Wednesday is Naomi Campbell’s 49th birthday, though she’s actually ageless. The legendary supermodel is an industry hero, and she’ll probably never stop working. And a big part of the reason Naomi (no last name required) is an icon, however overused the term may be, is her walk.

Naomi’s walk is quite clearly the best in the business, a combination of swagger and grace that no other model has ever truly replicated (not even by those to whom she has given lessons, like Gigi Hadid). Her hips and shoulders sway while her back stays ramrod straight. Occasionally she’ll twirl, like models are supposed to in the movies. And she slowly smiles at the cameras, like she is very, very pleased with herself. She should be.

The Naomi Campbell walk is the subject of countless YouTube compilations and impassioned tweets and deservedly slobbering Instagrams (there is a reason that audience members cried when she ruled the runway at Valentino couture last season). Her moves inspired Beyoncé’s strut in the “Crazy in Love” video! And even her failures are triumphs: When she fell on ludicrously tall chopines at Vivienne Westwood’s Fall 1993 show, she just kept smiling, and nobody ever forgot it.

The one and only Naomi Campbell closed the Valentino Couture show. Over 30 years later and still dominating the runway.

In a video posted to her YouTube channel last December, Naomi explained how she learned to walk from her mother, Valerie Morris-Campbell, a dancer. “[My mother] taught me how to walk,” she explained. “It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to walk. She just taught me how to have a bit more swag and how to listen to the rhythm of the music and how to walk when there wouldn’t be music at all, and also to remember the clothing that you’re wearing. It’s never been about showing myself, Naomi Campbell, it’s been about finding a character within myself to each designer that I worked for in relation to the outfit that I was in.”

Walks have changed over the years. A 2017 Jezebel piece outlined the “slow death” of the runway walk, highlighting how designers have come to prefer younger, less-trained girls who do not bring as forceful a personality to the runway. “I absolutely think [walks are] less distinctive for sure,” Alex Borges, the agency director for NEXT Model Management, told the writer Hazel Cillis. “Very few girls out there still have a strut.”

But some power is coming back to the runway. Influential casting directors Walter Pearce and Rachel Chandler of Midland Agency favor an aggressive stomp, so fast that it’s almost a run. Designers like Shayne Oliver at Hood by Air and Rio Uribe at Gypsy Sport hire voguers and performance artists to take to the catwalk, and Rick Owens has famously used steppers and staged totally unorthodox, movement-driven runway shows.

So there’s some hope. But there’s little of the kind of glamour Naomi Campbell provides. She cried after that Valentino show, overwhelmed after surviving decades in a racist and narrow-minded industry. “I’ve only cried once before on the catwalk, and I cried because I was so overwhelmed and happy,” she said in a video on her channel. “When I looked up and saw the girls above me, it just seemed like yes, these almost 33 years [in the industry] … [it] has been worth it to speak up, has been worth it to stand alongside Iman, has been worth it to see these beauties that were treated as the highest and the most elegant of women.”

REVISIT NAOMI CAMPBELL’S MOST ICONIC MOMENTS ON THE RUNWAY THROUGH THE YEARSSlide 1 of 32

Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Yves Saint Laurent fall/winter 1987 couture show in Paris, 1987. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway for Perry Ellis in 1989. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Thierry Mugler fall/winter 1989 show during Paris Fashion Week in 1989. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Versace fall/winter 1991 show in Los Angeles, 1991. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Thierry Mugler spring/summer 1992 show in 1991. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Fendi spring/summer 1992 show by Karl Lagerfeld in Milan, 1991. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Versace fall/winter 1991 show in Los Angeles, 1991. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Alaïa fall/winter 1991 show in Paris in 1991. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of Thierry Mugler’s spring/summer 1992 show in 1991. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Versace spring/summer 1992 show in 1991. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Valentino fall/winter 1992 show during Paris Fashion Week in 1992. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the Chanel spring/summer 1993 couture show—one of Karl Lagerfeld’s most controversial—during Paris Fashion Week in 1993. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell makes fashion history by falling on the runway of the Vivienne Westwood fall/winter 1993 show in 1993. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Chanel spring/summer 1994 show—the theme of which was another controversial choice by Karl Lagerfeld: “rap”—in 1993. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Guy Laroche spring/summer 1994 couture show during Paris Fashion Week in 1994. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Vivienne Westwood fall/winter 1994 show during Paris Fashion Week in 1994. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Prada spring/summer 1995 show during Milan Fashion Week in 1994. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Rifat Ozbek spring/summer 1995 show during Paris Fashion Week in 1994. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Chanel fall/winter 1995 couture show Haute during Paris Fashion Week in 1995. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Versace fall/winter 1996 show by Gianni Versace in 1996. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Givenchy fall/winter 1997 couture show during Paris Fashion Week in 1997. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Givenchy fall/winter 1997 couture show during Paris Fashion Week in 1997. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of one of the early Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows inside the Plaza Hotel in New York City, 1997. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Oscar de la Renta fall/winter 1999 show in New York City, 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Versace fall/winter 1999 couture show during Paris Fashion Week in 1999. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Jean Paul Gaultier spring/summer 2002 couture show in 2001. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Esteban Cortázar spring/summer 2005 couture show during New York Fashion Week in 2004. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2008 show during Paris Fashion Week in 2007. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss reuniting on the runway of the Louis Vuitton fall/winter 2018 men’s show with Kim Jones, in honor of his final collection for the house, during Paris Fashion Week in 2018. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of her crush (and fellow ageless icon) Jennifer Lopez’s fall/winter 2005 show during New York Fashion Week in 2005. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Givenchy spring/summer 2016 men’s show during Paris Fashion Week Men’s in 2015. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Naomi Campbell reuniting with fellow supermodels Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, and Helena Christensen to walk the runway of the Versace spring/summer 2018 show with Donatella Versace during Milan Fashion Week in 2017. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Naomi Campbell walks the runway of the Yves Saint Laurent fall/winter 1987 couture show in Paris, 1987. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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