Backtalk with Iman

Your Global Chic accessories line is a best-seller on the Home Shopping Network. Were you surprised at that success?
I was very surprised because it’s a totally different arena [where] people either respond to you or they don’t. So I was glad that they responded to me, but it’s very tricky.

You’re now doing reality TV and you have several entrepreneurial ventures in the works. Are you afraid when you go into these new areas that people might not respond?
There are people who say failure is not an option. I’m not scared to fail, because it gives me the opportunity for change. And change is good, regardless of what form it comes in, because it makes you really observe and reorganize and rethink your life. So, no, new ventures are not scary in that way. I always ask two things: Is it authentic and could it harm my cosmetics? Because that’s my baby. I’d rather be remembered for Iman Cosmetics than anything else.

Why?
Before I was a model, I majored in political science. That was always my passion. With Iman Cosmetics, I wanted to tackle the politics of beauty. I wanted to change people’s notions about what beautiful was. In 1992 when I was thinking of putting the brand on the market, I started to research it. The Census Bureau was my bible. I [realized] there was a browning of America and I wanted to be part of it. I’m not saying that I created the first brand of black [products], but it was the first brand that literally was multicultural. So that’s a different kind of ball game. This is very personal for me. Nothing will ever touch that.

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