Iman Doesn't Want Black Models to Be a ‘Caricature’

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Iman will probably appear on the cover of Italian Vogue's first all-black issue. But she has her reservations about its impact. "I still don't like us (black models) to be a caricature," she told us at the American Image Awards this week. "They'll think, 'Okay, we did it.' And then they're done with it, and we'll have to wait till next year." She added that in 2007 black models were "nonexistent" and she felt the fashion and beauty industries are out of touch. "When you see commercials and movies and every other form of art in terms of entertainment, you never have this conversation," she said. "So it is so outdated." She continued, "I can only say that one of the reasons is that models have never had unions, so there is no one to say, 'This isn't right.'" She's also eagerly rooting for Barack Obama to become our first black president. "I've been an American citizen for nearly 30 years, I've been an Obama supporter from day one! I met him two or three years ago at Oprah Winfrey's house, and I've been supporting him since then. In my lifetime this is happening."

Serious chat aside, we couldn't resist asking about Project Runway Canada, which Iman hosts and we hear is all the rage among our northern neighbors. She said the Canadian contestants were impressive designers, but not impressive business people. "I think in terms of the designers, the Americans are more aware of what the show will do for them and what they'll be able to leverage," she explained. "After all, it is a business. Canadians are not really aware of that." —Tre Borden