There is something very exciting, but also nerve-racking, about selecting the cover of a magazine. Finding the right model or celebrity that effortlessly combines an idea of beauty and style, while also capturing the spirit of the times, is an exercise that occupies my mind for the better part of the month. This feeling is further amplified when the first anniversary issue of Vogue Arabia is at stake.
I truly believe a cover should encapsulate a message of hope and go above and beyond just a pretty image. This is exactly what we tried to achieve when we invited two of the biggest models with strong ties to the Arab world to be our March cover stars. Although their careers bloomed decades apart, Iman and Imaan Hammam have more in common that you might suspect. For a start, while compiling mood boards for our cover shoot and after looking at hundreds of pictures, it was obvious that the two women complement each other. Like one of our team members pointed out, “They could be sisters.”
What is particularly meaningful to me is the transformative social impact both models have had in fashion and in society in general. Long before she became the wife of pop icon David Bowie in 1992, Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid was a Somali Muslim immigrant to the US fighting for equality in the industry while supporting her family back in Africa. “Black models were an afterthought. We were paid less. I was the first person to refuse work for less money,” she told me when we met for our shoot in New York.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Moroccan-Egyptian model Imaan Hamman – who graced nine international Vogue covers last year – has also rapidly become an advocate for younger generations. “I’m a proud Muslim myself and this gives me the strength to use my platform to talk about issues like race and religion. I want to empower younger girls, no matter the color of their skin or where the come from,” she said. After meeting both women and learning that their names in Arabic stand for “faith,” I’m confident that this double cover was the right decision.
Vogue Arabia, Editor-in-Chief,
The Vogue Arabia March issue is out now. Subscribe to the magazine here to get your copy first and fast.
Related Read: Introducing the first anniversary issue of Vogue Arabia