Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid (Somali: Imaan Maxamed Cabdimajiid, Arabic: ايمان محمد عبد المجيد) (born July 25, 1955), professionally known as Iman (which means "faith" in Arabic), is a Somali fashion model, actress and entrepreneur. A pioneer in the field of ethnic cosmetics, she is also noted for her charitable work. She is married to David Bowie.
Early life and education[edit source | edit]Edit
Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Iman is the daughter of Marian and Mohamed Abdulmajid. Her father was a diplomat and a former Somali ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and her mother was a gynecologist. She has four siblings: two brothers, Elias and Feisal, and two younger sisters, Idil and Nadia.
Career[edit source | edit]Edit
Modeling[edit source | edit]EditIman at the Metropolitan Opera opening night on September 25, 2006.
While still at university, Iman was discovered by American photographer Peter Beard, and subsequently moved to the United Statesto begin a modeling career. Her first modeling assignment was for Vogue a year later in 1976. She soon landed some of the most prestigious magazine covers, establishing herself as a supermodel.
With her long neck, tall stature, slender figure, fine features, copper-toned skin, and exotic accent, Iman was an instant success in the fashion world, though she herself insists that her looks are merely or typically Somali. She became a muse for many prominent designers, including Halston, Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Issey Miyake, Donna Karan, and, in particular, Yves Saint-Laurent.
"My dream woman is Iman."—Yves Saint-Laurent
Iman credits the nurturing she received from various designers with having given her the confidence to succeed in an era when individuality was valued and model-muses were often an integral part of the creative process.
Business[edit source | edit]Edit
Iman Cosmetics[edit source | edit]Edit
After almost two decades of modeling, Iman started her own cosmetics firm in 1994, focusing on difficult-to-find shades for ethnic women. Based on her years of experience mixing her own formulations for make-up artists to use on her, she had a personal hand in the final product and also acted as the commercial face of the company.
As of 2010, Iman Cosmetics is a $25-million-a-year business. It is centered on $14.99 foundations in 4 formulations and 14 shades, and is among the top-selling foundation brands on Walgreens' website.
Global Chic[edit source | edit]Edit
Due to her marketability and high profile, Iman was approached in 2007 by the CEO of the Home Shopping Network (HSN) to create a clothing design line. Inspired by her childhood in Egypt and modeling time with Halston, Iman's first collection introduced embroidered, one-size-fits-all caftans. Today, her Global Chic collection is one of four best-selling items among more than 200 fashion and jewelry brands on HSN, having evolved into a line of affordable accessories.
Television[edit source | edit]Edit
Iman twice appeared in Miami Vice, playing Dakota in Back in the World (1985) and Lois Blyth in Love At First Sight (1988). Also in 1988, she appeared as Marie Babineaux on an episode of In the Heat of the Night.
In the mid-2000s, Iman spent two years as the host of Bravo TV's fashion-themed show, Project Runway Canada. In November 2010, she along with friend and colleague, designer Isaac Mizrahi, also began hosting the second season of The Fashion Show, a series Bravo started to replace its former hit Project Runway that now moved to the Lifetime network.
Film[edit source | edit]Edit
An occasional actress, Iman first featured in the 1979 British film The Human Factor, and appeared in the 1985 Oscar-winning film Out of Africa alongside Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. She then portrayed Nina Beka in the 1987 thriller No Way Out with Kevin Costner, and later played a shapeshifting alien named Martia in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
Video games[edit source | edit]Edit
Iman also makes a cameo alongside her husband David Bowie in the 1999 Windows 9x and Dreamcast 3D adventure game, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, developed by the video game company Quantic Dream. She appears as one of the numerous Omikronian citizens the player can "reincarnate" into.
Humanitarian work[edit source | edit]Edit
In addition to running her global beauty company, Iman is also actively involved in a number of charitable endeavors. She is currently a spokesperson for the Keep a Child Alive program, and works closely with, among others, the Children's Defense Fund. She also serves as an Ambassador for Save the Children, and has been active in raising awareness of their relief services in the greater East Africa region.Additionally, Iman works with the Enough Project to end the global trade in conflict minerals, having played a key part in the public campaign against blood diamonds through her termination of her contract with the diamonds conglomerate De Beers over a conflict of ethics.
Awards[edit source | edit]Edit
Over the course of her long modeling and philanthropic career, Iman has been the recipient of many awards. On June 7, 2010, she received a Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a special prize reserved for "an individual whose signature style has had a profound influence on fashion". Iman selected her friend, actress and former model Isabella Rossellini, to present the award. Wearing a gown designed by Giambattista Valli with four giant diamond bracelets on each arm, Iman thanked her parents "for giving me a neck longer than any other girl on any go-see anywhere in the world".
Personal life[edit source | edit]EditIman with her husband David Bowie in 2009
Iman first got married at the age of eighteen to a young Somali man with whom she had fallen in love. The marriage ended a few years later when she moved to the United States to pursue a modeling career. In 1977, she married American basketball player Spencer Haywood. Their daughter, Zulekha Haywood, was born in 1978. The two divorced in February 1987. On April 24, 1992, Iman married British rock musician David Bowie in a private ceremony in Lausanne. The wedding was later solemnized on June 6. They have one daughter, Alexandria Zahra Jones, born August 15, 2000. Iman is also stepmother to Bowie's son from a previous marriage,Duncan Jones. Both children bear Bowie's legal surname. Iman and her family reside primarily in Manhattan and London.
Bibliography[edit source | edit]Edit
- I Am Iman (2001)
- The Beauty of Color (2005)
Filmography[edit source | edit]Edit
|The Human Factor||1979||Sarah|
|Out of Africa||1985||Mariammo|
|No Way Out||1987||Nina|
|In the Heat of the Night||1988||Marie Babineaux|
|House Party 2||1991||Sheila Landreaux|
|Lies of the Twins||1991||Cat/Elie|
|Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country||1991||Martia|
|The Linguini Incident||1991||Dali Guest|
|Remember the Time (music video)||1992||Queen|
|Exit to Eden||1994||Nina|
|Project Runway Canada||2007||self|
|Project Runway Canada||2009||self|
|The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection||2010||self|