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“I banked on myself”! Supermodel Iman shares her Biggest Risks, Regrets & More in Retrospective Essence feature





The path to success is not meant to be a secret; it is meant to be shared. That’s the idea Supermodel Iman had in mind when she sat down with Essence magazine for its “What I Know Now” segment.

In the brief feature, the 59-year-old Somali-American fashion model who has also debuted as an actress and beauty entrepreneur, is sharing her life’s wisdom on beauty and business over the years.

Read excerpts from her interview below;


What she could never have predicted
That my Iman cosmetics line would be successful from the very beginning when I launched it in 1994. I had been told it takes a long time, anywhere
 from six months to a year. But it was the right time, the right product, and the stars were aligned.

The biggest risk she has ever taken
Blindly leaving Africa in 1975 to become a model. I had never even read a fashion magazine. I think about the audacity and courage it took. I felt I had nothing to lose. I banked on myself. The people who are the most successful in life are not stopped by fear. Instead of saying, “What if it doesn’t work out?” say, “But what if I succeed?”

The advice she’s glad she never took
Whenever someone told me, “It’s not
right for you” or “You’re not right for it.” This happened a lot when I was a model and then when I became an entrepreneur. I don’t change the way I think; I change the environment.

What she doesn’t regret
Knowing your worth. Don’t ever cheat yourself by accepting something less. When I started modeling, they tried to pay Black models less than they paid Caucasian models. I turned down those jobs because I knew what I was worth.

What she hopes she will be remembered for
My service—making women of color look and feel their best and love the skin they are in.

To read more nuggets of wisdom from Iman, read the rest of her feature on

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at) or style(at) | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle


  1. i no send

    June 12, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    59 ke?? beautiful woman

  2. bruno FIERCE

    June 12, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    there can only be one IMAN.
    so smart and well spoken.

    I particularly love the quote.

    ” Instead of saying, “What if it doesn’t work out?” say, “But what if I succeed?”
    bellanaija pls this should be the quote of the day.

    ” I don’t change the way I think; I change the environment.”

    I will never in my life change the way I think, cause I know I am right 99 percent of the time.
    iman thank u.

  3. Tosin

    June 12, 2015 at 10:21 pm


  4. "I banked on myself"

    June 12, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    “I banked on myself.” “….Because I knew what I was worth.” “I don’t change the way I think, I change the environment.” You know that’s right. Great words, great job Iman.

  5. who's business

    June 13, 2015 at 3:14 am

    Love you Iman.. wishing and praying for such a statue at 59.. (I know I would have it **winks

  6. Tokunbo

    June 16, 2015 at 10:54 am

    ‘”Bank on yourself”‘ WOOOOOOOOOOOOOORD

  7. The Buttery Hotness

    June 16, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I love IMAN powder! It is my belief that it transforms me to a Nubian princess. Na ah, you can’t tell me nothing. Haha.

    Love IMAN, Gorgeous woman. “Instead of saying, “What if it doesn’t work out?” say, “But what if I succeed?”. That right there is the Word God put out there for me today.

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