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.
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
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?