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21-03-2014
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Interview The Edit
Quote:
Modeling at the age of 13, living in New York on her own at 15 – CHANEL IMAN had to grow up fast. But she has always been exceptional: standing out from the crowd, speaking her mind – even being a model with a big appetite, finds CELIA WALDEN.

When Chanel Iman watched Lupita Nyong’o win her Best Supporting Actress Oscar two weeks ago, she burst into tears. “It was a very emotional moment,” says Iman, smiling on the sun-blanched patio of Mr C’s restaurant in Beverly Hills. “All my friends and I were holding hands in front of the television, willing her to win. Then when she did it was like we had been given the award. Because I really believe that having a black woman win an Oscar is going to help pave the way, not just in her industry, but mine.”

The 23-year-old supermodel has always been vocal on the subject of race. Uncomfortably so, some members of the fashion industry – which can swing from straight-forwardly racist to wildly tokenistic, without ever seeming to find a middle ground – might think. And yet, thankfully, it is not a subject Iman is likely to shut up about any time soon. “It’s an issue that my industry is still working on,” she says, a picture of LA cool in a tie-dye tank top and pajama-style pants, a tiny Chanel bag sitting like a coveted pooch on her lap. “I think that everyone should be equal; it shouldn’t be about color. It’s unfortunate that there is still a lot of politics involved in both the acting and modeling worlds. I do think we’ve come a long way, but things could still be a lot more diverse on the runway and in films.”

Was she not worried that she was taking a risk, speaking out so early on in her career about the fashion world’s biggest elephant in the room, when she told the press two years ago that “a few times I got excused by designers who told me ‘We already found one black girl. We don’t need you anymore’”?

“I don’t think so,” Iman shrugs, perusing the menu, “because I was just saying things that were true. When people ask me questions, I’ll tell them how I feel.”
In this respect and many others, Iman is atypical of her breed. For instance, I have met plenty of supermodels who claim that they eat like horses, without ever actually witnessing one do so – until today. “I’d like the spaghetti bolognese,” she says to our waiter, through a mouthful of buttered roll, “and the shrimp risotto. And I’d like the crepes.”

“I’ve been skinny my whole life,” she laughs, as I watch her commit grand-scale carb-icide. “And now that I’m getting older I’m gaining weight. I love it, because when you’re teased at school and everyone’s always asking ‘Do you eat?’, it’s like being bullied.”

Now that Iman has gained an estimated 15-20lbs over the past few years, she tells me she sometimes hears her clients complain: ‘Oh, she’s getting so big!’

“But that only makes me think ‘yay!’” she insists. “When models are criticized for being too thin, it’s just another form of bullying. It would make me feel so insecure when people used to say that about me, because you’re not allowed to go around telling people that they’re too fat and asking ‘Do you ever stop eating?’, are you?”

Born in Atlanta, the daughter of an African-American basketball coach and a half African-American, half Korean stewardess, Chanel Iman Robinson moved to Los Angeles in 1999, and was signed by her first modeling agency just three years later at the age of 13. At 15, she moved into her Battery Park condo in New York City, where she made her runway debut at New York Fashion Week, walking for Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler and Derek Lam.

“I’ve had to grow up very fast, and although I know that if I hadn’t started so early I wouldn’t be where I am today, I often wish that I could have had those high-school years and experiences,” Iman says. “These days I always encourage young models to start no younger than 18.”

By that age, Iman had already landed her first Vogue cover and been signed as one of the youngest Victoria’s Secret models in the company’s history. Campaigns for Gap, Ralph Lauren and DKNY’s signature scent, Be Delicious, followed. “There were times when I felt very lonely,” the model admits, “because I had to be a grown-up and live in New York by myself – but God blessed me with the opportunity to be a model and I took it. Still, it’s very easy to get caught up and lost and not feel loved in this business.”

Iman says she “tries to make time” for a personal life (if the press – who have linked her to everyone from Kanye West to rapper A$AP Rocky, whom she has allegedly been dating since last year – are anything to go by, she must have an awful lot of spare time), but she’s not a party girl. “I’m not a big drinker and I’d much rather go to a friend’s house than a club,” she insists. One gets the sense that she is wary of the whole ‘scene’, having been used as a status symbol in the past. “I’ve had my feelings hurt,” she confirms, “because I’ve found out that guys and girls were only around me for the look. That really messes with your head.”

But one social gathering she is happy to attend is the Vanity Fair Oscars party, where last year she met actress Halle Berry and was scarcely able to pull two words together: “She’s been my girl crush since I was two years old.”

Another female idol is former supermodel Tyra Banks, who has evolved from mentor to close friend since the TV host invited Iman and her mother, China Robinson, onto The Tyra Banks Show in 2007. “Tyra is always giving me such good advice about my personal life,” says Iman. “She understands me, which is important because other top models aren’t always like that with each other.”

But the biggest highlight of her career so far was last year, when she was asked to appear in the video for Beyoncé’s single, Yoncé, alongside Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls. “Beyoncé is such a great woman,” sighs Iman, putting down her fork for the first time since we sat down together. “So positive and uplifting. All three of us models are very successful in our careers, but because in the fashion industry ‘there’s only one black girl allowed’, they’ve made us compete to be that one girl. Beyoncé allowed us to show the world that we don’t have to fight against each other. She gave us the chance to see that we are far more powerful together.”
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21-03-2014
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GREAT interview!! she's so well-spoken and thoughtful here. I'm loving it! )

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29-03-2014
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I think she shot with Ben Hassett and Elizabeth Sulcer for Violet Grey

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02-04-2014
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I believe she's doing something with Coco Rocha and Glamour.

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02-04-2014
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Yas Chanel!

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04-04-2014
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Montblanc Celebrates 90 Years of the Iconic Meisterstuck on April 3, 2014 at Guastavino's in New York City.






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04-04-2014
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Babe!!! That deep brown looks positively glorious against her skin tone. and it fits perfectly! I can't get over how amazingly she's matured into her looks and her body. I can't help but feel like VS got to her a few years too early, and that really NOW is when she'd be best for them.

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04-04-2014
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vogue.co.uk

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06-04-2014
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attending Pharrell Williams's SpongeBob SquarePants themed 41st birthday party on Friday evening (April 4) at Bikini Bottom at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.


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06-04-2014
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2014 DVF Awards on April 4, 2014 in New York City.


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07-04-2014
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Quote:
Chanel Iman Engaged To A$AP Rocky?
07 April 2014 Lauren Milligan


CHANEL IMAN is reportedly engaged to her rapper boyfriend, A$AP Rocky. The couple, who began dating in early 2013, have not yet confirmed or denied the rumours.

The New York rapper and former Victoria's Secret Angel have been photographed together in recent weeks - most recently at an event at Guastavino's in his home city. Iman has not been pictured wearing a ring, but a source has told Page Six that she "happily accepted his proposal".

Iman, who hails from Atlanta, has appeared on the cover of American Vogue and Teen Vogue, and has graced the catwalks of Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga and Givenchy.
vogue.co.uk

Congrats?

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07-04-2014
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I was hoping it wasn't true, a lot of the earlier reports kept referring to her as a British model so I was taking that as it being false Congrats to them if this is the case...

I'm more offended that it took this for Sports Illustrated to post anything about her. I can't roll my eyes enough at them. All those features on all them basic girls. All that build up to announce her last to do nothing after the fact. I bet we'll see that video she shot with them during swim week now.

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07-04-2014
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does anyone know the designer of the brown dress? Its gorgeous

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07-04-2014
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^Kaufmanfranco its a custom design from their spring 2014 show.

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11-04-2014
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