Iman is not quitting as “style icon” for the new De Beers retail chain, De Beers LV, executives say.
“We just got an e-mail from her, saying she’s ready to appear at an AIDS benefit for us, the Oscars, wearing our jewelry,” says De Beers LV spokeswoman Joan Parker.
The African supermodel created a stir when she didn’t show up at the chain’s November opening in London. NGO Survival International, an advocacy group for indigenous people, had asked her to step down because of its charges that the diamond industry is causing the eviction of the Botswana Bushmen from their tribal homeland. This led to published rumors she was ditching De Beers.
Not true, says the company, pointing to a recent interview in Visionaire in which Iman defended the company even as she pleaded with Botswana to address the Bushmen’s plight.
She took the “style icon” position after extensive research on the diamond industry, she noted, including hours at the UN researching conflict diamonds, tours of the diamond mines, and a meeting with Nelson Mandela.
“These people are not getting into business with me because I’m a beautiful girl but because they know the weight of my name,” Iman says. “I am a high, upstanding citizen, especially in Africa. In the meantime, I’m not part of the company. I’m a free agent, and I will always be a free agent. If I find anything wrong, I will say it. I told the people at De Beers LV I could be their worst nightmare, because I’m not a silent person.”