Iman

Iman, a beauty icon. Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Copper-toned complexion. Statuesque neck. Gorgeous gaze. Iman, I am confident in my own skin partly because of you.

As a supermodel, actress, entrepreneur, humanitarian, mother and wife
, you've reshaped the "universal perception of beauty" and allowed me to embrace and love the young woman that I am -- long legs, neck and all!

From the camera's viewfinder of famed artist/photographer Peter Beard to the runways of Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier, you were able to walk away from the political unrest of your native Somalia and stride confidently into the fashion world. And I can't ignore how you've revolutionized this ideal of the black model when Yves Saint Laurent tapped you as the muse of his African Queen Couture Collection and coined you his "dream woman" -- paving the way for Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman.

Your regal splendor was also honored by another icon of mine, Michael Jackson, in his 1992 music video "Remember the Time." Jackson's epic vision and talent aside, seeing you reign supreme as Queen in a stunning headdress, kohl-rimmed lids and brick red lipstick left me completely enamored and buried in my mother's Fashion Fair makeup trying to emulate your grace.

Fast forward a few years and you've built a fashion and beauty empire that allows women of color to be "beautiful in their own skin, on their own terms" -- and I am forever grateful that my search for the perfect foundation is no longer a discouraging quest.

In celebration of your 56th birthday today (July 25), I honor your iconic beauty, Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid. Don't forget to check out other beauties who have aged gracefully.