Monday, June 06, 2005
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Travels and Conversation
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Iman, Forever a Model
In 1979, Iman made history as the first African (or African-American) woman to appear on the cover of Vogue. Soon afterwards she made more history when she became the first woman of color to sign a cosmetics contract. She became as big a star as a model could become in that era, and quickly turned her attention to film.
After some small roles in some truly terrible films, Iman got her breakthrough in the Oscar-winning Out of Africa with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. From there she moved on to roles in films like House Party 2, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and a cameo in the Michael Jackson "Remember the Time" video.
Having grown weary of promoting cosmetics, Iman decided that the major brands were not doing enough to address the needs of women of color. In 1994, she launched her own line of cosmetics aimed exclusively at this often overlooked and underrepresented consumer group. So far, the company has been extremely successful and in 2000 the company launched the I-IMAN Makeup line of cosmetics for use by all women.
A successful modeling stint, a respectable acting resume and a successful business gave Iman almost every accomplishment she could have wanted in her professional career. But she still felt alone after her divorce to Spencer Haywood, the father of her daughter Zulekha, in the mid-1980s. By the time the 1990s had rolled around, she had found herself a soul mate in the form of music royalty.
Legendary artist David Bowie fell head over heels for the model after she finally accepted his backstage pass to a 1990 show in Los Angeles. Two years later the two were married, and have remained together ever since. In 2000, the power couple gave birth to their first child together, Alexandria Zahra.
Far from keeping her success and her talents exclusively to herself, Iman has worked hard to make sure that she can use her celebrity to help the underprivileged. As an active member of Mother's Voices, Action Against Hunger, The Children's Defense Fund, and the All Children Foundation, Iman has entrenched herself as one of the most socially conscious women in the celebrity world.
Iman is certainly one of the most beautiful women on Earth, but by conquering such diverse challenges as modeling, acting, raising a family, and fighting for a better world, she has made herself one of the most respected too.
why we like her?
Aside from her beauty and sexiness, the main reason we love Iman is because she is perhaps the only person or thing in the world that look as good today (if not better) as they did in the '70s.
why is she famous?
When an individual does not need a last name to be recognized, they belong to a very elite class of celebrity. Iman entered that select group during the late 1970s, when she became one of the most recognizable and popular fashion models in the world. During the 1980s, she began acting and appeared in such fare as Out of Africa and House Party 2. In 1992, she married David Bowie and has since been working as a global human rights activist and entrepreneur.
When describing Iman it seems appropriate to paraphrase Wayne's World's Wayne Campbell in saying, "We are not worthy!" She is a woman who is respected worldwide as a true ambassador of goodwill and human rights. Arguably, she is the most recognizable African in the world today. She is also one of the most successful and beautiful models of all-time. To top it all off, at more than 45 years of age, Iman seems to have found a fountain of youth that keeps her as beautiful as ever.
Trying to ignore all of the things that seem to elevate Iman over the typical Hollywood actress or European model will be tough, but we'll try. One of the first things you notice about Iman is that her beauty is truly incomparable to North American or European beauty standards. With her perfect bone structure, dark beautiful eyes and lithe figure, she has no compatriots in our popular culture to which we can compare.
Iman's desirability is strong enough on her own merits, but her marriage to David Bowie presents us with the possibility for a few intangibles that we may not know about. Think about it: Iman is responsible for domesticating one of the greatest sex symbols of the last century. If David Bowie would give up his life of excess for the opportunity to start a family with Iman, we can only start to imagine what her unseen qualities must be.
Modeling isn't a very difficult talent; in fact, most of the population could physically perform the work that models do (given a certain amount of physical attributes, that is), so Iman's talents don't lie there. Acting, on the other hand, is a talent that requires training and is very difficult to do, and though Iman is a competent and capable actor, she will not be nominated for an Oscar anytime soon.
Writing a book is a trying process that Iman has recently conquered with her autobiography, I Am Iman, but it's definitely not her strongest suit. Running a successful business in the ultra-competitive cosmetics industry is another challenge that Iman has conquered, but she is a long way from making a dent in Revlon or Maybelline. Serving as the unofficial ambassador for her country and the human rights movements is also very demanding, but Iman seems to master those tasks. In fact, if Iman is lacking talent in one specific area it's because she's spreading herself relatively thin. Did we mention that she can speak five languages?
Personality wise, Iman carries herself with a grace that few women on Earth can match. She is intelligent, humorous, well read, and globally conscious. It is to the point where an editor would have trouble deciding whether a feature piece on Iman belongs in the Entertainment or News section. Watch any interview with her and you'll see that she is one of the most interesting celebrities today and possibly ever.
Iman's sexiness doesn't seem to be disappearing with age. While the women she shared cover space with in the 1970s seem to be fading, she has remained as beautiful and attractive as ever. One look at her renowned dark eyes is more than enough to understand why David Bowie had to marry her. The only potential detractor against Iman's sexiness is the intimidation factor. She's a woman who is probably taller, smarter, better-looking, and in better shape than you. Even in a fantasy world, she is an intimidating person.
There are few women that have graced AskMen's Women section who can list more accomplishments than Iman. The earliest achievement to put her on the map was her meteoric rise to fame as a model in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In that period, she was fashion's most recognizable face and name.
Using that initial thrust into the spotlight, Iman jumped into film and made appearances in such notable films as Out of Africa, No Way Out and L.A. Story and box office successes like Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and House Party 2. By the early 1990s, she had earned the coveted "model/actress" title and was running out of fields to conquer.
Though she was not a musician, she did make a splash in that field when she married one of its crown princes, David Bowie, in 1992. Iman has also made great strides in the political arena by raising awareness about her native Somalia, and in the business world with her successful cosmetics line. Having made an impact in almost every area that a celebrity can aspire to, Iman is one of the most recognizable and respected figures in the world.
Probably the best way to gauge a woman's natural beauty is to observe how she ages. If you doubt this strategy, take a look at the silicone ravaged legions of women in the lobby of a plastic surgeon. For Iman, her natural beauty keeps shining through with every passing year.
Her skin has remained as flawless as ever, and her bone structure is still strong enough to cut glass. Iman should probably serve as the guide for how a model can age without compromising her looks or self-respect.
As a former model and Political Science student, it's no surprise that Iman has an eye for fashion and a brain for sensibility. She has never opted for an over-the-top look or taken part too heavily in any trend. Instead she sticks to earth tones and reserved clothing in formal, professional and casual situations.
This rather conservative style may not be the type of gear to land her on a best dressed list, but she has firmly entrenched herself on our "most graceful" list, which seems a little more fitting.
-This article courtesy of AskMen.com
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Liya Kebede, Goodwill Ambassador
Once again, Liya is gracing another magazine cover, May's Vogue issue (Iman, was the first African, or African-American, to be on Vogue in 1979) where they talk about her recent appointment as goodwill ambassador, she was on the cover of Essence back in September and Iman, Somalian supermodel, was giving her an interview, which I thought was special, it was as if Iman was passing her the baton. Liya is the biggest model in the world (Asia has voted her model of the year). I will post a pic later! :)
P.S. Hope all my Habeshas had a Good Easter this past weekend and stuffed your faces with injera:)