Naomi Campbell Confides in Mandela

09/11/2003 at 12:00 PM EDT

Supermodel Naomi Campbell gabs about her personal problems and love life to former South African president Nelson Mandela, AFP reports.

"He always wants to know how I'm doing. My personal life, my love life, my problems, I just tell him," Campbell, 33, is quoted as saying in Thursday's Straits Times newspaper.

Campbell and Mandela, who reportedly met through Campbell's former flame Robert De Niro, have remained friends for 12 years. The London-born supermodel says Mandela has been an inspirational force in her life and the one responsible for her interest in charity.

"I owe it to Mr. Nelson Mandela," says Campbell. "When he said I could lend my name to meaningful issues, I realized it was a chance to help others less fortunate.

"He made me think about important issues like AIDS in Africa, which is still an issue on the back-burner," she adds. "Kids' welfare is also important to me because I love children."

Whether Campbell has inspired in Mandela an interest in vertical stripes and trends on the runway this fall remains to be seen.

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