Iman Entered The US Illegally To Become A Model

by Jessica Willingham

Iman is living proof that, sometimes, you have to do whatever it takes to realize your dream, even if it is illegal. Iman entered the United States illegally when she was 18, and recently told NY Mag all about it.

For you youngins, here's a quick backstory on the legendary fashion icon: Iman is a supermodel who busted out in the late '70s as one of the first ethnic faces to grace major magazine covers and brand campaigns. But, how did she get here? Well, the Somali-born model was studying at Nairobi University in Kenya at 18 and longed to move to New York City. Figuring her parents would never know about her little excursion, she took off on her own.

“I was under 18, and to leave Kenya to come to the United States, to get a passport, you had to be 18,” she said at the Cinema Society screening of Desert Dancer on Tuesday, according to NY Mag. “So I lied and said I was 19 to get the passport, because [otherwise] I had to have permission from my parents, and my parents would never have let me come.”

One little snag in her top-secret plan: she was photographed and proceeded to blow up as the next supermodel in the making. Needless to say, keeping the travel secret from her parents didn't work out too well.

Mireya Acierto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

“You know how they found out? I was in Newsweek a week later. It’s the only magazine my father reads, and the next thing, he’s reading, and there’s a picture of me in New York, [saying,] ‘She’s the hottest model now.’”

She went on to laugh about it, saying “I broke the law! But nobody can touch me now, I’m 60 years old, it’s too late. The time has passed.”

True. I'm no lawyer but I'm sure the statute of limitations is up on this infraction. Still, don't try this at home, kids. Unless, of course, you plan on being the next Iman. Then, by all means...

Images: Getty Images