In The Closet, The Making Of
In The Closet, News Footage
KNBC Entertainment Tonight, 20th April 1992
Talks About Michael, The Big Breakfast, Sometime 1992-1996
Naomi Campbell Interview Portrait 1996 (@1:37)
SoBe Superbowl Commercial in 2008, Naomi Doing The Thriller Dance With Some Lizards
The Guardian, 1985 (printed November 27th 1993)
On a bitterly cold November eight years ago, I caught a plane to Crete. In my hand luggage were 30 pairs of hotpants, a peroxide blonde wig and a Bible. I wasn’t travelling alone. Fidgeting in the seat next to me, chewing sweets and yelping along to Michael Jackson on her walkman, was my young charge, Naomi Campbell.
Armani Typecasting, Los Angeles Times, March 20, 1992
… earlier this week was model extraordinaire Naomi Campbell. She came via chauffeured limousine to have her peau primed for her part in a Michael Jackson video that Herb Ritts is shooting. Turned out in an Azzedine Alaia black leather jacket and spring’s de rigueur platform shoes Campbell was whisked into Henriksen’s private treatment room. Then minutes later sans chauffeur and platforms in walked a jeansclad Madonna utterly blond who made nice with the women in the waiting room before her facial. When the two emerged they chatted like old friends and probably compared pores.
March 29 1992
Michael films the video for In The Closet directed by Herb Ritts and featuring Naomi Campbell.
Chicago Tribune, April 1 1992
Campbell didn’t come for the shows (thank heavens for small favors) because she’s off in California making a video with her pal, Michael Jackson.
Cindy Crawford interview on Location, 1992
Cindy: Hi I’m Cindy Crawford. I’m standing in the desert somewhere outside of Los Angeles. We’re on location with Michael Jackson and Herb Ritts to shoot the video for In The Closet, the next release from Michael’s Dangerous album. Let’s see what happens when these two talents come together.
Herb: It was the song that really said to me, keep it simple, make it just about the dance. It’s a courtship dance between a guy and a girl.
Cindy: What’s your part in this video?
Naomi: It’s about a girl who wants to get uh, out of the closet and be loved outside in the open and be free with her love and having him be physical and loving with her, but he’d like to keep her in the closet.
Cindy: Video shoots like this don’t happen every day. This is a major production. I got one of those rare chances to talk to Michael Jackson and he told me that while he’s always involved with all his projects this is the first time he’s shared a director’s credit.
Cindy: Are you kissing Michael in this video?
Naomi: No, but I wanna kiss him. (giggles) I may kiss him but I mean if I kiss him it won’t be for the screen.
Cindy: Michael Jackson and Herb Ritts, quite an intriguing combination. The hot desert, a hot girl and hot dancing, who knows what to expect? But you can bet it’ll be something else.
“Video Slut” by Sharon Oreck,
“Sharon…” Naomi drawls in her broad British accent. “I’m just not getting it together with Michael, and I don’t know whats going wrong. Herb said you could tell me what to do.”
“Naomi, if in the end you can’t count on Michael to come to you, maybe you should just think about going to him.”
All of a sudden Naomi’s face lights up, as if she has just heard the solution to The Da Vinci Code. Then we see Naomi pull Michael over for a confidential tete-a-tete, after which Michael literally leaps away from her and disappears into his trailer. Herb is summoned to the trailer and emerges to ask me, “What exactly did you tell Naomi to do earlier?”
“Nothing really, I just told her to dance closer to him. Why?”
“Michael said that Naomi asked him if she could, uh, uh, suck his cock!”
After the video shoot MTV hosts an event called MY DINNER WITH MICHAEL.
Sharon Oreck said, “I saw Herb making his entrance past the paparazzi with Naomi, who appeared to be ten sheets to the wind at least forty paces before she even got to the bar.
“Naomi! Herb!” the photographers shoutas Herb attempted to steer Naomi down the red carpet. How’s the video?”
“I want to suck Michael Jackson’s cock!”
Naomi dutifully tried to inform the free press as Herb shoved her in the door while attempting to gag her with his spare hand.
“My Dinner With Michael Jackson,” April 1 1992
The usually shy superstar danced in a conga line and dined on vegetarian fare with model Naomi Campbell and photographer Herb Ritts. “He was having a good time,” says contest winner Donna Frieden, who shook Jackson’s ungloved hand. “He was reserved and soft-spoken, but very warm.He was smiling a lot. I jumped right next to him in the conga line.” Jackson, who wrapped his In the Closet video earlier on a nearby set, visited with the lynx, panther and other exotic creatures before joining the festivities. “He was laughing and chatting it up with everyone,” says MTV’s Kathy Flynn, who arranged for the party’s carnival games, stilt walkers, magician, palm reader, Brazilian dancers and Caribbean band. A camel, an elephant, a black panther and a spider monkey that drank virgin daiquiris were among those at MTV’s lavish tented bash Sunday outside Palm Springs, Calif.
The tour was to be the biggest in pop history; from start to finish it would last eighteen months. During that time, and in the run-up to the launch, I got to see a lot of Michael Jackson. Our first meeting took place in the middle of the Californian desert: Jackson was throwing a huge dinner party just yards away from where he had been shooting his in the Closet video with the beautiful British model, Naomi Campbell; and fifty miles outside the fashionable Californian holiday resort of Palm Springs. The party was staged in conjunction with top pop TV station, MTV. MTV had run a competition offering dinner with Michael Jackson as the prize, and they had received a staggering 4.1 million entries from all over the world.
Thirty lucky winners realized the dream of a lifetime: they were Michael’s and MTV’s special guests that night at the party, which was attended by a hundred privileged guests. Demi Woo from Taiwan told me:’I still can’t believe it’s true. I can’t believe I’ve met Michael. He’s my absolute hero.
The E150,000 bash was one of the most spectacular parties the pop world had ever seen: it featured leopards, panthers, elephants, camels, near-naked girl samba dancers, magicians and fire-eaters. Michael, decked out in a black shirt with red epaulettes and black satin trousers, arrived at the party at 7 o’clock, just an hour after breaking off from his video-shooting. The normally reclusive pop star revealed a side of his personality that he had kept under wraps for years – that of a fun-loving extrovert. We saw once again what Jackson was like when he really let his hair down. At one point he even led a conga line up and down the length of the makeshift tent where the party was held. As the evening went on, his smile got larger and larger. At one point he even gave us a private preview of his dancing skills: he got up on the dance floor and showed why he is such a disco thriller. He boogied with guests, including some of the skimpily clad Brazilian dancers dressed in yellow bras and G-strings who had earlier entertained him. I danced alongside him but found it hard to keep up with his frantic steps. The singer, then thirty-three years old, was having such fun that he spent a whole two hours at the party, even posing for group pictures with the winners. For much of the time he chatted, laughed and joked with Naomi Campbell, who sat by his side. He seemed more relaxed and at ease than he had for a long time. Also sitting at the table with Jackson was his video director, top fashion photographer Herb Ritts. The video, in which Jackson is featured with Naomi Campbell and four flamenco dancers, was shot in black and white and Ritts was thrilled with it. He told me:’Michael was a dream to work with. He is very receptive of new ideas. We should have finished already but we’ve had some bad weather.
But the bash nearly started off on a nasty note. As he arrived, the animal-loving Michael went to stroke a baby leopard which snapped at him viciously. However, the singer refused to be daunted: he joked with the animal’s trainer, gathered up a couple of the children who were waiting outside to meet him, and made his way into the party, where he was greeted with screams and shrieks from the waiting guests. He was escorted to the top table, where he sat down to sign autographs and talk to awestruck fans.
He himself was awestruck as he watched the fire-eaters, the acrobats and the dancers who had been summoned to perform for the king of all performers. He was astounded when one of the troupe lay on a four-foot bed of nails while a pretty girl walked all over his back. At this point, Jackson sat a little three-year-old girl on his knee so she could get a better view of some of the show. He was just as impressed with the magician, who came to his table and performed a variety of dazzling card tricks. ‘I’d like to do some of those,’ he told him.
During the party Jackson confessed: ‘I’m having a wonderful time. Some of these acts are amazing. It’s a real fun atmosphere.’ When his minders and aides tried to get him to go, Jackson wouldn’t budge. He told them: ‘I want to see the next act, it’s a guy who walks on broken glass and eats it.’ The star sat rooted in his chair for the next fifteen minutes as he marvelled at the daredevil performance.
The food was every bit as good as the entertainment. It had been prepared by Jackson’s special Sikh chef, who runs a catering company called Ashaka and cooks all Jackson’s meals for him.
The singer admitted he was thrilled about touring again for the first time in four years: ‘I’m really looking forward to performing again. I love being on stage. I can’t wait to come to Britain. ! had a great time when I was in London recently.
Despite his enjoyment, the party left Jackson whacked. When one of the MTV winners, Margarietta Carreras from New Jersey, asked him to dance the smiling star told her: ‘I’d love to, but please excuse me this time, I feel a little tired.’ Then the singer told MTV bosses,’Thanks for everything, it’s been a thriller of an evening,’ and disappeared into the desert night.
From the book “It’s All About L.O.V.E” about a fan who was at the dinner, April 1 1992
“The cmeras flashed; cameraman were filming like crazy, and out of the blue came Naomi Campbell to join us. She is so tall that she had to wear flats, but is so beautiful, not to mention sexy. All of us laughed and danced and had such good time. Michael was giggling and turning the wrong way, we did too, and then he giggled again. The music changed and he and Naomi danced together. I noticed, too she would constantly be bending her head next to Michael’s ear and Michael seemed very annoyed with her that after a while he left her and danced with the kids.”
April 10th 1992
Model Naomi Campbell is featured in the video with Jackson, and she told “A Current Affair” that he is “sweet and shy and sensitive” and “seems to be a very caring, soulful person.”
On the last day of shooting Michael Jackson’s “In the Closet” music video, Naomi Campbell and the singer had a whipped cream fight.
Naomi says she loved acting the part of this woman who’s after Michael Jackson.
“You see this man and he drives up and you want him and you’re just gonna get him. And you want him and you want him and you’re gonna do whatever you can to drive this man crazy. It’s about being sensual and like hungry and doing it.”
Michael was co-director of this video along with fashion photographer Herb Ritts.
(Herb yelling at Naomi, “Go on Naomi, touch him! Touch him!”)
Directing Naomi to be sexy was not a problem.
“I like to touch people all the time. I mean, I had to push a little bit furthur but I like to be that way.”
Naomi says she’d never met Michael before going on location in the California dessert, but she’d heard what to watch out for with him and she beat him to the punch.
“I heard Michael was a prankstar so before he played a joke on me I wanted to get him. So one day we finished shooting and I pulled out a water pistol (laughs) and laid it on him. Actually, it was tough hiding it up my skirt, because I’m not sure if you’ve seen it but my skirt is very short, so… but I got him. I hid it well.”
Naomi is now one of the world’s most sought after models but before that she was like millions of women, a Michael Jackson fan, and she says that working with him did not change that.
“To me he is a wonderful person, inside and out. He was every thing I thought he would be, or even more.”
Rome News Tribune, 20th April 1992
MTV Music Television will present the planetary premiere of the Michael Jackson “In The Closet” video on Thursday, April 24th at 8:53pm.
The video will have its simultaneous premiere on MTV: music television, the Fox Broadcasting Network and BET in the US at 8:53pm.
MTV’s international affiliates, MTV Europe, MTV Brasil and MTV Asia will also premiere the video that same day.
Shot in the California desert, the video is directed by Herb Ritts and co-stars super model Naomi Campbell. Ritts, who also directed Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” video, describes Jackson’s third video from his latest release “Dangerous” as “a courtship dance… where something unexpected happens.” Naomi describes it as a story about a girl who wants to get out of the closet and be free with her love for her man, but he wants to keep her “in the closet.” The video was co-directed by Jackson and marks his directorial debut.
The planetary premiere of In The Closet is the centerpiece of an evening of Michael Jackson programming hosted by MTV VJ Duff. MTV will air Michael Jackson videos beginning at 8:08pm and continue airing them after the planetary premiere through 9:30pm.
USA TODAY, April 23, 1992
Michael and Naomi start to dance and it’s really hot.” The video is a Campbell coup, but there are sacrifices. “It’s almost impossible to have a personal life,” says Campbell. “I mean I travel constantly. Back and forth to Europe, sometimes three times in a week.”
M: Tell me! Which video ..Black or White, Remember the Time, In the Closet and Bad…Which one do you like the best?
G: I told you that the other night!
M: Which one?
M: Which one?
G: Which one?
G: (Cut in Tape,) then I like Remember the Time and then I like Jam.
M: You like living “In the Closet” best (laughing)
G: Yeh..Which one do you like?
M: I like Remember the Time. I like Jam..It was real fun doing it with Michael..I liked Remember the Time.. but I had the most fun doing Jam out of all of them.
G: You looked like you were having fun.
M: Yeh, I had fun with Naomi, but, I (whisper) hate doing that. (Laughing)
M: She’s a sweetheart. She’s a champ. But, I had the most fun when we were in Chicago doing Jam. I had FUN with Jam.
G: Yeh, it looked like you were having fun.
Video Banned in South Africa, St Petersburg Times, 25th July 1992
The South African government banned Michael Jackson’s In The Closet video from television and Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion double album from import and distribution Friday. The government run South African Broadcasting Corp said the Jackson video is “of a very sensual nature which could offend viewers.”
Paula Yates: What’s it like working with Michael Jackson? Tell us about Michael!
Naomi: I think the biggest tip I got was that he’s very professional and you know I watched him in concerts here and watched him in concerts there.
Paula: You winked at him. He claimed! He claimed!
Naomi: (laughs) I did not! He’s like, from the old school. And he’s like live-
Paula: Was he scared of you? Because in the video you have to-
Naomi: I keep hearing that he’s frightened of me. (laugh) But I think it’s because the directors would tell me, Herb would say you have to touch him everywhere, and I’d say, but he doesn’t want me to touch him–
Paula: It’s unimaginable, it’s like touching the Pope!
Naomi: You can’t touch me there and Herb would say, “You have to do it!”
Paula: Did he get upset?
Naomi: No, he just said I was crazy. He was frightened of me because I’m a nymphomaniac.
VIBE magazine, June/July 1995
Naomi Campbell (supermodel/actress, appeared in ‘In the Closet’ video, 1992)
Michael is very involved and on top of everything he puts his name on. He’s shy and sweet, considering all he’s accomplished, but he’s a prankster. When I was doing the video, we had water pistol fights. He’s a perfectionist.
WMA Awards, May 8th 1996
Naomi presents him with an award.
Naomi: I’ll put my own music on. (hears music playing and walks into a room and points at TV screen with young Michael singing I Want You Back in 1970 with the purple hat) Look at him! Look at how beautiful he is!
He called up and asked if I’d do his video with Herb Ritts and I said yes, I’d love to. I didn’t believe it at first and then… we had a lot of fun. We were like two children. We had water fights and (giggles) cream can fights, whipped cream can fights. He was great to work with. Michael Jackson is a true, is very professional, he’s a perfectionist. He knows everything. He’s very smart. He knows where every single thing he’s doing, he’s got it under control, he knows everything. People probably wonder how, he has so much going on, but he manages to do it. People like Michael Jackson, Madonna I admire and respect and have much admiration for.
Naomi interview, VH1, July 23rd 1998
NARRATOR: And while Naomi was a star in her own right, she couldn’t believe which megastar wanted her in his next video.
(footage of “In the Closet” shown)
NAOMI: When Herb Ritts (the director of “In the Closet”) called me, I said, “Yeah, right! Michael Jackson really asked ME.”
NARRATOR: The video would be Jackson’s “In the Closet.”
HERB RITTS: And we looked at lots of dancers. And you know, we know Naomi really well and work with her all the time. I remembered she’s a great dancer, she has incredible presence. I wanted kind of a Spanish, exotic kind of a woman and Naomi has an incredible rhythm for this. I mean, and she’s trained as a dancer.
NAOMI: When Herb works, it’s always with such enthusiasm. He loves everything he does, that you just say, “Okay okay, I’m going to do it, count on me, okay.”
NARRATOR: Naomi braved the scorching California desert to meet Michael Jackson.
NAOMI: He was very sweet, he’s very shy. I mean, I would say like, “bloody hell” and he’d say, “Don’t swear, Naomi! Stop cursing!” I’d be like, “Sorry!” (laughs)
NAOMI (commenting on the video): Well, I’m supposed to be flirting…
(woman in the background): You grabbed his @$$.
NAOMI: Did I? I don’t think so.
(footage is shown of Naomi and Michael)
NAOMI: Herb… pushed me to do it. It’s all Herb’s fault, Herb’s the director, I have to do what I’m told. I was being obedient.
NARRATOR: Although she appeared nearly naked in photographs and on the runway, this solo erotic dance brought back the shy little girl in the supermodel.
NAOMI: Well, we had black curtains and everything. They could see it on the monitor, but they were not in front of our faces, ’cause I would never be able to do THAT.
NARRATOR: What Naomi WAS able to do was stay in step with the man who perfected the moonwalk. No easy task…
HERB RITTS: Naomi just has this natural ability to work with him, and it’s very difficult. If he’s being spontaneous, to have somebody who doesn’t dance every day find those moves and work AND have a presence and be flirty AND, um, have that chemistry and that connection.
NAOMI: And I kept up with him. That was what I was there to do.
(footage of Michael pretending to strangle Naomi during an erotic scene)
NAOMI: It was fun. We were joking ALL the time. It was like, jokemaster. It was constantly jokes, jokes, jokes. It was fun.
NAOMI: He had a discipline probably of what it was like to do film, because it’s doing the same thing over and over again, picking up,picking up, in the heat, and the continuity of how your hair has to be, how your makeup has to be, like you wanted to change something on the second day, you can’t. That’s the way you started off, that’s the way you have to keep going.
NARRATOR: And what did the King of Pop compare the Queen of the Fashion Kingdom to?
NAOMI: The sweetest thing Michael said to me was, um, that I reminded him of a fawn, which is like a baby deer. He said that is what he thought I looked like. I thought that like a “Bambi,” and I thought that was very sweet.
NAOMI (during the end of the show, when she was commenting on everybody):
He is a brilliant artist. He is a legend, and always will be.
Discussing Thriller 25, February 2008
Naomi Campbell, seen recently dancing it up in Sobe’s Life Water commercial featuring Thriller, comments about how everybody wanted to learn the dances in that video. She adds, “It was brilliant.”
Naomi Campbell, who paid the festival a brief visit alongside the prime minister’s wife Sarah Brown for the White Ribbon Alliance, a campaign to raise awareness about women who died in pregnancy, was shocked at the news.
Campbell featured in Jackson’s 1992 music video In The Closet, and knew him well. “I’m just like everyone else – in shock,” she said, stood on the top of the Ribbon Tower, looking out at panoramic views over the site.
Jeanne Wolf, June 26, 2009
Some of the memories that were flashing through my mind:
Michael on location in the hot and dusty southern California desert looking a bit thin and vulnerable under the merciless sun. Then the strains of “In the Closet” from his album “Dangerous” drifted across the set and he was rolling on the ground with Naomi Campbell in a sensual embrace that was wild enough to have the crew applauding when the director yelled, “Cut.” His energy was amazing.
Contactmusic, 28th June 2009
British supermodel NAOMI CAMPBELL has paid tribute to MICHAEL JACKSON, branding him the “first global superstar”.
Campbell starred in the video promo of the singer’s 1991 track In The Closet, and struck up a firm friendship with the King of Pop.
The beauty was devastated to learn of his passing on Thursday (25Jun09) after he suffered a cardiac arrest – and has paid a moving tribute to the man she calls an “all-time great”.
She tells Vibe.com “I grew up with Michael Jackson, he was a good friend and the most exciting and innovative entertainer to have lived.
“No artist has connected to their audience like Michael and no one will ever be able to match what he has achieved. He gave back to people through his charity work and was an amazing father and human being.
“Michael touched people of every race, nationality, age and was the first truly global superstar. He is one of the all-time greats and his role in popular culture will never be surpassed and never ever be forgotten.”
“The video is smoldering in its simplicity, and is devoid of the special effects and super-embellished wardrobe that had become his trademark, showcasing a new confidence in Michael, his hair pulled off his face in a simple straight ponytail.
“This confidence to be able to simplify and step away from what people expected from him struck a particular chord with me, at the time a young woman growing up in London, and it is something I hold true to to this day. Thank you, Michael.”
Michael Jackson: Womanizer, Did the Gloved One have loved ones?, By Dr. Firpo Carr, Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper, October 1 – 7, 2009
Naomi Campbell (In the Closet): Supermodel Naomi Campbell ravished Michael in this 1991 video, just as her onscreen character called for. In a Vibe interview conducted by Memsor Kamaraké Naomi said the following after hearing of his death: “I grew up with Michael Jackson, he was a good friend and the most exciting and innovative entertainer to have lived. No artist has connected to their audience like Michael and no one will ever be able to match what he has achieved. He gave back to people through his charity work and was an amazing father and human being. Michael touched people of every race, nationality, age and was the first truly global superstar. He is one of the all time greats and his role in popular culture will never be surpassed and never ever be forgotten.” Aside from this video, what else did Michael and the supermodel have in common? Both their mothers are Jehovah’s Witnesses and endeavored to raise them “in the Truth.”