Iman Abdulmajid was already a supermodel by the time she married David Bowie in 1992. Born in Somalia, Iman was discovered in Nairobi by American photographer Peter Beard. Beard returned to the U.S. with photos of Iman and eventually convinced her to leave Kenya, where she was studying political science at a university.
Iman’s trip to the U.S. was not completely on the up-and-up, as the supermodel revealed to New York Magazine this week. 18 years old at the time, Abdulmajid would have been required to get her parents’ permission to get a passport to leave Kenya. Knowing her parents would not approve of her plans to become a model, she lied about her age and left without informing them.
But pretending to be 19 and jetting off to New York did not get past her father, who learned about the trip through an unlikely source: Newsweek magazine. As Iman told New York Magazine, her success got back to her family.
“You know how they found out? I was in Newsweek a week later. It’s the only magazine my father reads, and the next thing, he’s reading, and there’s a picture of me in New York, [saying,] ‘She’s the hottest model now.'”
She also admitted her transgression was not legal, but doubts it will get her into trouble now.
“I broke the law! But nobody can touch me now, I’m 60 years old, it’s too late. The time has passed.”
Abdulmajid is 59. She turns 60 on July 25, according to Biography.
Iman started her cosmetics company in 1994 and, unlike her notoriously reclusive husband David Bowie, remains a regular presence on the New York party circuit. Abdulmajid is constantly updating her fans on the goings-on of her business through her social media accounts.
— Iman Abdulmajid (@The_Real_IMAN) April 9, 2015
“David is even more of a homebody than I am. At least I go to parties once in a while. He does [just enjoy his own company]. I also think there is nothing that he hasn’t seen. He’s been to all the parties that there are.”
Asked by The Guardian whether her preoccupation with her company while Bowie maintains a private life was a “role reversal,” Iman seemed to bristle at the suggestion.
“Are you kidding me? He makes far more money than I do. What role reversal? I don’t know why people think he’s not doing anything. He’s making his money work for him. That’s what he’s doing.”
[Iman Abdulmajid image courtesy of Getty]