Iman never thought she would be a model when she was younger, but when she landed her first job she did not feel confident but wasn’t scared.
The 62-year-old catwalk icon – whose full name is Zara Mohamed Abdulmajid – embarked on a career in the fashion business in 1976 when she landed her first major modelling job starring in a photoshoot for Vogue, but the star has admitted when she was a child growing up in East Africa she couldn’t even dream of a future as a fashion model.
In a post penned by the fashion muse for Vogue.com, she wrote: “In 1976, after I’d arrived in New York, aged 20, my very first modelling job was for Vogue. It was not, however, my first sitting; that happened a year or so earlier in Kenya. There, by chance, I made the acquaintance of the rakish photographer-cum-adventurer Peter Beard. When Peter proposed a photo session, though I could never have envisioned the trajectory it would set in motion, I could at least see negotiating a fee for the equivalent of my college tuition – and a deal was struck.
“Growing up in eastern Africa in the 1960s and ’70s, I could not have aspired to become a fashion model even if I’d wanted to: If they existed, news of their habits never reached me at boarding school.”
Iman – who was married to the late David Bowie before his tragic death in January 2016 – has admitted she was “hardly confident” when she first started out, but she was not “scared” of modelling because she felt she had “nothing to lose”.
She explained: “When the day of Peter’s shoot arrived, though I brought along my own face and body, these were the women whose images I summoned to bring me to life in front of the camera. I pretended I was all of them. More prosaically, for protection, I also brought my five girlfriends, who stood sentinel just outside the camera’s frame. While I was hardly confident, I was not scared. I felt I had nothing to lose, only to gain.”