In a clip from George Michael: Freedom, a 90-minute documentary about the late singer’s life and work premiering Saturday, Naomi Campbell and fellow supermodels Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista reminisce about their experience starring in the musician’s iconic “Freedom ’90” music video.
“George pitched it to me in LA,” Campbell said of the model-filled video. “And his exact words were: ‘You’re the leader of the gang and unless you say yes, the rest of the girls won’t.'”
“We probably all waited to see which of the other models said yes,” Crawford added. “It was like, ‘Well, is Christy [Turlington] doing it?’ ”
Later Crawford added in the clip that her steamy bathtub scene from the video was actually an illusion.
“Even though the shot ended up looking like a steamy bath scene there was no water in the scene — I was covered in some kind of glycerin to make my skin shiny, and I thought, ‘Well I hope [the video’s director David] Fincher knows what he’s doing.”
And to this day the model says she had “such a good experience doing this video” that any time the song comes on “it transports me back to that time of being a 22-year-old model and being part of such a great video.”
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE about the documentary, Campbell said “it means more to me than anything” that the song still resonates with people today. “It’s even more significant now than before because George is no longer here. It means a lot to us and to the many people that loved him and loved his music.”
Asked what she missed most about the musician, the supermodel replied it wasn’t just “how real George was,” but “his suave, sophisticated and gifted voice.”
“Most people who have grown up with his music can say that they’ve had a slow dance in our teenage years to one of his songs. He is a part of my generation of growing up,” she said, adding that she hopes people always “remember him as the amazing gifted artist that he was — shy, sweet and with a beautiful soul.”
“We originally did it as the 25-year celebration of ‘Freedom.’ None of us knew that he wouldn’t be here to see it,” Campbell told PEOPLE. “So it means even more to be a part of this special project in his honor.”
Using previously unseen archival and private home footage, George Michael: Freedom will give viewers a first-person account of how Michael became one of the most influential recording artists of all time.
Adding to the celebration, on Friday, Sony Music re-released the singer’s groundbreaking second solo album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1/MTV Unplugged, which featured the hit song “Freedom ‘90.”
George Michael: Freedom debuts on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.
- Reporting by SARAH MICHAUD