It feels important to note that I both wrote and keep reading my headline in Reese Witherspoon’s tone from Sweet Home Alabama, even though having a baby in British Vogue and in a bar are not equivalent. Anyway: Apparently, Naomi Campbell being a mother is not necessarily new, and I just missed the Instagram post she put up in May with her hands cradling a baby’s feet (she seems to have deleted everything older than five days; maybe it was in Stories?). I’m probably not the only one, so this splashy British Vogue debut will take care of those of us who have pandemic amnesia and/or just don’t follow her on social. If you have questions, the story gives you as many answers as Naomi is willing to share about her daughter — which is to say, few. When I said “it’s hers” in the headline, I meant that it isn’t a stunt baby they hired for the day just to do this photograph, but when Naomi says it she means it in a way that… really fumbles the snap:

 Exact details around her arrival are unknown. When asked if she would elaborate, all she will confirm is, “She wasn’t adopted – she’s my child.” She is saving the rest of the details for her book, which she is yet to begin.

I understand what Naomi is getting at here; she’s essentially saying she used a surrogate, without using those words. But boy, is that an upsetting phrase in the world of adoption, which already can be a fraught emotional minefield even without hearing a celebrity make the distinction between “my child” and one who came from other genetic material. Why not just… say you used an egg and a surrogate? No need to sweep that process under the rug, especially with what a wonderful gift that surrogate has given her, and it’s very careless to do it while casually handwaving adopted kids as potentially “a child” or “the child” and not being of their parents. I choose to believe her intentions were good, but damn.

It’s an arresting cover, for sure — very serene, very Mother Mary. Even when Naomi Campbell is giving you a version of glassy-eyed, it’s got something behind it. She gets a bit more unbridled in some of the other interior pics, of which this is one:

ONLINE - Naomi Campbell British Vogue March 2022 Inset (1)-1644877954

The article talks about her friendship with the other supers of her era, which she says is pretty cozy, although she does also talk fondly about their work in a way that implies she doesn’t think models complain too much now, and maybe don’t burn the candle at both ends enough for her liking. I did enjoy her comment about working on Apple TV+ documentary The Supermodels with Cindy, Linda, and Christy:

“It’s about our life and times together: our friendship, careers, our womanhood, our motherhood.” Together with Ron Howard, they are all executive producers on the project. “As models, we don’t have any rights to our image, so it feels good to be partners on our legacy – and in our own words.”

I didn’t care that much about the era of the supermodel when I was living in it, but I am definitely curious to see that. Mission accomplished, Naomi.

[Photographed by Steven Meisel; see the full feature in the March issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands on Tuesday, Feb 22]