Born in Somalia, Iman was discovered as a refugee while studying political science at Nairobi University by legendary photographer Peter Beard. Her first modeling assignment was for Vogue in 1976 and she has challenged the prevailing notions of beauty ever since. Iman was an instant success in the fashion world and a muse for fashion designers including Yves. St. Laurent, Versace, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. During her 14 years as a model, she worked with top photographers Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Annie Liebovitz.
Presently, Iman is Founder and CEO of IMAN Cosmetics, Skincare and Fragrances, a beauty company that created the first cosmetics and skincare collection designed for all women with skin of color. In addition to running a global beauty company, she is actively involved in several charities, including The Children’s Defense Fund, Action Against Hunger and the RAISE HOPE FOR CONGO campaign, which aims to build a permanent and diverse constituency of activists who advocate for protection and empowerment of Congolese women and girls. She also works closely with the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation, whose mission is to create access to basic human rights in Somalia through building sustainable institutions in healthcare, education, agriculture, and social entrepreneurship.
Iman is the author of two books; I AM IMAN (Universe, 2001), an autobiographical sketchbook of her career and THE BEAUTY OF COLOR, THE Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color (Putnam Penguin 2005), the first beauty and makeup book that truly addresses skin tones across the spectrum.
Iman lives in New York City, is the mother of two daughters, Zulekha Haywood and Alexandra Jones and is the widow of the visionary artist David Bowie.