If you thought Kim Kardashian‘s meeting with Donald Trump was strange, let’s take a look back at one of the most outlandish meetings in politics. In 1998, supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell met with Fidel Castro when they flew to Cuba for a Harper’s Bazaar photoshoot.
It came about because the pair reportedly sent a letter to the late Cuban leader to request a meeting during their visit to the Caribbean island. The idea came from Campbell, though Moss supposedly wrote the letter because she had better penmanship. Although the meeting request came from the supermodels, Paper Magazine reports that Castro was familiar with Moss and Campbell after he flipped through a French Vogue editorial.
While the hour-and-a-half meeting isn’t that well-known, the supermodels did give a press conference outside Havana’s Palacio de la Revolución after they met with Castro and described the late dignitary as a “source of inspiration to the world.” Campbell even compared Castro with late South African president Nelson Mandela, whom she had spent some time with after the death of friend and fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997. The meeting sparked rumors that the Cuban leader had seduced the supermodels, with reports stating that Naomi and Fidel shared the presidential suite in the Hotel Nacional. But Campbell put the controversy to rest during the press conference, saying, “No man has ever seduced me, and I wanted to meet him, so, no.”
Of course, the meeting ignited outrage in the United States, a country that considered the highly divisive figure an enemy. The late-night host David Letterman joked about the encounter in his show, saying, “He believes he has something in common with Kate Moss because he heard she, too, is a revolutionary?” Letterman referred to a comment Castro made about Moss’s role in starting a revolution for shorter supermodels. (She’s approximately 5’6″ or 5’7″ btw.) “That’s the lousiest thing I’ve ever heard,” he continued.
Cuba was a destination for intellectuals and celebrities before and after the revolution, with figures such as Truman Capote, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone De Beauvoir visiting the island in the 1960s. More recently, Paris Hilton famously took a selfie with Castro’s eldest son, Fidel Castro Díaz-Balart, who committed suicide earlier this year.
While the supermodels were mocked for meeting the Cuban leader, Campbell came out of the audience victorious, calling the meet up “a dream come true.” Campbell visited Cuba once again in 2007, this time with Hugo Chávez who came to the Caribbean country for Petrocaribe.