Fresh off a fitting with Jason Wu, Chanel Iman bounced into our shoot at the buzzy Dream Downtown like it wasn't the middle of Fashion Week. "Hey boo," she called across the crowded lobby, cheerfully rolling a heavy Louis Vuitton suitcase behind her. No bevy of assistants, no attitude: immediate BFF friend alert.
With an easy charm that helps explain how this A-list muse puts the "super" in supermodel, the 22-year-old showed off four outfits, from a street look with swag to seductive, cocktail-time attire. Despite the icy cold, the girl was a true pro, posing for cell-phone snaps with giggling Japanese fans, giving us boy advice ("He needs a job!"), and even playfully hailing a taxi. Along the way, we chatted her up about dream vacations, diet tips, and the Obamas. Meet your next-level girl crush, ahead.
Shot at The Dream Downtown
Photographed by Christelle de Castro
So, we hear you just bought a car!
"Yes, the [Mercedes] SL63 — I got it in the beginning of the year and I love my car — I love it so much! It's fast, it's a drop-top, and it's perfect for California."
Alexander Wang boots, Chanel bag, Preen top, rag & bone skirt.
Speaking of Cali, you live in NYC and L.A. — which coast is cooler?
"I can't be in either too long — I love them both; they are both my homes. I love how busy and fast-paced NYC is; I'm really focused when I get here. When I go to L.A., it's more chill and relaxed, and my family is there.
Fashion-wise, though, it's all about NYC. NYC is the capital of fashion!"
Truth. So, what's your favorite Big Apple boutique?
"I shop at all the little boutiques in Soho. I have a lot of Alexander Wang. But, I also like really basic stuff from Rick Owens."
Jacquie Aiche bracelet/ring.
What's the dopest thing you've bought lately?
"Well, my car is the ultimate, but I just got some new Jordans yesterday — they're white and gray and just cool."
Chanel braves the frigid temps to pose on the stair of the Dream Downtown's outdoor garden.
rag & bone boots, Rick Owens skirt, Rick Owens jacket, rag & bone sweater.
You must get a lot of swag from designers — any standouts?
"I get really cool things all the time. I have loads of shoes! It's nice when you get really nice collection pieces. Ralph Lauren gave me a gorgeous hand-kitted sweater."
A detail shot of Chanel's epic rag & bone boots.
You've been a busy girl! Any plans to take a break? What would be your dream vacation?
"I've been trying to get out to Hawaii for a minute — I always look forward to a nice break there. I usually go with my family. I'm also dying to go to Bora Bora, and I love Saint Barth's."
You've covered Teen Vogue and American Vogue — what's it like to be in the Anna Wintour family?
"It's such an honor — it inspires you to make a difference and be a great role model. I just want to inspire young girls and encourage them to make a difference."
J Brand jeans, Chanel boots, vintage flannel, rag & bone T-shirt, rag & bone jacket.
Well, you've worked with the Obamas!
"Yeah — I mean, that really encouraged me to make a difference. I was part of the Runway To Win
team, and I got to create my own backpack to raise money for the campaign. I've been very supportive of the Obamas, and they've been very supportive of me. I support them 100%."
Would you ever want to run for office?
"It's not for me. I always wanted to be a good leader with good positive energy — I want our world to be a better place, but politics...again, not for me!"
Chanel's rocking the Runway To Win backpack she created to support Obama's 2012 presidential campaign.
The whole diet side of the industry has to be crazy. Do you feel like there's a lot of pressure when it comes to what you eat?
"I eat whatever I want; I eat a lot of junk food. I am not on a diet at all, and this is just the way I am. I could eat cake all day and not gain a pound."
Balenciaga Jacket, Givenchy pants, Christian Louboutin heels, rag & bone top, Jason Wu bag.
You must get hit on all the time! What kind of qualities attract you in a dude?
"I like a guy who is real. I love real people in my life. I love a guy that's confident. I love a guy who knows what he wants and goes after it. I'm busy and working and don't really go out that much, so I don't really get introduced to that many guys.
Soooo, are you single?
Getting personal with the Jason Wu bag the designer gifted Chanel before his fall '13 show.
We hear you're going to the Vanity Fair party!?
"I'm really excited to be invited for the first time — it's a party I've always wanted to go to!"
Any celebs you're dying to meet?
"I wanna meet....I wanna meet....well, not really."
Well, can you say hi to David Beckham for us?
"I'll try. But, I'm shy. So, I probably won't say hi. Anyone else?"
Those insane chains on Chanel's feet? They're Jacquie Aiche.
Your face is so flawless. Any beauty secrets?
"I wash my face every night with Dermalogica and I put vitamin E on my face. My eyebrow kit from Anastasia doesn't leave my purse, and I always have Dior Show mascara on hand. Also, I carry around a Cinema Secrets palette to cover blemishes. I don't wear a lot of makeup, just little touches here and there."