From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
The face, the frame, the name: all so perfectly exotic (or perhaps, since they all belong to Iman, so perfectly Ixotic). Yet Somalia's gift to high fashion claims, "I'm a juxtaposition of flaws from head to toe. You can't change that, so you make your flaws work for you." Few have as magically as Iman Abdulmajid. A college student plucked out of Africa at age 20 by celebrity lensman Peter Beard, she arrived in America in 1975 and became an overnight modeling sensation, partly because no one had ever seen a neck like hers before. She quickly shattered the taboo that denied black women major fashion-mag covers and cosmetics contracts.

In 1990 Iman refocused her goals in an attempt to move her acting career beyond cameos in films such as Out of Africa and Star Trek VI and a kissing scene with Michael Jackson in his Remember the Time video. Of modeling, she now observes, "From when I was a teenager, the standard for beauty has changed so much." What hasn't changed is her belief that beauty "is a state of mind. If you're bitter or jealous, you won't be beautiful. If you're happy, you will be."

And happy she is. Next month Iman, 36, will wed rock war-horse David Bowie, 45, in a no-frills outdoor ceremony on the Caribbean isle of Mustique. Once divorced and already the mother of daughter Zuhleka, 13, does she crave more children? "I'm an old woman," says Iman. "But I'll try to squeeze one in." Bowie describes his intended's "overwhelming beauty" as "a smoky blend of Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn." He's already given her the tribute of a 10.5-carat canary diamond; she has honored him by having a Bowie knife tattooed on her right ankle. "My life is good," Iman declares. Not to mention Ixhilarating.