A couple days before this interview, Chanel Iman turned 18. As a fashion model on the rise, the busy teen spent the whole day working. “I flew in from Los Angeles and went straight to an Allure shoot,” she says perched in the dimly lit lounge of Manhattan’s downtown SoHo Grande Hotel. But this is not an occasion for sympathy. “I celebrated my birthday last night,” she reveals, “It was Britney Spears’s birthday party. My friends and I danced all night with Britney.”
Born in Atlanta, raised in Los Angeles and now living in New York City, Chanel Iman Robinson is part Korean, part African American. She is named after her mother’s favorite designer and an aunt, who is named after the legendary model. She has the looks, the cultural mix and the moniker that signify a modern fashionista.
The teenage Iman represents a new generation and proves that a lot can be accomplished in a short amount of time. Her runway debut for DKNY’s Fall 2006 season was a few months after her first “single beauty shot” in Teen magazine. Since then she’s walked for Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney and Diane Von Furstenberg, as well as virtually every other major designer worldwide. She is also the muse to Philip Lim and wears half of a puzzle-piece charm necklace that her mentor, Tyra Banks, gave her.