It’s former supermodel Iman, who celebrates her 59th birthday today!
Hailing from Somalia, Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid went to high school in Egypt and later lived in Kenya.
It was here, whilst on her way to Nairobi University, that Iman was spotted by US photographer Peter Beard, who was taken by the student’s striking features and asked her if she’d ever been photographed before. In later years when recalling the meeting with Beard, Iman reportedly said she’d thought at the time: “Why do people always think Africans have never seen a camera?”
However, when Beard offered to pay her to photograph her, Iman asked for $8,000 – the money she required for a one year scholarship – and Beard agreed.
She relocated to the US and soon became one of the most sought after fashion models of the 1970s and ‘80s, breaking down barriers for future models of colour, who often struggled to earn equal opportunities – and pay – compared to their white counterparts.
In 1992, Iman married British rock star David Bowie and two years later, she launched the renowned skincare, cosmetics and fragrances brand, aptly called Iman. Featuring an array of products, the company was launched to address the lack of availability of varied make-up for women of colour.
Now a retired model, Iman is actively involved in several charities, including The Children’s Defense Fund, Action Against Hunger and the Hawa Abdi Foundation, which aims to bring basic human rights to Somali people.
Smart and stunning, here’s wishing Iman a very happy birthday.
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