Meet Chanel Iman Robinson, an American fashion model most notable as a Victoria’s Secret ‘angel’, and as the youngest and most successful high fashion model of her time. Chanel was born in Atlanta, Georgia to an African American father and mother (who is also half Korean), but grew up in Los Angeles, California. She was named after fashion icon Coco Chanel, and supermodel Iman.
Chanel began modelling at the age of 13. She entered and won the 2006 Ford’s Supermodel of the World contest held in New York, and later signed a contract with the agency. In May 2007, Iman appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine, as one of the world’s next top supermodels. At 16 years old, She was the youngest model to ever appear on its cover. Style.com later featured her as a star on the rise. Later in 2007, Chanel attended the Met Ball, a fashion gala, where she was named Vogue’s second Best Dressed of the week. In 2008, she appeared on several magazine covers: Teen Vogue, Italian Elle, TIME Fashion, Harper’s Bazaar, Lula, Korean Vogue, and others.
Iman has walked the runway for top fashion designers including: Balenciaga, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, and Stella McCartney. She has appeared in campaign ads for GAP, H&M, Express, and most recently Victoria’s Secret Pink. Chanel officially became an ‘angel’ at her second runway show for Victoria’s Secret in November 2010. Victoria’s Secret also featured Chanel on their official website later that year.
Being more than just a supermodel, Iman has done several charity work over the years. She considers it very important to give back to the community. Chanel has been involved with the HerShe Group Foundation in Los Angeles, which includes mentoring teen girls in foster care. She also donates school supplies and clothing to her local church, and hosts events for the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Iman is currently signed with IMG and still as excited about modelling, as when she first started out. She is considered an advocate for diversity on the runway, paving the way for a host of newcomers. Chanel hopes for advertisers to see the value of booking “color”. In many interviews, Chanel defines beauty as having “spirit, confidence and positive attitude”, aspects that can be seen brightly as she walks down the runway.