Iman Rallies Supermodels to Bring Attention to the Famine in Somalia
When Iman calls, you pick up the phone. So when the supermodel decided to wrangle some of the runway’s finest to raise awareness about the ongoing drought and famine crisis in Somalia, models like Lily Aldridge, Coco Rocha, Hilary Rhoda and Christy Turlington Burns jumped at the chance to help.
“Who’s going to say no?” Rocha tells PEOPLE. “Once a fellow model asks if you can help with something, you know in the long run it’s going to come around — that we’re all going to need each other’s support for something.”
Together, the women joined forces to promote the Modelinia Beautiful Friends Forever (BFF) bracelet by nOir Jewelry, a piece co-designed by Iman and the sales of which benefit Save the Children; in turn, the funds raised will aid children plagued by malnourishment in Somalia.
“The United Nations declared that this is the worst [drought] in 60 years in that region,” Iman, a Somali native, tells PEOPLE. “Children have been carrying children for hundreds of miles just to get to feeding centers.” Already, more than 50,000 children have perished there due to lack of food, she says. “Mothers have had to make the choice … leaving children who are very malnourished behind to die and saving the others to take them to feeding centers,” she continues. “It’s something that should never be faced by any mother anywhere in the world.”
Since models who walk the runways at New York City Fashion Week come from “every corner of the world,” Iman says, she thought they could all show solidarity for the cause and wear the BFF bracelets while running around Manhattan this week. She also plans to film a public service announcement with many runway stars this weekend, releasing it in time for the bracelet’s launch on endless.com on Sept. 12.
“I’ve always said that the industry is really good when they come together,” Turlington tells PEOPLE. “You’ve seen it with HIV/AIDS, with breast cancer, ovarian cancer … when the community rallies it’s a really tight community.”
“I think it’s great these strong women are doing this and bringing in the younger generation,” Aldridge adds. “They’re getting us all together to do something great.”