Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Bethann Hardison and Iman Two role - top - models tell the story of the close friendship that ties them together amid activism, fashion and exotic food
“Iman is a quiet drumroll that erupts into a volcano. Whatever she puts her mind to, she does it well.” -Bethann
“Bethann was my Statue of Liberty, my guiding light, my first friend in a new world.” -Iman.
The Wall Street Journal has dedicated a long article titled 'Model Citizens' to the story of a close friendship between two modern superwomen.
The backdrop to the development of this special relationship is a New York restaurant, the Indochine. In this exotic cocoon in the centre of Manhattan, Bethann Hardison and Iman have met each other at 8.30pm for more than 20 years.
Hardison is editor-at-large for Vogue Black, and since 1980 has been a seminal activist in spreading a greater range of standards of beauty throughout the fashion world – and for three decades she has kept the secrets and confidences of “Iman the African Woman”.
The meeting that would bind them to this day happened when the inexperienced future supermodel and future Mrs Bowie found herself taking her first awkward steps – she had never worn high heels before – in the studio of Steven Burrows. That was when Imam encountered the motherly empathy of Mrs Hardison, who helped her without asking for anything in advance or exchange.
“Bethann was my Statue of Liberty, my guiding light, my first friend in a new world” says Iman.
Together they founded the Black Girls Coalition in 1988, which would help to change the face of fashion, launching and accompanying the spectacular career of Naomi Campbell for example.
It was only the beginning of a partnership that would lead these two women of exceptional allure, brilliant intelligence and powerful determination to blaze a trail through the world of fashion and beauty, a trail made up of a series of unique faces different in skin and facial features.
The same two women never tire of talking and joking at a table in the Indochine, in the heart of Manhattan, once a month at 8.30pm.
-Fiorella Ruth Kibongui