Supermodel Iman Calls For Diversity In The Beauty Industry With The Help Of Fellow Models


Lack of diversity remains a problem in the beauty and fashion industry. Sure, things are definitely better than they once were, but there is a way to go before diverse beauty is the accepted standard. One person who knows firsthand about the continuing struggle for diversity is supermodel Iman. After a long and successful career as a model, she has been a prominent force in the beauty industry since she launched her self-titled cosmetics line over 20 years ago.

Interviewed for a new i-D documentary exposing the bias within the beauty industry and the struggle to find products to accentuate the various skin tones of Black women, Iman says that even as a top model, she struggled to find the right makeup.

Refinery 29 posted an excerpt of the documentary.

Iman says: “I learned then that I had to really control my images,” she says. “So I went out…to every store I could find, and I would mix it and…put it on my face, and finally I found something a little suitable and I made a batch. This is 1976, and I carried it with me to every shoot I did.” Iman added, “Every Black model I know carries her own foundation.”

Iman says she’s carried her own foundation after a photo shoot back in 1975 when a photographer asked her if she’d brought her own. Without it, she says that her skin looked gray and ashen in the resulting photos given the lack of makeup options for brown-skinned women.

Fellow model Philomena Kwao is also featured in the documentary. She recounts similar experiences.

“Growing up as a young Black woman in London, [photographers and makeup artists] often struggled to buy makeup that works for my skin tone, which seems crazy in this day and age,” Kwo said.

You can check out the full i-D documentary on Black beauty BELOW:


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Supermodel Iman Calls For Diversity In The Beauty Industry With The Help Of Fellow Models  was originally published on

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