Within a short space of time she has already walked for Steve Mandy, Jacqui Emmanuel, Terrence Bray and Dakota Jude Baptist all Durban based designers. She has been in magazines such as Saltwater girl, most KZN newspapers and the cherry on the top is that she was the only Durban entrant as well as the youngest in the Miss SA 2015 pageant reaching the top 24.
But young Iman is not just a pretty face, she is currently studying Clinical Psychology at UKZN and is in her second year. Her career path came about as a result of a traumatic hijacking she had experienced with her dad when she was just 13 years old. She visited a Clinical Psychologist and her career choice was made after she realised just how short life was and when you get your chance to make a difference, you should take it.
She put her studies into good practice during the pageant as the interaction was varied, from talking to young orphans and interacting with CEO’s, Iman was able to handle these challenges with aplomb as she realised that people are just people and if you treat them, no matter who they are, in the same way you would like to be treated, everything else is easy.
The young lady has a heart of gold as well, since the Miss SA pageant, she has become more involved with charity work than before. Prior to her entering she made a decision to commit to helping others in any way she could, small or large. Whilst a student she began volunteering for Meals on Wheels, an organisation that conducts a feeding scheme for children in Durban and was mentor for Project Scouted, an initiative of photographer Lee Folkard, which assists regular people in gaining entry into the fashion and media industry.
Currently, she is involved with the Day Dawn Special School, where she spends time with the children, assisting in any way she can. Every couple of months she gets her family together for a visit to the many childrens homes in the city, where they get spoilt with a selection of clothes that Iman has collected from her family members including lots of her own and some bought items. She is still currently a mentor with Project Scouted.
Coming from a diverse background Iman has had the benefit of enjoying two separate and distinct cultures, drawing from them both and finding her own identity within that space. Her mom, Renee, has been in the fashion industry for more than two decades and is her greatest inspiration and supporter and her dad, Shahim, is in the telecommunications industry.
She has a brother, Adiel, who is older than her. Iman is fortunate in that not only does she have the full support of her immediate family but all of her extended family are super proud of her achievements. Her family is very close and I remember even as a little girl, her parents would go nowhere without taking the kids along. Family meal times in the Sheik household are important, it’s where the family gets together to share their day with each other.
Of her experience in Miss South Africa, she says that not only has it increased her confidence but also highlighted other skills and helped her mature in other areas of her life. At 7.30am on a Monday sometime in October 2014, she got the news that she had made the top 24, whilst drinking her coffee in her backyard. Her initial reaction was to shout out loud when she realised she had made her dream come true.
Now Iman was not under any illusion when she entered that it would be easy, but more than anything she wanted to see how far she could go on that particular journey. For her it was more of a learning experience because guess what folks, this young lady will be right back there, and she says the next time, she will not return empty handed.
She smiles when she remembers thinking she was doing this for her, yet , in hindsight she now understands that her purpose is selfless and far larger than she ever imagined it could be.
Next for Iman, is to complete her studies and possibly get her PhD. She hopes in the next few years to have her own NGO, which will focus on assisting young people who have neither the opportunities nor finances available to make their dreams come true. Iman is passionate and truly committed to seeing this through, her motto is:
If your voice can be heard, let it sing words of peace, happiness and love:
“Use your words to make a difference”
I have known Iman since she was a little girl, in fact her mom and I go back to school days and I can say with certainty this is one young lady to keep your eye on.
One person you would like to meet and why –
Victoria Beckham, She’s a mother,businesswoman, fierce protector of her family, silent contributor to many charities, married to David Beckham and boy, have you seen her closet.
Favourite scent: Marc Jacobs, Daisy
Favourite Designer: Zuhair Murad
Favourite Lip Shade: Nude /Natural
Fashion Icon: Kendall Jenner
Favourite Colour: Grey
follow imans journey :
Facebook: Iman sheik