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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5 Supermodels That Transformed Into Super Moguls

Since the late 1960s when Donyale Luna became the first African American model to grace the cover of British Vogue, African-American models have been cracking the industry’s glass ceiling by appearing on runways worldwide and in publications that initially wouldn’t dare to feature a black beauty on the cover. 

Not only have these models crafted successful careers for themselves, but several have taken it a step further by using their modeling careers as a platform to transition into entrepreneurship.

Here are our five picks for black supermodels models that turned themselves into super moguls:


Beverly Johnson

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