Iman Net Worth 2022 – Salary, Income, Earnings

Iman Net Worth

Iman has an estimated net worth of $200 million. Iman is a retired supermodel from the country of Somalia. She was married to late rocker David Bowie. She earns most of her income from brand endorsements, movies, and television programs.  

Iman is a model and actress of Somali descent. Photographer Peter Beard discovered her while she was a student at the University of Nairobi. Iman was a favorite model in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar during the 1970s and 1980s. Yves Saint Laurent dedicated his “African Queen” collection to her. Iman has done charity work in Somalia, launched a cosmetics line, and married rocker David Bowie since retiring from modeling.

To calculate the net worth of Iman, subtract all her liabilities from her total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:

Name: Iman
Net Worth: $200 Million
Monthly Salary: $1 Million
Annual Income: $15 Million
Source of Wealth: Fashion Model, Actor, Entrepreneur, Television producer

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Early Life in Somalia

Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, on July 25, 1955. Iman became a successful business executive in the 1990s with her own cosmetics line after being one of the most sought-after fashion models of the 1970s and 1980s. She has been married to David Bowie since 1992 and gave birth to their daughter Alexandria in 2000, her second child.

Iman’s stunning, exotic looks “broadened the definition of beauty,” according to Washington Post writer Robin Givhan. “She sensualized earthiness.” She was instrumental in transforming fashion into entertainment and models into personalities.”

When Iman was born, her mother, a gynecologist, named her daughter Iman (which translates from Arabic as “faith”) in the hope that it would better prepare her for the challenges she would face as a female in Muslim East Africa. Iman’s parents were decidedly progressive: her father was a diplomat stationed in Tanzania, and while he could have had multiple wives under the law, he chose to keep only one. The parents agreed that their daughter should attend a private Catholic girls’ school, which was thought to be more progressive than the standard Islamic education available to young females in the 1960s. Iman thrived there. “I was a very nerdy child,” she admitted to David Bowie during an interview for Interview in 1994. “Because I never fit in, I became obsessively academic.”

Discovery

Iman was 18 years old and a political science student at the University of Nairobi in 1973. She also worked as a translator to help pay for her education. Photographer Peter Beard, a well-known fashion figure, spotted her on a Nairobi street one day and was captivated by her long neck, high forehead, and gamine grace. He started following her and eventually approached her to inquire whether she had ever been photographed. “The first thing I thought was he wanted me for naked picture prostitution,” Iman laughed about that day in an interview with Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service writer Roy H. Campbell. “I’d never seen Vogue before. I read Time and Newsweek rather than fashion magazines.” When Beard offered to pay her, she reconsidered and asked for the $8,000 owed to the college for her tuition; Beard agreed.

Beard photographed Iman on film that day and brought it back to New York with him. He then spent four months convincing his “discovery” to relocate to New York and start modeling professionally. He even leaked information to the press about her fantastic beauty, claiming that she was descended from African royalty and that he “found” her in the jungle. According to another story, she was a desert goat herder. When Iman finally relented and flew to New York, she was met at the airport by dozens of photographers. A press conference that day introduced her to the ups and downs of celebrity and fame. “I was astounded and offended that they could be so gullible as to believe that all Africans emerge from the jungle,” Iman told Campbell. “Somalia is a desert country. I’d never seen a jungle before. And I was even more offended when they started asking questions and only talking to Peter because they assumed I didn’t speak English, despite the fact that I could speak English and five [other] languages.”

Iman began her career on the haute couture runways and in the pages of fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar after signing with the modeling agency Wilhelmina. She became an instant favorite of designers and editors alike, and she was one of the first models of her generation to be successful in both print and on the runway. Yves Saint Laurent even dedicated a collection to her, “The African Queen,” and one of her most famous images was a shot of her striding down a Paris runway in a Thierry Mugler design, accompanied by a leashed leopard. According to the Washington Post, she led a jet-set lifestyle and frequently squandered her earnings. “At such a young age, you earn an extraordinary amount of money almost for nothing,” she told fashion writer Givhan. “I’d spend all of this money flying the Concorde to Paris for a party and then returning. And I didn’t just do it once. Modeling does not prepare a young girl for life.”

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More than a Model

Iman married basketball player Spencer Haywood in 1978, and they had a daughter. She continued to model but was sidelined for a time after a taxi accident in 1983. She and Haywood divorced in 1987, but a custody battle over their daughter Zulekha, who lived with her father in Detroit, lasted six years longer. Iman retired from modeling in 1989. As she told Bowie in 1994, she was adamant about leaving the business permanently and not staging a comeback, “because then there is no grace in it,” she said in Interview. “So, when I decided to leave, I made certain that there was no cushion in New York for me to return to. I sold my apartment and cut all ties there, except with my friends, so that I would never have the excuse that if something went wrong, I could fall back on that as a safety net. I believe I made one of the best decisions for myself.”

In 1990, Iman moved to Los Angeles, where she met David Bowie through friends. They married on April 24, 1992, in Lausanne, Switzerland, and remarried two months later in an Italian church. Many considered their relationship to be improbable at first, and it was even suspected to be a publicity stunt, but Iman and her husband proved to be one of the more enduring rock/fashion pairings of the modern era.

Iman appeared in several films over the years, but the big screen never fully captured her grace and energy. She found a far more deserving outlet for her talents in 1992, when she persuaded the BBC to send a documentary film crew to Somalia, which had been devastated by war, drought, and famine. Iman decided that her celebrity as Somalia’s most famous expat could be used to raise awareness of the tragedy and attract more international aid. As she told People writer Ron Arias, she set out determined to succeed “Allow the Somalis to speak for themselves. People become numb when they see picture after picture of people starving year after year. I wanted to demonstrate that they are not a beggar nation, that culture, religion, music, and hope still exist.”

Iman and the BBC crew arrived just weeks after her honeymoon to film Somalia Diary. It was her first visit in 20 years, and she couldn’t place places like Baidoa, where she and her family had vacationed as children. Instead of a bustling market town, she discovered emaciated people dressed in rags and adolescents armed with automatic weapons. “It reminded me of the film Mad Max,” she said to People. The filming of Somalia Diary was dangerous and difficult, but Iman was able to visit family and even her former childhood home in Mogadishu, where three refugee families were living at the time. One day while filming, she and the crew followed a bus through town, collecting the day’s fatalities. “That was the worst part,” she said in an interview with Arias for People. “I came to a halt because I couldn’t finish it. The death toll was 70 that day, and the majority of the bodies I saw in the sacks were children under the age of ten.”

Launched Cosmetics Line

Iman launched her own cosmetics line for women of color in 1994. She had long been frustrated by the scarcity of products for African-American skin. “I would go to cosmetics counters and buy two or three foundations and powders, then go home and mix them until I found something suitable for my undertones,” she explained to Black Enterprise writer Lloyd Gite.

Iman collaborated with Byron Barnes, a former makeup artist who helped create a previous line of cosmetics for women of color, to create an innovative product line that was packaged with her own name and very recognizable visage. The Iman Collection was aimed at all women of color — Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and Black — and was sold at J.C. Penney stores nationwide.

Iman’s newest venture, like her modeling career, was an instant success, but she quickly realized that a company as small as hers could not expand. The Iman Collection had no advertising budget or sales staff, and when its products sold out quickly, restocking took weeks. Poor planning also hampered the business in its first year; for example, there were insufficient products for Asian skin types in West Coast stores, while too many languished on Midwest store shelves. In a 1996 article, she told Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service writer Campbell, “In the first year, I discovered everything that could go wrong in this business.”

Even more concerning, Iman’s first year as a cosmetics mogul coincided with a concerted effort by Revlon and other major cosmetic companies to capture that segment of the market as well. Many of these behemoths launched or expanded their existing product lines aimed at women of color. Nonetheless, the Iman Collection sold an impressive $12 million in its first year, and she signed a deal with Ivax, a Miami-based drug and cosmetic company, in 1995. She retained control of the company, but her product line was given a sales team and distribution network. It made $30 million the following year.

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Personal and Professional Triumphs

Iman continued to serve as an activist on multiple fronts after her experience with Somali relief efforts. She became a successful fundraiser for Marion Wright Edelman’s Children’s Defense Fund, and in 1999, she collaborated on a lipstick called “Misdemeanor” with rapper Missy Elliott, with a portion of the proceeds going to Break the Cycle, an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. However, Iman’s cosmetic venture was so successful that she launched a prestige line, “I-Iman,” with a much more daring palette in 2000. The brand, which was sold in Sephora stores, was aimed at women of all colors.

Iman and Bowie welcomed a daughter named Alexandria Zahra into the world on August 15, 2000, in a New York City hospital. Parenthood was something they had talked about publicly since their marriage, and in the 1994 Interview, Bowie even asked his wife what kind of grandmother she would be in her old age. “Will the future Granny Iman sit with needlepoint and canvas in her rocking chair, within the confines of an Italianate atrium, or will she be an outgoing Chanel-type figure?” he wondered. Iman responded with a laugh, “It’s needlepoint and a rocking chair. Probably with two dogs and two small children by my side. Without a doubt!… And, of course, the husband.”

Recent Projects

Iman entered into a licensing and distribution agreement with Proctor & Gamble for its cosmetics brand. The agreement allowed her products to be sold in major retail chains such as Target and Wal-Mart. In addition to her successful cosmetics line, Iman has also written two books: I Am Iman (2001) and The Beauty of Color (2005).

Iman expanded her business empire to include fashion accessories and home decor. She has one of the top-selling jewelry lines on HSN. In 2010, Iman received the Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers.

Death of Bowie

In January 2016, Iman lost her husband after a long battle with cancer. The couple had been married for more than two decades at the time of Bowie’s passing. Around the time of Bowie’s death, Iman posted a quote: “The struggle is real, but so is God.” 

Further Reading

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