If you haven't heard of Chanel Iman yet, get ready, because this teenager might just be the next supermodel. The 5'9" Korean-American/African-American stunner has worked for a long list of designers including Christian Dior, Valentino, YSL, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, and Oscar de la Renta. Oh yeah, and she's already been on the cover of Vogue. Not a bad resume for someone who only recently turned 18.
I had a moment to talk with Chanel before the Erin Fetherston show, and although she was a bit under the weather, she was kind enough to answer a few questions. I found her good-natured, funny, and intelligent, and I think you will, too. Read on!
How does Fashion Week feel now compared to when you were starting out?
I still love it. And you have to love what you do and really enjoy it. It's always been a job and I've been very professional about it, but now it's a career: not just a job, but a career. I look at it a little differently, you know? I need to be on point at all times.
To find out about Chanel's formula for beautiful hair and skin,
How does it feel when you see yourself in Vogue or when you're on the cover of a magazine?
Well, I feel very proud. I think I'm not only representing myself on the cover of Vogue, I'm representing other people, like my family and my friends. It's not just me on the cover, it's everybody around me that's helped me, everybody that's rooting for me. So I'm very blessed and very thankful for everything.
How do you take care of your skin?
When I come from a show, I never go to sleep with all my makeup on. I never have dry lips, and you should always wash your face at night. I use an Aveda face scrub — it's really good — and a little bit of moisturizer. That's pretty much what I do.
What about your hair? How do you keep it healthy?
My hair? Ooh, we've got some problems with the hair. [laughs] I always wash my hair once a week. For a black girl, hair is different. I always have to have my edges, which is the front of my hairline, very clean and very fresh and straightened out. A little Vonté wax, a little bit of shine to your hair. African-American hair needs oil because it's not naturally oily. Some people's are, but some aren't. So a little bit of oil, a little bit of shine, a little bit of wax, and you're all good.
What kind of makeup do you use when you're not working?
I actually don't wear makeup. If I do wear it, let me see . . . I wear different things. A little bit of Lancome, Estee Lauder. I always carry around this thing called Rosebud, from Sephora. You can use it for anything: your cuticles, your mouth, your skin.
It seems like more people are talking about diversity — or lack thereof — on the runways. What are your thoughts?
I think it definitely needs to happen soon. I think this is what happened: A long time ago, people used to come to shows for the models and not the clothes. The designers now want the models to all look the same so people can focus more on the clothes than the model. And I think that's why we have a lack of diversity. But I think it would be more interesting on the runway to see different faces from all over the world. People would really want to come to these shows, to see the models and the clothes. I think that's really smart for designers to use different women. If they do use different nationalities, that will attract more customers.