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Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid

Current Location:: Manhattan and London
Birthplace: Mogadishu, Somalia
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Private and Private
Widow of David Bowie
Ex-wife of Private and Spencer Haywood
Mother of Private and Private
Sister of Private; Private and Private

Occupation: Former model
Managed by: Kristine Paulsen
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • Private
    • ex-husband
    • Private
    • husband
    • Private
    • Private
    • Private
    • Private
    • Private
    • Private
    • Private
      ex-husband's child
    • Private
      ex-husband's child

About Iman

She is professionally known as Iman (which means "faith" in Arabic), is a Somali-American model, actress and entrepreneur. A pioneer in the field of ethnic cosmetics, she is also noted for her charitable work. She is married to David Bowie.

Early life:

Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Iman is the daughter of Marian and Mohamed Abdulmajid. Her father was a diplomat and a former Somali ambassador to Saudi Arabia. She has two brothers, Elyas and Feisal, and a sister, Nadia. For her education, Iman attended high school in Egypt and later lived in Kenya, where she studied political science at Nairobi University.

Iman is Muslim,[4] and fluent in five languages: Somali, Arabic, Italian, French and English.


While still at university, Iman was discovered by American photographer Peter Beard, and subsequently moved to the United States to begin a modeling career. Her first modeling assignment was for Vogue a year later in 1976. She soon landed some of the most prestigious magazine covers, establishing herself as a supermodel.

With her long neck, tall, thin frame, fine features, naturally straight hair, copper-toned skin, and exotic accent, Iman was an instant success in the fashion world, though she herself insists that her looks are merely or typically Somali. She became a muse for many prominent designers, including Halston, Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Issey Miyake, Donna Karan, and, in particular, Yves Saint-Laurent.

“My dream woman is Iman.”

—Yves Saint-Laurent

During her 14 years as a high fashion model, Iman also worked with many notable photographers, including Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Annie Leibovitz.

Iman credits the nurturing she received from various designers with having given her the confidence to succeed in an era when individuality was valued and model-muses were often an integral part of the creative process.

She is signed to One Management in New York City, and Independent Models in London.


Iman Cosmetics:

After almost a decade and a half of modeling, Iman started her own cosmetics firm in 1994, focusing on difficult-to-find shades for ethnic women. Based on her years of experience mixing her own formulations for make-up artists to use on her, she had a personal hand in the final product and also acted as the commercial face of the company.

As of 2010, Iman Cosmetics is a $25-million-a-year business. It is centered on $14.99 foundations in 4 formulations and 14 shades, and is among the top-selling foundation brands on Walgreens' website.

Global Chic:

Due to her marketability and high profile, Iman was approached in 2007 by the CEO of the Home Shopping Network (HSN) about the possibility of starting a clothing design line. After some cajoling, Iman agreed, starting with embroidered, one-size-fits-all caftans inspired by her childhood in Egypt and modeling time with Halston. The clothes were a success. Today, Iman's Global Chic collection is one of four best-selling items among more than 200 fashion and jewelry brands on HSN. The label has evolved into a line of affordable accessories such as shoulder totes with turquoise-colored beading, chandelier earrings, cuff bracelets and other trinkets, as well as top-selling sequin knit wraps.


In the mid-2000s, Iman spent two years as the host of Bravo TV's fashion-themed show, Project Runway Canada. In September 2010, she along with friend and former colleague Isaac Mizrahi are scheduled to host the second season of The Fashion Show, a series Bravo started to replace its former hit Project Runway that now moved to the Lifetime network.


An occasional actress, Iman twice appeared in Miami Vice, playing Dakota in Back in the World (1985) and Nina Beka in No Way Out (1987) with Kevin Costner. She also incarnated the role of Lois Blyth in Love At First Sight (1988), played a shapeshifter named Martia in the 1991 film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and appeared in the Oscar-winning film Out of Africa alongside Robert Redford and Meryl Streep.

Video games:

Iman also makes a cameo alongside her husband David Bowie in the 1999 Windows 9x and Dreamcast 3D adventure game, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, developed by the video game developer Quantic Dream. She appears as one of the numerous Omikronian citizens the player can "reincarnate" into.

Humanitarian work:

In addition to running her global beauty company, Iman is also actively involved in a number of charitable endeavors. She is currently a spokesperson for the Keep a Child Alive program, and works closely with, among others, the Children's Defense Fund.


Over the course of her long modeling and philanthropic career, Iman has been the recipient of many awards. On June 7, 2010, she received a Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a special prize reserved for "an individual whose signature style has had a profound influence on fashion". Iman selected her friend, actress and former model Isabella Rossellini, to present the award. Wearing a gown designed by Giambattista Valli with four giant diamond bracelets on each arm, Iman thanked her parents "for giving me a neck longer than any other girl on any go-see anywhere in the world".

Personal life:

Iman first got married at the age of eighteen to a young Somali man she had fallen in love with. The marriage ended a few years later when she moved to the United States to pursue a modeling career. In 1977, she married American basketball player Spencer Haywood. Their daughter, Zulekha Haywood, was born in 1978. The two divorced in February 1987. On April 24, 1992, Iman married British rock icon David Bowie. They have one daughter, Alexandria Zahra "Lexi" Jones, born August 15, 2000. Iman is also stepmother to Bowie's son from a previous marriage, Duncan Jones. Both children bear Bowie's legal surname. Iman and her family reside primarily in Manhattan and London.


Fashion Model Directory:

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Iman's Timeline

July 25, 1955
Mogadishu, Somalia