I met Chanel Iman when she started modeling some years ago and interviewed her for Vibe magazine. Although Vibe magazine has not survived these hard economic times, I am quiet certain Chanel Iman is here to stay. I asked her some questions so take a look…
Chanel Iman and me.
1. Were you named after me?
I would love to say I was named after such an amazing model, but truth is, I was named after a male cousin named Iman. My mother loved the name and wanted to used it for a boy or girl name when she was pregnant with me.Â She had just read the book “COCO” and was inspired to name me Chanel after the great fashion icon.Â So was born….. Chanel Iman. Growing up wanting to model… I use to say “Chanel Iman, like the model IMAN”. I’m proud to have your name.
2. What is your fave jeans?
It’s hard to find the perfect jeans, but for me William Rast or Rock & Republic.
3. Who is your fave designer or designers and why?
I have so many fav designers, I love them all for different reasons. Zac Posen has dressed me in some of my favorite looks like the amazing gown I wore at the last Met ball….LOVED. I always look forward to working with John Galliano ….. what a creative designer! I could go on and on about each of them, and in the end I have to say I love them all.
4. Who is your fave photographer or photographers and why?
As a model who loves working with Photographers around the world, its impossible to pick just one or a few that I love. I learn so much from each of them as each brings out a different Chanel Iman in me. I will say, my favorite part of being a model is the experience of working with so many creative photographers.Â I love photo shoots.
5. Who is your fave model of all time and why?
When I think of Favorite Models of all times, I have to think of those who have had struggles to become who they are in this industry. Knowing what struggles are (as I have had a few of my own) I am inspired and grateful that many paved the way for me.Â You Iman, Beverly Johnson, Tyra Banks, Naomi and Alec are an inspiration to young girls around the world.Â Â I also have to say Kate Moss who has had her own struggles and overcame them. I love you all.
6. Among your contemporaries who is your fave model and why?
I’m not really a person who has favorites when it comes to people who are close to me. There are many models I love seeing when I’m working, but there are those that I consider my friends and we receive each other like family.Â Just to mention a few and not in any order, Doutzen, Jourdan, Karlie, Hillary, Agnes, Coco, Jessica, Marina….. the list goes on. My best friend is a model and room mate, Heidy Allende.
7. What is your beauty essential?
My beauty essential is simply clean skin and hair.
8. You travel a lot… what is your fave luggage?
I’ve heard some horror stories about stolen item from luggage during travel. I take and check my most raggedy bag so that the outer value won’t determine the inner value of what I’ve packed. However, my carry on is my ole faithful Louis Vuitton.
9. New York, Paris or Milan…. which is your fave city and why?
After NY during the fashion tour London, Milan and Paris, I look forward to Paris the most. Paris because I’m most at home there. Also because it means fashion week is almost over and I get to go home.
10. What was your first major cover? who shot it? any personal story behind it?
My first major cover was Vogue. Anna Wintour selected 10 girls naming them the World’s Next Top Models shot by Steven Meisel. I was the youngest (16) and the only minority…Â In fact the third African American to ever grace the cover of Vogue. I know there were other Blacks, IMAN, Naomi, I think Alec and Liya.Â But only three African Americans….. Beverly Johnson, Tyra Banks and Chanel Iman.
11. The Met/Model as a Muse…. what was the highlight of the evening for you?
The Met Ball always makes me feel like I have arrived! To be in the presence of such an prestigious group is just amazing to me. To be in the mist of the worlds most creative fashion people is a night never to forget.
12. What is on your iPod?
Beyonce, Mary J. and Madonna.
13. We know models eat. What is your fave food?
I love to eat.Â Everyone knows I love soul food and have a weakness for sweets. I eat all of the time. Lately, I’ve been cooking at home. I’m learning the art of cooking and really enjoying my own family recipes in my own kitchen.
14. Guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is the spa. I say guilty because when I am submerged at the spa, I know there are those that will never experience the feeling of such an awesome luxury.
15. Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day is somewhere on a beach front or by the pool at a resort. A perfect day can also be at home in LA, in my car, visiting my family and friends.
Want to see more? Watch the behind the scenes video of People Magazine 35th anniversary shoot with me and Chanel Iman on Modelinia.
Let’s give a big shout for the genius that is Anna Wintour for coming up with this idea. I have never seen the streets of New York from uptown to downtown so crowded and excited. I had every intention to go to as many stores as I possibly could but family duties come first.
Fashion's Night Out - photo: courtesy of wireimage.com
I started first doing homework with my daughter and then preparing dinner for her and then it was time for mommy to get ready for a shopping night out. My friend and makeup artist Sam Fine met me at home and hooked me up with a good face and I put on an Alexander McQueen jacket with leggings and over-the-knee boots! I found in my storage a 1980’s Thierry Mugler over the knee boots… very S&M! That is why I never give away my accessories because they never go out of fashion or at least the trends keep on coming back. Accessories are those extras that keep on giving.
We started with Barneys as the idea was we will hit one mega department store and we chose this… it was a complete mayhem but in a good way…. people were actually shopping! I saw boys actually buying girls jackets… talk about androgynous! Then we were off to Dolce and Gabbana to pay a visit to my friend Megan who is the pr but then realized when we got to the store that she was at D&G in Soho so we ran back in the car and we were off to Dior and on our way there we passed Bergdorf Goodman and there were lines outside… my goodness, you would think they were giving clothes away and the streets looked like a fashion show. Fashion turn to the right… Fashion turn to the left… Fa Fa Fa Fa Fashion…… everyone was dressed to the hilt… killers!
Dior was a little bit civilized but every hip hop artists and wanabees were in there and I am sure paying full retail. My friend the photographer Arthur Elgort set up a make shift studio and we took pictures together… let me give you a bit of history here… Arthur was the first photographer who shot me for a magazine and it was for Vogue on my third day in New York way back in 1975! We laughed about that! Dorothy, we are not in 1975 anymore.
Sam insisted we stop by Prada on our way to Soho and so we did and we just missed the book signing of Grace Coddington, Creative Director of Vogue … don’t miss her great “acting” performance in The September Issue documentary that is in theaters now.
I was getting pooped and, girl, my bunions were killing me but we had one more stop at my dear friend Rachel Roy’s pop up store you definitely have to check out her new line Rachel Rachel Roy (very affordable and very downtown chic) exclusively at Macy’s.
Well, Spring Street in New York is a mess even on a good day and tonight it was a lot of a mess. It took us forever to get there but it was worth it as she was shocked to see me that I made the effort and said that she owes me till eternity… You are my witness in case she forgets that promise! It was worth it but was way overcrowded. Lots of beautiful black girls including Estelle ( she is collaborating with Rachel on a jewelry line) who was ensconced in a corner but I never made it to her as I was famished so we were off to Indochine where we met up with Tyson Beckford and his beautiful Australian girlfriend, my closest friend Bethann Hardison, Eric Sartore of Betsey Johnson and a sleuth of rotating friends. Tonight was a huge success and I only wished that they had made the whole week Fashion’s Week Out and allocated one day to Madison Avenue stores, next to 5th Avenue stores day because I felt we lost a lot of time in traffic traveling from one end to the other.
Came home very late, barely got out of my clothes and committed a beauty sin that I haven’t done since my Studio 54 days…I went to bed without taking my makeup off! Bad, bad very bad girl. I am sure to regret this! Pray for me!
What a way to come back in full swing.
Lexi, my daughter, started 4th grade this morning and she was a little scared and anxious but so was I. I was asked by Vogue to be part of Fashion’s Night Out Initiative shoot with Patrick Demachelier and they were shootingÂ 100 models at the steps of Bryant Park…. to those of you who are clueless to where this is Bryant Park is where Fashion Week (fashion shows) are held in New York… it is kind of a Mecca for fashionistas and wanabees.
From A listers and beyond D listers gather not necessarily to look at what the designers have been agonizing to create for months but to actually have their photos taken! It has become another photo op for “celebrities” and who isn’t one these days! but I regress …. So I got to Bryant Park late, as all mothers know first day of school is not about dropping off your child but you meet the new teachers and mingle with parents you haven’t seen all summer…. as the clock was ticking I was thinking I have to get to Bryant Park or Vogue will never forgive me!
Vogue Fashionâ€™s Night Out Initiative shoot w/ Patrick Demachelier- photo: courtesy of models.com
I rushed into the car and barked at the poor driver to step on it and proceeded to change from mommy clothes to high fashion gear….. this required all my forgotten skills of modeling ( modeling does require skills!) and pushed out of my “boyfriend” jeans, which I lived in them all summer,Â to the skinny ones (fashionista’s uniform) and from flip flops to vertigo inducing Sergio Rossi heels ….. I missed the 100 model photo op but I barely made to the smaller “in” group and I felt scared and anxious (just like Lexi) as I posed with models in their late teens and early twenties outside of a studio ( meaning daylight! yikes) but was very welcomed by all these pretty young things as they cheered welcome ICON!