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Iman is a retired supermodel from the country of Somalia. She's married to rocker David Bowie.
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"In the first year, I have found everything that could go wrong in this business," she told Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service writer Campbell in a 1996 article.
Perhaps even more ominously, Iman's first year as a cosmetics mogul coincided with an aggressive move by Revlon and other major cosmetic companies to capture that segment of the market as well. Many of these giants launched their own lines aimed at women of color, or expanded their existing product range. Still,
the Iman Collection sold an impressive $12 million worth of products the first year, and in 1995 she agreed to a deal with Ivax, a Miami-based drug and cosmetic company. She retained control of the company still, but her line was given a sales staff and distribution network. The following year, it grossed $30 million.
After her experience with Somali relief efforts, Iman continued to serve as an activist on several fronts. She became a successful fund-raiser for Marion Wright Edelman's Children's Defense Fund, and in 1999 created a lipstick with rapper Missy Elliott called "Misdemeanor"; a portion of the proceeds were donated to Break the Cycle, an organization committed to ending domestic violence. But Iman's cosmetic venture was so successful that in 2000 she launched a prestige line, "I-Iman," with a much more daring palette. Sold in Sephora stores, the brand was aimed at women of all colors.
Iman declares herself proud of her successful career transition, as she told Bowie in Interview, and considers herself "a very good businesswoman," she opined. "The natural lioness in me just came out very well. I can delegate responsibilities, but then I let people do what they're good at and supervise." In August of 2000, the couple became parents to a daughter they named Alexandria Zahra, who was born in a Los Angeles hospital. Parenthood was something they had discussed publicly since the time of their marriage, and in the 1994 Interview piece, Bowie had even asked his wife what kind of grandmother she would prove to be in her old age. He wondered will "the future Granny Iman sit with needlepoint and canvas in her rocking chair, within the confines of an Italianate atrium, or is she an outgoing Chanel-type figure?" Iman laughed and replied, "It's definitely needlepoint and rocking chair. Probably with two dogs and little kids by my side. Definitely! ... And the husband, of course."
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