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Vogue Arabia Celebrates Two Renowned Models

posted on: Mar 7, 2018

By Emiliya Strahilova/Arab America Contributing Writer

Imaan Hammam and Iman Abdulmajid shine brightly on the new cover of Vogue Arabia, proudly representing their Arab heritage. It is women’s month and the anniversary of the Arab version of the bestselling fashion magazine, at the same time. The beauty of the 21-year-old supernova in the modeling field Imaan, and the splendor of the accomplished Iman are outstanding but there is more than that.

Both models are successfully over the top and have deserved their highest rankings. Besides, they both use fame as a tool to reach out to the public and advocate for important causes they care about.

Imaan (Hammam), at the ascension of her career, has never hesitated to put ethnicity issues in the span of attention, while her more experienced colleague has realized that for decades. Another point Iman and Imaan share is their Muslim identity. Vogue Arabia published not one but three covers featuring the Arab women wearing cozy silk black and white turbans.

Here is how the magazine editors explained their choice for the anniversary release: “With life stories deeply rooted in the Arab world, @imaanhammam and @the_real_iman are the perfect cover stars for the bumper March issue.”  They also put a cheerful video on their website in which the two models play a game of tasting various traditional Arab foods with their eyes blindfolded.

The Somalian legendary figure in the fashion world Iman is strongly related to the Arab culture. Her full name is Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid and she was raised not only in Somalia but also in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. She speaks favorably about these countries: “I’m Muslim” she says, “and Egypt was a very progressive place. Girls like me could go to school. I completely fell in love with the people and the cultural legacy that goes far beyond the pyramids.”  She also gives credit to Egyptian worshipped celebrities from the past Umm Kulthum and Faten Hamama who served as an inspiring example to her.

Iman (Abdulmajid) is a veteran in modeling with more than 40 years experience. Her first job after arriving in the US at the age of 20, was for Vogue. The photoshoots she did for the magazine since then are countless. Now Iman is called by everyone a fashion icon but she confesses that in her youth she was treated as an exotic creature and her ethnicity has been undermined. For instance, people didn’t expect her to speak English, although she was fluent in five languages.

Abdulmajid is also recognized by the world as the famous wife of another icon–the British phenomenal artist David Bowie. Their love was long lasting and they documented it with hundreds of charming pictures.

Iman (Abdulmajid) is not only a model and a wife, she is an actress, businesswoman, and an activist too. In the 90’s she started a makeup brand for women of color, which triumphed through the years. In addition, she is a spokesman, an ambassador, and a supporter of international charity projects like Save the Children,  Keep a Child Alive,  Children’s Defense Fund.

Imaan (Hammam) has a collection of Vogue cover appearances on her own. The growth of her career is flying. She was discovered in the Netherlands where she was born but now she resides in New York. She is bold and open about her religion and is often associated with emblematic Muslim model Halima Aden.

Here is how the Dutch-Arab model responds to the curiosity around her origins: “I’m half Moroccan, half Egyptian, and I was born in Amsterdam. I’m Muslim, and I’m super-proud of my heritage and of my roots.” she goes on to say, “I want to be a role model for young girls who are struggling with racism or struggling with their looks or with their skin color. I had Naomi Campbell, who I looked up to as a black powerful woman. But there aren’t many Arabic models, and being an African-Arab model, I’m trying to open doors for more Arab girls.”

2018 started victoriously for Hammam. Her presence at Milan Fashion Week in February won her tons of admiration for her fabulous Versace look.

Iman and Imaam were eager to share some of their Vogue Arabia shoots in the social media. Together the two supermodels feel and look comfortable in their skin and exceptionally elegant. Vogue Arabia is now part of the Vogue family and this is a reason to believe (Iman in Arabic means faith) discrimination based on race and nationality differences has no place on the fashion industry runway.