Naomi Campbell reveals American Vogue editor's 'fight' to get her on front cover

The 88th Academy Awards - Fox Awards Party - Los Angeles

Naomi Campbell has said she initially had "no idea" how much editor Anna Wintour had to fight to secure her spot as the first black woman on the cover of American Vogue's September issue.

The English supermodel, 45, broke a racial taboo when she became the fashion bible's cover star in September 1989 - traditionally the year's biggest and most important issue.

Appearing on CNN Style, she said: "I remember that picture. It was shot on a Saturday afternoon in the Hamptons.

"Anna gave me such a great opportunity and I had no idea how much she had to fight for that until after I saw The September Issue. I didn't know how hard she had to fight for it."

The September Issue is a 2009 behind-the-scenes documentary following editor-in-chief Wintour and her staff as they produce the September 2007 issue of the magazine.

Campbell was also the first black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue, making her debut in 1988 after Yves Saint Laurent threatened to pull his advertising from the magazine if they refused to put a black model on the cover.

Asked about how she had broken through racial barriers, she said: "There have been some challenges, absolutely, but I have found a way to get around those challenges. I don't accept 'nos'."

Campbell also revealed how "weird" it was when people started using the word "supermodel".

She said: "The first time I heard it I was in Milan. The first time I saw it in writing I was in London and I was like, 'What's that?' They're not talking about us are they?' It was really weird.

"And then in Milan the hotel started telling the press what we ordered for breakfast, and I thought that was really bizarre."

Taking a break from a shoot for Vogue Italia in in New York, she told the show's host Derek Blasberg: "I think the whole industry has evolved into being so much more corporate, and so much more about social media."

After 30 years in the fashion industry, the model takes an old-school approach and refuses to see the images until they are published.

She said: "When I shoot on digital you know, they say, 'Do you want to look?' and I never want to look because I've always based my relationship with the photographer I am working with on trust, and I don't want to look.

"I still want that element of surprise, so I tend not to see anything until it comes out.

"I think if I start to look at it I would be like, 'Can you do this, can you do that?'... I don't want to.

"And it is their way of how they see you and I don't want to go and change that.

"That's the way they see you; that is their interpretation, so let it be."

:: CNN Style airs on Saturday May 7 at 1.30pm and Sunday May 8 at 7.30pm on CNN International.