As Told to Zulekha Haywood at Essence.com
I am saddened by the passing of the legendary supermodel Naomi Sims, but I take comfort in knowing that she has left us a proud legacy that all of us Black supermodels have benefitted from. In 2000, when I was working on my book â€śI AM IMAN,â€ť my husband, David Bowie, surprised me on my birthday with a pristine copy of her Life magazine cover story issue which served as a creative inspiration for the story I was trying to tell, and remains to be one of my most prized possessions.
Besides the fact that Naomi was aesthetically perfect in every way, what gave her that je ne sai quoi, that elusive certain somethingness, was her ability to be elegant and accessible at the same time. Her degree of elegance can be one of those qualities that looks effortless from an editorial sense, but you canâ€™t imagine that translating into everyday life. But Naomi did it; she made it look easy, and most importantly, she made it look like something every woman innately possesses.
Contrary to the belief that I looked for inspiration on my iconic images to the White glamour models of the bygone era, it was Naomi Sims and her Life cover that I was channeling in the photo belowâ€¦. she was truly an inspiration! Naomi will be missed for everything that she contributed to the female experience, not just the Black female experience. She was iconic in every way.