Supermodels Grace Chicago
By Lauren Strejc

Not one, but two supermodels paid a visit to Chicago last month, in order to promote their new products. Iman stopped in Chicago as part of her book-signing tour and Niki Taylor was also on tour to promote her new fragrance.

On November 7, 2005, Iman signed copies of her new book, "The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color" (Putnam) at Borders on State Street. The book celebrates women of color and addresses cosmetic issues that are often encountered. It is inspired by her career as a supermodel and furthered by her second career as the founder of the most popular cosmetics line for skin of color. The book teaches its readers of African-American, Latina, Asian, Mediterranean, Native American and Middle Eastern descents on how to embrace their skin and how to work with the tone and type. It contains brilliant images of women of all ages and colors, and features celebrities including Padma Lakshmi, Tyra Banks, and Kimora Lee Simmons. Salma Hayek wrote the book’s forward.

Iman, 50, began modeling in 1975. In her book, she tells how it was very rare that makeup artists would have the necessary palettes for her skin tone, and was often required to do her own makeup base for photo shoots and fashion shows. Creating her own colors became a thing of chemistry, and it is no surprise that she later founded the self-named makeup line specifically catered for skin types that have difficulty finding their color match in stores. "We come in more than five shades,” she says.

In addition to teaching makeup application, her other goal in the book is to teach women to embrace their age and individuality. "I never discuss how to make Asian eyes look bigger or how to make African lips look less full," she says. "It's a self-empowerment book because it celebrates us. And it's very girly."

The book is Iman’s second, and is timed with the 10-year celebration of her cosmetics brand. She also plans to launch a fragrance. For more information on the beauty and her lines, visit

Speaking of launching fragrances, Niki Taylor appeared at Lord and Taylor on November 10 th to promote her new scent, Begin. The creamsicle-described scent is a product which will benefit her Begin Foundation.

Niki co-founded the Begin Foundation for the Advancement of Women in Business to help women obtain the same and funding opportunities regardless of their educational or economic backgrounds.
Sales from Niki’s products or other outlets will go towards the foundation. In addition to this perfume, Niki plans to launch another women’s perfume, as well as a men’s scent to be released in 2006.

She describes herself as a “perfume junkie.” Niki approached Victory International a year and half ago with all her favorite perfume bottles to develop her own scent. She asked them to, “play around and see what you get.” It took that length of time because Niki was so indecisive about the fragrance. They even had to bring in a professional “sniffer” to help finalize the citrus and vanilla-noted scent.

In addition, Niki runs a boutique, Abbie & Jesse's , which is named after the two Maltese dogs that her and her business partner own.

Niki has overcome critical injuries to her abdominal and liver, after being involved in an car accident in 2001. Although she need not suffer any facial disfigurement, she decided to embrace other fashion and beauty outlets besides modeling.

If you’d like to learn more about Niki, or her foundation, visit



Photo by Adam Bielawski

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