Modeling Since 14, Chanel Iman Is Living Her Dream
She travels all over the world, being photographed at exotic locales. A Victoria's Secret Angel, she captures the eyes of men and the envy of women. She models the most beautiful clothes in the world on runways from New York City to Paris. All this, and she's only 21 years old.
Chanel Iman knows that she's living in a dream. But that doesn't mean the dream isn't a lot of work.
"A good model is focused," Iman says of what she's learned in the industry. "She knows how to take a lot of criticism. She doesn't really focus on the negative. She's about her work. She is 100 percent when she's on set.
"And she sells," the Atlanta-born beauty adds. "That's a good model."
Iman would know what makes a good model — after all, she's been modeling for half her life. "My aunt took me to several agencies at 12, and by 14 I was on my way to New York City," she remembers. "I moved there when I was 16. I had my own place. And I've just been focused ever since.
"It was very young to start," Iman admits in retrospect. "But it was an opportunity to change something in my life, to better myself — and I just took that opportunity and made the best of it."
It wasn't a typical adolescence by any means, but in many ways it shaped her. "I missed out on a lot of things that most teenagers do. But I think that I gained a lot of knowledge," she reasons. "I had a little bit of high school. That was the time where I was wild a bit. I had that. Modeling kept me out of trouble. It kept me focused and motivated to make a difference and better myself and help my family."
Which isn't to say that sometimes the difficulties of the modeling world don't make her think about hanging up her high heels for good. "I'll think about it for like 10 minutes," she concedes. "Then I come back and think, 'Yeah, I like what I do.' I've only ever wanted to give up modeling for 10 or 20 or 30 minutes, max."
Except for those occasional 30-minute spells, Iman never forgets that she's living in a dream. The one time she does wake up from dreamland, however, is when it comes to finding herself a man.
"Hell yeah," she laughs. "It is very difficult for me to find a guy."
Really? One of the most beautiful women in the world has trouble finding herself a date? According to Iman, too many men find the whole "supermodel" label a bit intimidating.
"Mmm-hmmm," she nods. "I'm single right now. Yeah, it's difficult.
"It's hard to find the right heart that fits yours," Iman tells us of her situation. "[Ultimately], I see myself with a very secure man that knows how to treat a lady with respect. And someone that I can learn from. Strong, smart and charming."