Iman said: "I lied and said I was 19 to get the passport, because otherwise I had to have permission from my parents, and my parents would never have let me come."
In addition to the government, the model, now 59, also deliberately misled her parents about her whereabouts.
Iman was meant to be studying at Nairobi University when she made the leap to New York, so she assumed that her parents would never find out where she really was, but it wasn't long before her dad saw her in Newsweek.
Speaking to New York Magazine, Iman said: "It's the only magazine my father reads, and the next thing, he's reading, and there's a picture of me in New York, saying, 'She's the hottest model now.' I broke the law, but nobody can touch me now! I'm 60 years old, it's too late. The time has passed."