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Chanel Iman: Venus in Furs - Diamonds, lingerie and a touch of fox are all a girl needs on a chilly autumn afternoon

A week after Superstorm Sandy ravaged downtown New York, rendering Greenwich Village a hipster quagmire, Manhattan’s other ‘super’ Chanel Iman is still holed up in the apartment she shares with her best friend, fellow model Heidy De La Rosa. Normally she’s the one doing the storming, at fashion hotspots La Esquina, Nobu and Miss Lily’s. ‘We lit candles and just camped out in our apartment, and prayed that we were going to be OK,’ Chanel says. ‘We couldn’t go outside for two days, and we’ve had no electricity or water for almost a week now, but it just makes me appreciate what we do have.’

It’s a fighting spirit Chanel developed while campaigning to secure Obama’s second term in office. ‘I have a friend who works in the White House for Michelle, and the First Lady asked her if I would be interested in spreading the word to younger people, encouraging them to vote,’ she explains. ‘And, of course, who wouldn’t be into something like that?’ The day after we meet is the 21-year-old model’s first time voting in a presidential election, and she admits she is nervous about the result. Her perfect cheekbones, long legs and fondness for designer leathers must certainly have lent a hefty dose of glamour to the campaign as she toured cities in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina for the Democrats. ‘I wanted to be able to tell my kids that I was actually out there, campaigning for our first black president.’

She also donated generously to the cause, buying a $40,000 seat at the Obama fundraising dinner held by Sarah Jessica Parker at her Manhattan home this summer. ‘I got to meet the President and the First Lady,’ Chanel announces proudly, whipping out her iPhone to show me a snap of herself, sandwiched between a black-tied Barack and Michelle. ‘I was just so excited to have this picture, so I could show my mum.’

Obama’s thoughts on the photo op have not been published, but he can only have been delighted to be sitting next to the graceful Californian, who has walked the catwalk for everyone from Dolce & Gabbana and Balenciaga to Versace and Marc Jacobs, graced glossy magazine covers around the globe, and is also a Victoria’s Secret Angel, one of the select band of faces — and bodies — of the lingerie label. ‘I always wanted to be an Angel,’ she admits in her soft, girlish voice. She was just 18 when she selected to join the likes of Miranda Kerr, Karlie Kloss, Gisele Bündchen and Heidi Klum.

‘I was very shy at first. I was so in awe of these girls,’ Chanel confesses. She was, perhaps, an unusual appointment for the rather mainstream American brand; her long, lean body does not have the voluptuous va-va-voom of other Angels such as Doutzen Kroes or Erin Heatherton. In fact, while other models famously undertake brutal starvation regimes in the run-up to the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, last year Chanel did the opposite, attempting to pile on the pounds. ‘I have been naturally very skinny all my life, and I wanted to be super-curvy and sexy for the show,’ she says. ‘Everyone has their insecurities, and that was mine. But now that I’m getting older, I’m gaining weight naturally. Even in just a year, my body has changed. I feel more like a woman, more like a grown-up.’

Chanel Iman Robinson’s three parts African American and one part Korean parentage has produced a mesmerisingly beautiful face, simultaneously classy and cute. She grew up in a tight-knit, middle-class family in Los Angeles, the youngest, by some stretch, of four: her older sister is 37, her brothers 36 and 27. Her father is a basketball coach, while her mother China worked as a designer for Levi’s, and yes, she did name her younger daughter after Coco Chanel. Iman, however, is not in homage to the 1980s supermodel. ‘My cousin is called Iman and he’s a boy,’ she giggles. ‘But my mum liked the name so much, she gave it to me as my middle name anyway.’

Her aunt was the one who encouraged her to model, taking her niece to castings until she signed with Ford Models aged just 12, moved to New York at 15 and landed her first Vogue cover at 16. Impressive, no doubt, but was it ever overwhelming? Chanel mulls it over for a moment. ‘Actually, I do think that I was a bit too young, I definitely feel like I missed out on my high school years. When I started out, I was very bad at speaking, and at connecting with people. Turning 21 [which she celebrated with a huge party in Jamaica for her family and friends] has been a really big chapter in my life; I have really matured. I’m much more independent. I have learned how to stand up for myself.’

The supermodel is currently single. ‘That is hard sometimes, and I get very lonely. I get asked out, but it is difficult to date a guy because my schedule is so busy. But it’s all about me right now, I just want to focus on my work.’ She pauses and flashes me a toothy grin. ‘Of course, if it was someone really great, if we had a real connection, then I might make an exception.’

Photographs by David Roemer

Styled by Nathalie Riddle

Stylist’s assistant: Basma Khalifa

Hair by Keith Carpenter at the wall group using Oribe.

Make-up by Walter Obal at Atelier Management using Chanel.

Model: Chanel Iman is at IMG

Chanel Iman: Homecoming Queen


From Fairfax High to high fashion’s favorite, CHANEL IMAN has catapulted to the top of everyone’s “must shoot” list. Sure, she’s a complete knockout, but what makes this 21-year-old supermodel so mega-magnetic is her real girl confidence and down to earth attitude that shines through every frame.

Hey Chanel, thanks for being in FOAM. From the look of things—flags, kites, skateboards, swimsuits —it was a pretty rad day. I can’t complain. I’m in Malibu, I’m in California (I’m from here) and I’m working with the amazing FOAM, which I love.

Well thanks, that ’s nice to hear. And seriously, the scenery doesn’t get much better than this. 
At first I wanted to be on a motorcycle in the middle of the desert, but in the end we came up with the concept of me being a little sporty on the beach. I’m working with one of the most amazing photographers; I’m in love with Kayt Jones and her work! She’s one of my favorites.

And you looked pretty comfortable on that skateboard, as opposed to a huge motorcycle. 
Yeah, I love skateboarding. The tennis shoes were a little big, so I couldn’t really show any of my tricks the way I could have, but I tried my best!

Hey, we were impressed! Seems like you’re a real Ca lifornia girl—even if you don’t live here anymore. 
I’m based in New York now, but I started here. I remember walking in L.A. fashion week, before I moved to New York when I was 15. I started doing fashion shows there and then in Paris and Milan, but, you know, it all started here in my hometown.

And then things really just took off…? 
Everything started happening so fast when I moved to New York. Right away, I worked with some of the most amazing designers in the industry, from Ralph Lauren to Donna Karan to Marc Jacobs. I remember walking my first show for Marc. It was so scary because there were so many celebrities and people. There was so much adrenaline going backstage. They even glued our feet inside the shoes so no one would fall! I remember that was the first show when I felt like, “OK, I guess I am a model.”

Do you get back to L.A. very much now? 
I come back about once a month to see my mom. I’m really close with my family. My whole family is from here and I went to school at Fairfax High School.

Oh, nice. Where they have that flea market! 
Yeah! It’s kind of funny though because when you’d get in trouble, you’d have to work at the flea market that’s there. So, you’d find me there every Sunday because I would get into trouble a lot at Fairfax.

And your family? Do they get to see you in NY a lot? 
Well, my mom used to be a flight attendant, so now she can go back and forth between the east coast and west coast [anytime]. It works out perfectly for me, too, because I can easily take a plane ride to L.A.

That ’s awesome. So, were you pretty jet set even before you became a model? 
Yeah! We’d always go to Hawaii because my mom worked the flight from L.A. We’d just jump on the plane.

And now where is your favorite place to travel? 
I love the Caribbean. I just had my 21st birthday in Jamaica. I could stay there forever. I also love the Bahamas, I mean, I like anywhere where there’s good weather, good sun and lots of good food. I love jerk chicken and plantains—sweet and salty, that’s my favorite.

And what else do you like to do when you’re 
not working?
I’m very adventurous, so I always get into new sports. I like scuba diving and I went on a zipline not too long ago. I really love sports.

Do you follow sports? 
I love football and basketball. I used to play basketball for a while 
actually—and I also played flag football, too. Most people don’t know that!

Who’s yo ur favorite team? 
The Lakers, of course, oh my god. I’m a huge Kobe fan. I’m also 
really excited about the football stadium they’re building downtown, that will be awesome.

What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a model? 
I’d probably be here in L.A., going to school. I’ve always wanted to study science, study our bodies. I’d just be focused, educating myself. That’s really important to me.

Are you a big reader? 
I should read more, to be honest, but when I do read, I like philosophy books.

Perfect, here’s a philosophical question for you. As someone who’s been in front of a camera since twelve, what ’s your advice 
to the next wave of girls in the spotlight?
I have a lot of advice. Keep your family very close to you. And be passionate about what you do. Keep a positive attitude and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Just try to live life the way you envision it.

Wise words. I think a lot of people could benefit from being as naturally confidant and outgoing as you are. 
Yeah, that’s just me—I’ve always been that way. I sometimes 
think I’m too bubbly, but hey, that’s me you know?

(Source: hellyeahchaneliman)

Golden Moment With Chanel Iman And The DKNY Million Dollar Fragrance

Chanel Iman glistened in gold at the DKNY flagship store last night — highly appropriate considering she had heavy sparkle competition courtesy of theDKNY Golden Delicious Million Dollar Fragrance Bottle. Designed by Martin Katz, the perfume bottle (for the 1%, no doubt) was carefully revealed by the adorable DKNY-adorned Chanel — who stars in the ads for the new scent — while surrounded by men-in-black bodyguards set to protect the gold, sapphire, and diamond-encrusted treasure.In the spirit of the evening, Chanel rocked a full-on golden beauty look by way of the Estée Lauder Pale Color Eye Shadow Palette in Desert Heat, MAC bronzer and Iridescent Powder in Golden Bronze, and gold foil nails. While the rest of the crowd ogled the million-dollar-bottle (soon to be sold with net proceeds benefitting Action Against Hunger), we were able to grab a moment with Chanel to chat about makeup, her personal connection to this fragrance, and whether she’d rather have the diamond perfume or the diamond bra. 

Are you typically a gold girl? Or is silver more your thing?
"Gold is really nice. I love gold, especially because I love my body bronze. I highlight down the nose and also right below the eyebrow — it’s the perfect place to put gold shimmer. And right above the cheeks, as well. But you want to choose one or the other. You don’t want to look like a light bulb or anything." 

You’re on a crazy time crunch (we’re talking like 5 minutes) — what products do you use to pull it together fast?
"My mascara, my eyebrow kit, and my concealer. And a black liquid liner." 

Do you remember the first perfume you ever purchased?
"It would probably be (the original) Be Delicious, which is very exciting since I did this fragrance with DKNY. This was my very first fragrance [campaign], so it was really awesome to be a part of it." 

Million-dollar perfume or million-dollar bra?
"I can’t say. I want them both. Actually, I don’t want the million-dollar perfume, I’d rather give it. From the bottom of my heart, honestly, I’d rather give. So maybe I’d buy the perfume because the net proceeds of the sale go to an amazing charity for DKNY." 

What was your reaction when you first saw the million-dollar perfume bottle? Too much bling, or the more bling the better?
"I was excited just because of what’s behind it. I think it’s a beautiful bottle for someone very special." 

Of all the amazing models you’ve ever worked with, who would you go to first, for the best beauty advice?
"Maybe Adriana [Lima]. I always go to her for advice. And Tyra! Tyra knows all the beauty secrets."

(Source: refinery29.com)