Iman Oubou is Moroccan-American, the current Miss New York United States 2015 (2nd runner up at Miss United States), an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a scientist, and most importantly, a beauty enthusiast. Ever since she was crowned as Miss New York United States, she decided to use her title and her voice to become a source of inspiration and empowerment to women across the world. She started a successful podcast called Entrepreneurs En Vogue, where she interviews successful millennial women entrepreneurs weekly. Iman also recently launched a skincare line called Moroccan Heritage which focuses on unraveling Morocco’s best-kept beauty secrets.
Food: Seafood and sushi
City: New York City, of course!
Book: Reverse The Senses by Mark Hubbard
Quote: The greatest good you can do is inspire others to dream more, do more and become more! – Iman Oubou
Fragrance: Chance by CHANEL
What projects do you have going on at the moment? I currently am focused on growing Moroccan Heritage and eventually introducing more products to the collection. It’s important to me to build momentum with the brand and always bringing more authenticity which is a huge project itself.
The other project I am working on is my podcast Entrepreneurs En Vogue, which is a weekly show that introduces the listeners to the most influential and accomplished millennial female entrepreneurs. This goes in hand with my passion of women empowerment. And what better way to empower women than create a community where every woman’s personal journey becomes a source of inspiration, You can listen to all episodes on iTunes (or podcast app) or by visiting www.entrepreneursenvogue.com
Tell us about Moroccan Heritage: Founded as a response to an ever demanding market for natural products, Moroccan Heritage™ is a beauty care brand drawing on traditional, natural Moroccan ingredients. I have always leveraged Morocco’s unique plants and minerals for the purposes of health and beauty and integrated these beauty secrets into my pageant preparations and everyday beauty regimen, and now I am ready to share it all! From Barbary Fig Seed Oil to Ghassoul Clay Mask and everything in between, every woman can experience a splash of Moroccan exotic products that will rejuvenate and repair her skin through Moroccan Heritage products.
What inspired you to create your own brand? I have to be honest and say that I grew up with really (I mean reallllyyyy) bad skin. My middle and high school years were filled with insecurities and self-consciousness. I spent more time begging my dermatologists for a solution than doing homework. Of course my acne eventually cleared up but I was left with damaged and scarred skin which was in no way a step up. Summer after my first year of graduate school, I went back to Morocco for a few weeks to reconnect with my family and my roots. It was during that trip that I rediscovered the therapeutic and healing properties of the Moroccan essential oils I have stopped using when my family moved to the US. After only a couple of weeks using Pure Argan oil and Pure Barbary Fig Seed Oil I saw incredible results. Suddenly, smooth and radiant skin seemed possible again. This personal story of mine is my own inspiration behind launching my brand because as a Moroccan, it is my mission to share beauty secrets that have been used by Moroccan women for centuries, well before chemically-dense products surfaced.
What challenges did you face while starting your own business, and how did you overcome them? Starting and launching a business is no walk in the park. It’s been a bumpy road but one that’s worth it. The biggest challenge I faced is finding the right business partner and the right manufacturer for the products. I have attempted a launch back in 2012 but because I partnered with the wrong person, all my hard work was gone to waste. It’s important, when looking for a partner, to evaluate the fit. I was on the verge of giving up on one of my biggest dream after my former partner cut all communication ties for 6 months and disappeared with the products. But instead, I accepted the harsh reality, made the move to New York and hoped (believed to be exact) that I will eventually cross paths with someone that shares my vision and my work ethics, Thankfully, through my cousin in Morocco, I met Hicham Elgrini who owns Essential Oils, LLC., and has worked with multiple respected beauty brands. It was a great fit from the start and Moroccan Heritage was launched few months after that.
Growing up, who was your inspiration? This might be a very cliche response but my parents were and still are my biggest inspiration. They are a powerful couple that embodies great values, hard work and sacrifice. Growing up, I watch them both fight so hard for their careers only to sacrifice it all to fight for their kids’ careers and dreams. Their mindsets are extremely powerful and that is my biggest inspiration.
You recently competed at the Miss United States national pageant! What was the experience like? The experience was phenomenal. I might not have walked out with the national crown but I walked out with so much more than that. Competing at the Miss United States pageant and finishing 2nd runner up was itself one of my biggest accomplishment. By being on that stage, I have conquered most of my fears, including public speaking, being comfortable in a bathing suit, …etc. Looking back at this experience, I feel extremely proud of myself and completely happy with my performance. Not to mention the sisterhood I have cultivated while competing. I would do it again if I could 🙂
Did you learn any interesting pageant tips/tricks you can share with Lady Code? Yes, definitely practice the walk as much as you can to the point of being able to walk with you eyes closed. And before you get out on stage, do the superwoman pose with your arms on your hips) because that gives you a boost of confidence. On the beauty side of pageant tips, I actually have tested a lot of my products during my pageant prep and my skin was glowing and flawless which made me feel super confident and happy when talking to the judges as well as on stage! I used Moroccan Heritage Argan Oil and Barbary Fig Seed Oil every night and every morning after deep cleansing my face. I also put Argan oil all over my body before I go out on stage which gave me a golden glow (believe me it works!)
What is your go-to beauty look? The winged eye-liner and soft smokey eye are my go-to beauty look. It makes my eyes appear bigger and more feminine which allows for that fierce look!
What is one beauty product you can’t live without? Not to be biased, but I can’t ever be low on the Barbary Fig Seed Oil. It is my source of life! I have been using for years now and can’t imagine what my hair or skin would look like without it.
We know you’re a super busy girl! How do you stay so glam while you travel? I believe in travel kits packed with all my essentials. I am very particular about packing all my beauty according to the list I made. My Moroccan Heritage products are always the first products I pack because it doesn’t matter how busy I get, the first thing I do when I get back to the hotel is make sure all my makeup is washed, my face is cleansed and my essential oils are on!! Also I have my traveling makeup cases that are always packed and waiting for my next trip. I absolutely will hate to get to my destination and realize I have to go makeup or skincare shopping.
What is the best advice you ever received: The best advice I heard is “Entrepreneurs are doers, not dreamers”.
Winter right around the corner means dry skin and dry hair! What can we do to keep our hair and skin healthy and hydrated during the dry and cold season? I can never stress this enough but you can’t ever go wrong with natural essential oils, specifically Argan oil and Barbary Fig Seed Oil. They are dense is anti-oxidants and vitamin E and will nourish and moisturize your skin when it’s dry and cold out. The best part about them is that they are absorbed easily by your skin (even more so the Barbary Fig Seed Oil) so you won’t be left with that oily feeling. I even use them on my lips when they are chapped. Believe me they are called Miracle Oils for a reason. But don’t take my word for it, go ahead and try them for yourself 🙂
Where can we purchase Moroccan Heritage products?
You can purchase Moroccan Heritage products through our website www.moroccanheritage.net. Also you can show us some love on Facebook where we would love to hear your feedback atfacebook.com/MoroccanHeritage and on our new instagram account @moroccanheritage_skincare
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