DUBAI: Morrocan-Egyptian-Dutch model Imaan Hammam was recently interviewed by award-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross for i-D Magazine’s latest “Dystopia Issue,” of which Hammam is the cover star.
During the candid interview, Hammam spoke on everything from her charitable work with non-profit organization She’s the First to her first-ever magazine cover.
Ross also quizzed Hammam about who some of the women that inspire her are, and the model’s answer may come as a surprise to some.
The 24-year-old revealed that one of her inspirations is iconic Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum, who died in Cairo in 1975.
“I don’t know if you know her. But she was an Arabic singer in the 60s,” she explains to Ross. “Her story is incredible. At that time, as a woman, to be a singer was really difficult. And you know all about that. So definitely Umm Kulthum,” she said.
Indeed, Umm Kulthum is considered one of the Arab world’s greatest singers to ever live.
The legendary Egyptian musician known as the “Star of the Orient” and the “Grand dame of Arab singing,” was revered globally for her unique vocals and popular hits like “Al-Atlal,” “Qadheet Hayati,” and “Alf Leila w Leila,” among others.
Global music sensation Beyonce even paid homage to the late singer during her “On the Run” tour, where she sampled Umm Kulthum’s “Enta Omri” in the opening of a performance.
In addition to the iconic singer, Hammam also shared that her mother is also a huge source of inspiration to her, in addition to fellow supermodels Iman Abdulmajid and Naomi Campbell.
“My mom has been a big inspiration for me as well, because she came to Holland as an immigrant and really took care of us,” noted the catwalk star. “I mean, I don’t really come from a wealthy family and you know, we’ve had our struggles but she was inspirational.”
She added: “Someone I really appreciate is Iman, the other Iman. Iman and Naomi Campbell, they’re the ones that opened the doors for us. Bethann Hardison, too, she’s the queen. She’s the best. Yeah, so I think those are the people I really aspire to.”