Bethann Hardison to Be Honored With a CFDA Award for Her Work With Balance Diversity

Diane von Furstenberg made the announcement Tuesday during a radio interview with Naomi Campbell. We were there, too.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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Diane von Furstenberg made the announcement Tuesday during a radio interview with Naomi Campbell. We were there, too.
Bethann Haridson and Iman. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty

Bethann Haridson and Iman. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty

Tuesday afternoon, we bore witness to the ultimate girl power pow wow: Diane von Furstenberg interviewed supermodel Naomi Campbell before an intimate audience at the SiriusXM offices in Rockefeller Center. Over the past couple of weeks, Campbell has been very busy promoting the upcoming season of her reality show "The Face," and von Furstenberg -- her longtime friend and colleague -- gushed about how generous and kindhearted the model has been through all of the years they've known each other, constantly dedicating her time to worthy causes around the world.

Campbell's most recent advocacy is one that she and CFDA President von Furstenberg have in common: Promoting diversity on the runways in all four major Fashion Month cities. "I personally have a lot of diversity on my runways," von Fursternberg said. "And I don't understand why more people don't! Black is beautiful!"

For years, Campbell has worked with former model and advocate Bethann Hardison, founder of Balance Diversity. The two met when Campbell was 14 years old, and in the '80s, they joined forces on The Black Girl Coalition -- Balance Diversity's precursor -- and would meet after all of the Fashion Weeks to discuss progress within the industry and bring consciousness to the topic of diversity. Since they've had such a history together, it was a lovely moment when von Furstenburg spilled the beans that Hardison would be honored with a CFDA Award at the annual ceremony in June.

Hardison, who was at SiriusXM talk to support her friend Campbell, was shocked at the announcement. "When she said it I knew she wasn't joking, but I couldn't believe it. For her to come in and tell me the good news -- I looked right at Naomi and ran into her arms and started crying," Hardison told us. As for what the exact honor it is she'll be receiving, she laughed, "I have no idea! I don't even care. I just need to know what day to show up!"

When asked how the fall 2014 season fared, Hardison seemed pleased. "I don't look at the numbers, I look at what I see on the runway. If I see two girls in the show that weren't there before, that's an improvement. If I see five girls booked by a designer who hadn't [hired any black models] before, that's an improvement. She says she doesn't look at the number of black models in relation to the number of white models. "I don't look at it like that, but I've seen improvement." Hardison believes things are looking up in the editorial world, too, saying, "I'm very proud of Anna Wintour -- her January, February and March issues. It just makes you feel good, the way it looks."

Campbell, however, sounded a little more skeptical when discussing the progress seen this Fashion Month. "We're definitely making progress in ad campaigns," Campbell said. "There are five or six big-name designers who cast girls of color in their ads this season. But I don't want it to be a trend, it shouldn't be a quota or an obligation. Also, don't put [all of the black models] in a line during the show, like, 'here they are!' -- I saw it on Style.com, I didn't like that."