Supermodel, brilliant entrepreneur, passionate activist . . . there are so many reasons that Iman is the recipient of our first-ever Beauty Icon award. As one of the world's best-known models, the 56-year-old Somali stunner shows no signs of slowing down as she continues influence the world of style. Watch our video to find out why she's as inspiring as she is gorgeous, and keep reading for an exclusive Q&A with Iman.
BellaSugar: When you were just starting out as a model, did you have any inkling of what your life might become?
Iman: I had no idea what my life would be like, but I was always open to change. Change helps you find your calling, your legacy, and the divine plan for your life as it will reveal itself as long as you’re open to it.
BellaSugar: You started Iman Cosmetics in 1994, when there were few options for women of color. What do you consider your biggest success with the line?
Iman: I was able to answer the question, "What do women with skin of color want in cosmetics?" We want the same thing like everyone else — flawless foundations that flatter and not alter our skin tones! Creating IMAN Cosmetics informed my decision as well as my expertise to create a brand that works for real-life women. It was a celebration of our skin tone . . . makeup that makes us look radiant and feel beautiful in our skin . . . and that was its biggest success. That is the IMAN difference!
BellaSugar: Our readers always want to know: what's your secret for looking so good?
Iman: Like brushing my teeth at least twice a day, I take care of my skin religiously twice a day by cleansing, moisturizing, and hydrating and [going] once a month for a deep cleansing facial. I also never leave home without an SPF on my face . . . The sun doesn't discriminate. My motto has always been the skin you take care of in your 20s is the one you will inherit in your 50s and beyond, and I am a testament to that!
BellaSugar: What is your definition of beauty?
Iman: Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, skin tones, ages, and backgrounds. The most beautiful thing about any woman is her confidence. Especially for women with skin of color, it’s all about feeling fabulous and great in your own skin!
BellaSugar: If you could go back in time to impart wisdom to your 25-year-old self, what would you tell her?
Iman: Be fearless and make your own rules . . . and always know your worth!
BellaSugar: You've long been a vocal advocate for women and children, especially for Raise Hope for Congo. What fuels your commitment, and how can our readers help make a difference?
Iman: I totally believe that success is not what you do but what you inspire others to do. Mentor a young girl or find yourself a good mentor — make a difference in the lives of others. It doesn't have to be somewhere far away as I believe charity begins at home. Start with your own community and then think of the larger world that is our universal community.
BellaSugar: Congratulations on approaching your 20th anniversary with David Bowie. What advice do you have for people looking for a lasting, healthy partnership?
Iman: Be spontaneous, be loving, and be respectful of each other.
On Annie: BCBG.View Transcript »
Only a handful of people are known just by their first names. But when you're a supermodel, an entrepreneur, an author, and an activist, there's no doubt about it, you've reached icon status. Who else could we be talking about but Iman? Known for her long neck and to die for cheekbones, Iman is one of the most successful models of all time. She was discovered studying political science in college, and landed her very first modeling job with Vogue, and the rest as they say, is history. Designers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein praised her unique beauty, before she retired from the catwalk in 1989, and today she stunning as she was on the runway. In 1994 she started her own cosmetics line, offering an unprecedented selection of makeup and skin care of woman of color. The phenomenal success of Iman Cosmetics led her to write two books, "I Am Iman" and "The Beauty Of Color." But her entrepreneurial drive didn't stop there. More recently she's expanded into signature home and accessory lines based on her global travels. For decades, Iman has stood up for the rights of women and children around the world. During last year's famine in her native Somalia, Iman designed a bracelet to help raise money for Save The Children. She's also global ambassador for Keep a Child Alive, a charity that helps families and children affected by HIV aids decades of influence behind her and she shows no signs of slowing down. Plus it doesn't hurt to be part of a power couple. This year she celebrates her 20th anniversary with husband David Bowie. For creating better beauty choices for women of color, for inspiring people on and off the runway, and for working to through the lives of people all around the world, Iman is a true beauty icon. Be sure to keep watching to discover all of our winners of the Bella Sugar beauty awards.