This year's calendar was shot by Tim Walker and features an all black cast of icons reimagining the characters of the beloved children's tale. The 18-person cast includes Naomi Campbell, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Whoopi Goldberg, Lupita Nyong'o, RuPaul and up-and-coming model Duckie Thot, who appears on the cover as the titular character.
The breathtaking spread is the tire company's 45th calendar and represents the second time in its storied history that it features exclusively black models. Back in 1987, Terence Donovan featured five black women, including a then-16-year-old Naomi Campbell. She's appeared in the calendar in her teens, 20s, 30s and now her 40s.
Walked revealed to AOL Entertainment and a small group of reporters that Campbell specifically requested to be photographed with longtime friend, Diddy. They appear together as The Beheaders, characters that Walker said "fit [their] personality."
See photos from the Pirelli: 2018 Calendar:
Pirelli Calendar 2018
Pirelli Calendar 2018
Sean "Diddy" Combs and Naomi Campbell as the Royal Beheaders
Duckie Thot as Alice
RuPaul as The Queen of Hearts and Dijimon Hounsou as The King of Hearts
Thando Hopa as The Princess of Hearts and Whoopi Goldberg as The Royal Duchess
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
As for why she asked to appear alongside the rap mogul, Campbell cited her decades-long friendship with "Puff," and his ability to continually inspire and surprise her.
"I just never know what’s going to happen with Puff," she told us with a smile. "It’s always something magical. I went to dinner with him a few weeks ago, and after dinner we ended up in a recording studio with four boy band groups auditioning. It was the most amazing talent! This is why, for me, when I’m with him, I just roll with it. I love his company, I love his demeanor, I love his love towards me and I love our friendship."
Campbell recounted the story behind their iconic 2001 Vogue cover, which the supermodel thought they were "never" going to land, despite Diddy's insistence that it would happen. It did, of course, happen, and Campbell considers the moment an example of her pal's perseverance and lack of limitations.
"You can't limit yourself, and Puff inspires me every single day because [with him] there are no limits," she explained. "He's very private, but people who know him know he's loyal. He's been loyal to me for so many years. We've known each other for 20-something years, and he's been consistently the same. We really do have a brother-sister relationship, and I adore him."
As for the all-black casting of "Alice in Wonderland" for this year's calendar, Campbell credits those involved's willingness to look beyond limits in making the groundbreaking decision.
"We think that is has to be always white," Campbell said of the children's tale. "But it doesn't. It's taken until 2017 for this to happen. It's just a matter of our minds and what we allow and what we think we limit. I don't have a limit in my mind -- I wasn't raised that way."
See more iconic images of Naomi Campbell:
Iconic Naomi Campbell
Iconic Naomi Campbell
We are at a CFDA Awards and we thought it would be fun to do "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil." – in photo: Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell & Christy Turlington
This idea came from ID's fashion director Edward Enninful, the hat was by Philip Treacy.
This was a shoot for Louis Vuitton, shot by John Paul Goude. Marc Jacobs is on the other side. You can see his hand holding my knee up.
Peter had come up with the whole story line. My character was named “Leroy.” This shot was taken under the Brooklyn Bridge.
This shoot was taken in Kenya. I am wearing an archived dress by Assedine Alaia. This was the first ever “bandage dress.”
This is at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. I put this event together to help raise money for the victims of the tsunami in Japan. I was very proud to be a part of such an important event.
This picture was from the finale of the Fashion for Relief event. Jane Fonda, Novak Djokovic and all the models helped us raise money for the victims. It was amazing!
I call him my “papa.” We met in 1986 and I adore him.
This was at the rehearsals for the 2012 Zac Posen fashion week show. I am wearing my own clothes.
This was shot by Thomas Whiteside in London and styled by Christopher Niquet (Zac Posen’s boyfriend). This was the fastest shoot I have ever done.
A poster for my show ‘The Face.”
In 2008, Italian Vogue did a “Black Issue” and had four different women on the cover. I felt so honored to be chosen as one of them. I have always been vocal about black models not being used as often and this issue was groundbreaking. Steven Meisel photographed me for the cover.
It was always a dream of mine to be on the cover of American ‘Interview’ magazine. This shoot started at 10pm and ended at 6am.
I did this shoot with Kate Moss. It was a great day and we had lots of fun together.
I was beyond honored to be a part of the London 2012 Olympics and to my country. I think I made my family really proud.
Before I walked out on stage I couldn’t see anything and was hidden behind the curtains. The dress had a long train and it got caught on the stairwell right before I walked out. It was nerve-racking.
This is the shot of when I entered the stage, the train was finally unhinged from the stairwell and I was able to walk the runway.
I loved doing this photo shoot; we had such a great time. It was such a privilege to be on their 38th anniversary issue.
Steven first shot me when I was 16-years-old. He is not just a great friend, but he is a brilliant photographer. The story line for this shoot was an actress coming in for her lighting tests. I was on crutches at the time, recovering from surgery, so it was great to be propped up.
Italian Vogue - February 2013
I had a contract with Yves Saint Laurent when I was very young and it was so wonderful to be asked back. We shot over three days and the clothes were incredible.
This shoot was fun because they wanted us to make faces and be silly. Normally, we’re asked to be serious.
Even though I look like I am on a beach somewhere, this picture was shot in a studio in London.
We shot it in the middle of the desert in Dubai between the sand storms. It was an incredible experience.
Andre Leon Talley asked me to do Numero’s first cover and I was happy to. I love Russia.
Steve Klein and I had a great time with this cover. There is also a video that goes along with it. I wrote in my diary when I was doing community service.
Mario Testino shot this, and Puff was so excited to do the cover. He is such a great producer and entrepreneur. It’s amazing how he mixes music and fashion.
This is my first British Vogue cover. I can’t even begin to explain what this cover meant to me. It showed my family that being a model was a good choice. It made my family proud. THANK YOU BRITISH VOGUE!!!
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 14: Naomi Campbell walks the runway during Naomi Campbell's Fashion For Relief 2015 fall fashion show at The Theater at Lincoln Center on February 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Naomi Campbell arrives at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24: Model Naomi Campbell lights the Empire State Building on May 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Honoree Donatella Versace and Naomi Campbell attend the 19th Annual amfAR New York Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on February 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20: Naomi Campbell wearing Burberry attends the Burberry February 2017 Show during London Fashion Week February 2017 at Makers House on February 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Burberry)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - APRIL 16: Supermodel Naomi Campbell on the grid before the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 16, 2017 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: Model Naomi Campbell, hair detail, attends The Sean Penn & Friends Haiti Takes Root Benefit Dinner & Auction Supporting J/P Haitian Relief Organization at Sotheby's on May 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Naomi Campbell attends the Fashion for Relief photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Five Seas Hotel on May 20, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Supermodel Naomi Campbell attends the 2017 NBA Awards live on TNT on June 26, 2017 in New York, New York. 27111_003 (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for TNT)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Perhaps most importantly, Campbell refuses to restrict herself when it comes to her instinct, something that has helped her reach the pinnacle of the fashion world and stay there for so many years. The unapologetic icon has never been shy about sharing her opinions, supporting the people and work she loves and striving to make a difference.
"You should deliver a message, period -- it doesn't matter if you're in fashion or beauty," she said. "I think if you have a message to deliver that makes a difference to the world, you should deliver it. It takes courage to take a stance, and I always think you should go with your instincts. [...] I've done so many things in my 31 years of modeling for everybody. The one thing you can never say about me is that I'm one-sided, because I'm not."