By Pascal Fletcher
HAVANA, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Two of the world's most beautiful women met Cuba's President Fidel Castro on Sunday and said they were impressed and inspired -- but not seduced.
Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, who had spent several days in Cuba on a fashion shoot for the American magazine Harper's Bazaar, had a one-and-a-half hour meeting with the 71-year-old Cuban leader at the end of their trip.
They told a news conference in Havana after the meeting that it was a dream come true. "I'm so nervous and flustered because I can't believe that I met him,'' Campbell said.
Praising Castro as "very, very intelligent,'' she compared him to South African President Nelson Mandela, whom she and Moss met earlier this month during a visit to South Africa to raise funds for a children's charity.
"These are two men in the world that I think are an inspiration to everyone ... they have fought with integrity to stick to their beliefs,'' Campbell said.
Asked by a Spanish reporter whether they had felt "seduced'' by Castro, she replied quickly: "No man has ever seduced me and I wanted to meet him, so, no.''
Moss said Castro had quizzed them about their work and their families. "He knew us from magazines,'' she said. Campbell added: "He said that seeing us in person was very spiritual.''
The two British supermodels, making their first visit to communist-ruled Cuba, announced they would be making a donation to a Cuban children's organization, the Young Pioneers' Union (Union de Pioneros de Cuba).
Asked whether they thought their being in Cuba and making such a donation might bring them trouble from the U.S. government, which maintains a longstanding economic embargo against the island, Campbell replied: "We're not politicians.''
"We have the freedom to help any charity in the world to do with children. If we choose to help a charity in Cuba, that's what we choose,'' she said.
But she declined to reveal the size of the donation.
Campbell said she and Moss received a warm welcome during their time in Cuba, accompanied by French fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier, who was also at the news conference.
"We've liked everything. The food, the people on the street, the hotel, the music,'' she said.
Talking about her career, Campbell paid tribute to the late Gianni Versace, the Italian fashion designer murdered in Miami last July. "What I loved about Gianni Versace is that he was a risk-taker and an underdog,'' she said. She added it was he who had created the image of the supermodels and defended them against media criticism that they earned exaggerated fees.
The two supermodels were due to leave Cuba on Sunday. REUTERS