagram. I thought I would never do that, but now I am, and I like it. Instagram is fun.

We're fans of Instagram, too. Speaking of social media, which models have stood out to you lately with their work online and offline?

I'm loving Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls and Kendall Jenner. I think there's a great new wave of girls coming through, and of course I care so much about diversity. This show has got great diversity, with girls from all over the world. And that's something that's important to me, the network and production. I mean, I think there's something in the show for everyone, whether you want to be an inspiring model or you're just a young girl. I think you can get tips from The Face.

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There's definitely been a lot of discussion about Kendall Jenner's debut on the runways this season. What are your thoughts for critics against the reality TV star?

I don't think that's fair. I'm a model and I'm doing a reality show. Why can you only do one thing? I think it's so wrong to pinpoint someone of only being able to do one thing.

Well said! Any additional thoughts you'd like to share about The Face?

I'm very proud of the show and this season. I think there's a girl that everyone can identify with -- her story and background. I think it's captivating because they all work so hard and are determined. That's what blew me away.

The Face airs Wednesdays on Oxygen at 10 p.m. PT/ET.

FROM LEFT: Oxygen Media senior vp original programming and development Rod Aissa, The Face's Naomi Campbell and president of Bravo and Oxygen Media Frances Berwick at The Face season-two viewing party at Catch Roof in New York City. (Photo Credit: Bryan Bedder /Oxygen Media)

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