Iman was expected to bring her own foundation to photoshoots in the early days of her career.
The supermodel recalled her experiences with racism and discrimination in a lengthy post on Instagram, in which she discussed why she decided to launch her own beauty brand, IMAN Cosmetics, back in 1994.
She began by revealing that in the days before she had her own cosmetics company, she would turn up to a photoshoot and find that the make-up artist didn’t have products to match her skin tone.
“Pre-IMAN Cosmetics, as a supermodel being strewn to all luxuriant pockets of the world on location with access to the most coveted innovators nothing should have been off-limits when it came to beauty,” she wrote. “I would show up to a shoot fresh-faced, ready to be primped into divineness, and the make-up artist of the moment would greet me with what was a commonplace opener at that time: ‘Did you bring your own foundation?’ And we all knew what that meant. ‘There are no foundations for your skin tone.’ Ouch! This is not the uniqueness I was going for.”
The 64-year-old decided to set up her beauty brand to create a diverse range of foundation shades as she wanted black women to feel included and like that had “a seat at the table.”
“It was more than foundations and powders for me; it was appealing to a deep psychological need that I think all Black women needed at that time: To be told that they were beautiful, invited to sit at the table, and courted in high style: women of all skin tones want to look good when they rule the world,” Iman explained. “I wasn’t going to wait for a seat at the table… I just build my own table!”
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