Monday Inspirations: Iman

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“I learned about modeling on the job, and I had a system. Remember that most people didn’t think that I spoke English, so I devised a system where I didn’t say much. People freely talked in front of me, and I listened as I went along and learned how to maneuver this minefield that is fashion, because you know, you’re so replaceable, so exchangeable.

To me, it really was a business transaction, it was not anything else. It was a way of taking care of my family, of putting my brothers and sisters through schooling. I had a vested interest in a different point of view, and I always had longevity in mind—it’s about how to make this thing work for you. That helped in the negotiations.

The power’s not always in someone else’s hands, because I could walk away from it; there was no desperation. And as a black model, it’s even more important because then you will know how not to be abused. When I came here, there was a certain price [in a model fee] that they would pay the white models and not the black models. And I said, ‘I’m not going to do it.’ I always thought, ‘What do I have to lose? Nothing! I can always go back, I have a return ticket.’”

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2 thoughts on “Monday Inspirations: Iman

  1. “People freely talked in front of me, and I listened as I went along and learned how to maneuver this minefield that is fashion, because you know, you’re so replaceable, so exchangeable.”

    I can’t begin to tell bw how much this strategy has helped me. People reveal so much about themselves when you take it upon yourself to stop yapping and LISTEN. Knowledge is gained, true intentions are exposed, and relationships can be properly vetted. Look at Iman’s longevity in the industry!! The woman knows what she’s talking about 🙂

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