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Iman

Iman

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Also Known As: Iman Abudul Majid Died:
Born: July 25, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Somalia Profession: actor, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With her regal frame, arresting features, and sharp wit, Iman was a supermodel personified. The Somali-born Iman forever changed the face of high fashion, breaking all barriers that had previously prevented black models from striding down the most elite catwalks, landing lucrative beauty contracts, and gracing magazine covers. At the height of her career, Iman worked with some of the worldâ¿¿s most famed photographers and designers. She also won over British rock icon, David Bowie, whom she married in 1992. After she retired from modeling, Iman went on to helm a successful cosmetics line for women of color, appeared in a number of film and TV roles, and became the spokeswoman for various humanitarian causes. In 2010, Iman starred on the reality competition series "The Fashion Show" (Bravo, 2010- ), where she inspired fashion confidence, and at the same time, cemented her place in fashion as one of its most multifaceted and influential personalities.Iman Abdulmajid was born on July 25, 1955 in Mogadishu, Somalia. She was raised by progressive parents; her mother, a doctor, and her father, a Somali diplomat, sent Iman to a private Catholic school that they believed offered their daughter a better type...

With her regal frame, arresting features, and sharp wit, Iman was a supermodel personified. The Somali-born Iman forever changed the face of high fashion, breaking all barriers that had previously prevented black models from striding down the most elite catwalks, landing lucrative beauty contracts, and gracing magazine covers. At the height of her career, Iman worked with some of the worldâ¿¿s most famed photographers and designers. She also won over British rock icon, David Bowie, whom she married in 1992. After she retired from modeling, Iman went on to helm a successful cosmetics line for women of color, appeared in a number of film and TV roles, and became the spokeswoman for various humanitarian causes. In 2010, Iman starred on the reality competition series "The Fashion Show" (Bravo, 2010- ), where she inspired fashion confidence, and at the same time, cemented her place in fashion as one of its most multifaceted and influential personalities.

Iman Abdulmajid was born on July 25, 1955 in Mogadishu, Somalia. She was raised by progressive parents; her mother, a doctor, and her father, a Somali diplomat, sent Iman to a private Catholic school that they believed offered their daughter a better type of education than a standard Islamic school. Imanâ¿¿s modeling career began after celebrity photographer Peter Beard spotted her walking on a street in Kenya and asked her permission to be photographed. The then-20-year-old student hesitated initially, but she agreed after he reportedly offered to pay her the amount of her college tuition. Shortly after photos of Iman surfaced in the media in 1975, she moved to New York City and took the fashion world by storm with her striking features â¿¿ long neck, copper-toned skin, exotic accent, and aristocratic grace. She became an overnight modeling sensation, singlehandedly breaking barriers that denied black women high-fashion magazine covers, makeup contracts, and haute-couture runway appearances. At the height of her career, Iman was sought-after by some of the most influential designers of the time, particularly the French couturier Yves Saint Laurent, who created an entire collection for her called "The African Queen." She also worked with many prominent photographers, including Helmut Newton and Annie Leibovitz.

After almost two decades in fashion, Iman quit modeling in 1989. She moved to Los Angeles, where she met the British rock icon, David Bowie. Iman, whose previous marriage to basketball star Spencer Haywood ended in 1987, dated Bowie for two years. In 1992, the couple initially married in Switzerland, then remarried in an Italian church two months later. Around this time, Iman became active in a number of charitable works, which included making a documentary, "Somalia Diary," that helped bring awareness to her war-torn native country. In 1994, Iman added businesswoman to her résumé. Frustrated by the lack of makeup shades designed for ethnic skin, Iman founded and became the face of her own cosmetics line for women of color. Like her modeling career, Iman⿿s cosmetics line took off and was reportedly worth $25 million in 2010. After finding her niche in the retail industry, Iman went on to start a clothing line, Global Chic, for the Home Shopping Network. The label expanded to include an affordable line of handbags, jewelry and other accessories.

If being a supermodel and cosmetics mogul were not enough, Iman also ventured into acting. She had featured roles in the Academy Award-winning film "Out of Africa" (1985) alongside Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, in the action drama "No Way Out" (1987), and portrayed a shape shifter in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (1991). In 1992, Imanâ¿¿s kissing scene with the late Michael Jackson in his video "Remember the Time" caused quite a stir, as it was the first time that the Prince of Pop ever locked lips with anyone onscreen. In 2007, Iman started hosting "Project Runway Canada" (Slice, 2007-09), the Canadian version of the hit American reality series, "Project Runway" (Bravo, 2004-08; Lifetime, 2008- ), in which aspiring designers competed to break into the fashion industry. That role likely led to her being cast on "The Fashion Show," a series the network created to replace the void left by "Project Runway" when it moved to Lifetime. But as the answer to "Project Runway," season one of "The Fashion Show" fell short, due partly due to its former co-host/judge, singer Kelly Rowland, who was an unlikely choice to be a fashion authority. Iman, however, gave the show more credibility, and infused a much-needed dose of high fashion. Her prickly personality was also the perfect counterbalance to her exuberant co-host, designer Isaac Mizrahi. Imanâ¿¿s sharp wit and honest advice kept contestants on their toes, delivered memorable critiques, and helped propel the series into a bona fide hit.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Deli, The (1997) The Avocado Lady
2.
 Exit to Eden (1994) Nina
3.
 Heart Of Darkness (1994) Black Beauty
4.
 House Party 2 (1991) Sheila
5.
 L.A. Story (1991) Cynthia
7.
 Lies of the Twins (1991) Elle
9.
 No Way Out (1987) Nina Beka
10.
 Surrender (1987) Hedy
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Sent to live with grandmother in Ethiopia as a child
:
After receiving death threats, her family relocated from Somalia to Kenya; much later family moved to Virginia in the USA
1977:
Discovered by photographer Peter Beard while she was still a student at the University of Nairobi; did some posing for the artist and was encouraged to move to New York
1978:
Moved to New York City; photos of Iman noticed by a modeling agent at an art gallery exhibition of Beard's work; signed to a contract by the Elite Modeling Agency in Manhattan (date approximate)
1979:
Signed to be part of a major ad campaign for Revlon cosmetics
1979:
Made feature film debut in "The Human Factor"
1985:
Earliest TV acting work included a guest stint on an episode of the popular crime drama series, "Miami Vice", directed by series star Don Johnson; episode titled "Back to the World"
1991:
First TV-movie, "Lies of the Twins", made for the USA Network
1992:
Starred with Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, and Magic Johnson in John Singleton's "Remember the Time" music video for Jackson
1992:
Made the documentary "A Journey Home, Somalia"
2000:
Introduced cosmetics line I-IMAN
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Education

University of Nairobi: -

Notes

Her parents had originally wanted to name her Zahra but her grandfather insisted on the more masculine name of Iman.

There is an official Web site at www.i-iman.com

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Spencer Haywood. Professional basketball player. Divorced.
husband:
David Bowie. Rock singer, songwriter, actor. Bowie proposed November 1991; married on June 6, 1992.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Zulekha Haywood. Born c. 1988; father Spencer Haywood.
daughter:
Alexandria Zahra Jones. Born on August 15, 2000; father, David Bowie.

Bibliography close complete biography

"I Am Iman" Universe

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