“Did you bring your own makeup?”
That's not a question you'd expect to be asked if you're jetsetting around the world, gracing the covers of the top fashion magazines and being deemed Yves Saint-Laurent's "dream woman." However, that was sadly the reality for international supermodel Iman.
The Somalian beauty recounts her anger and frustration from the blatant lack of diversity within the beauty industry via a short article she penned for Women's Wear Daily. Although there are still cases of black-girl-beauty-ignorance rearing its ugly head, Iman took a giant leap in the right direction when she broke into the beauty business in 1994.
Her solution? The high fashion cover girl created her own line of products specially targeted for woman of color--which we all know today as Iman Cosmetics. The importance of the brand, which was launched in 1994, goes beyond achieving a flawless complexion, bold lip and smokey eye.
"It was more than foundations and powders; it was appealing to a deep psychological need that I think all black women needed at that time: to be told that they were beautiful, invited to sit at the cool table and courted in high style," Iman writes.
Furthermore, the model-turned-beauty mogul urges mainstream brands to sit up and take notice of the massive multicultural buying power. "It would be an exercise in foolishness not to invite this customer out to play," Iman says.
While companies like Chanel are starting to dabble in extended foundation lines, it's still the prestige brands like Fashion Fair, Iman Cosmetics and a relatively new makeup line called BlackUp that are leading the way in diversity at the beauty counter.
Read Iman's full article over at WWD.com and check out her amazing style evolution in the slideshow below.