At age 23, Chanel Iman is a modeling veteran, having been in the industry for more than a decade. She signed to her first modeling agency when she was just 13-years-old and moved to NYC at age 15 ( alone) just in time to walk the runway for fashion week royalty including Mark Jacobs and Proenza Schouler. Over a bowl of spaghetti bologense, Chanel reminisces about her early career and chats with NET-A-PORTER about topics like modeling diversity in this week’s edition of “The Edit.”
Modeling an array of looks from one of spring 2014′s most visible trend–metallics– in the story’s photo shoot, Chanel gives off the impression of being wise beyond her age, a possible effect of her growing up quickly in the modeling industry. See below for a preview of what Chanel reveals in her interview, and head over to NET-A-PORTER for the whole story.
On diversity in modeling: “It’s an issue that my industry is still working on. 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.”
On her body type: “I’ve been skinny my whole life. 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.”
On being a young model: “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. These days I always encourage young models to start no younger than 18.”
On her relationship with Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls: ”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.”