FIB’s TOP MODELS: Sexiest Girls — Chanel Iman

The world is full of beautiful people. But being sexy dwarfs beauty — it is more than just a pretty face or nice physique. When you look at the Sexiest Girls we have chosen, you see a common factor: they all own their sexuality. There will always be critics, but being sexy is about having the cheers of admiration drown the whispers of jealousy.

So each week, let FIB give you a glimpse into our upcoming book, TOP MODELS Volume 63 — Sexiest Girls. Be warned, though: some of these women can make Kate Moss jealous.

It’s impressive to think Chanel Iman has been modelling for more than a decade. What’s more impressive is the fact that she is only 25. Born on December 1, 1990 to parents of Korean and African American descent, Iman began modelling aged 13. A year later, in 2004, she signed for Ford Modelling Agency, going on to win 3rd place in Ford’s “Supermodel of the World” contest in 2005.

Image Credit: Instagram (@chaneliman)
Image Credit: Instagram (@chaneliman)


While Iman was a model at 14, her real break didn’t come until 2006 when she walked in the Ready To Wear Fall/Winter Show for some more-than-recognisable labels. These included Charles Nolan, DKNY and Tory Burch, to name a few.

In 2007, Iman again walked in the Ready To Wear Fall/Winter Show, this time for fashion heavyweights including Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, D&G, Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney. She gained more attention when she featured on the cover of American VOGUE in May that year, making her one of the most recognisable models of her age — in case you’d lost track, by this stage she was still only 16!

Iman for Blumarine (2010)
Iman for Blumarine (2010)


Today, the phrase “unique appearance” gets used as interchangeably as throwaway fashion. Yet, it’s no exaggeration when one says Iman possesses recherché features, making her a sexy and highly coveted product. It isn’t quite the tangible that makes her sexy. While her high cheekbones and broad smile create an image of flawless serenity, her sexiness transcends the physical. It becomes apparent when she’s walking the runways or doing interviews: an incredible confidence radiates from her, stemming from a confident centre.

Image Credit: The Outnet
Image Credit: The Outnet

Iman’s biggest break came in 2009, when she made her Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show debut. Explaining the gravity of this achievement would be academic, such is the stature of the American label. However, when you consider Iman was only 18, you get a sense of how accomplished Iman was at such a young age.

Iman in her debut VS Fashion Show, 2009. Image Credit: Victoria's Secret
Iman in her debut VS Fashion Show, 2009. Image Credit: Victoria’s Secret

Only a year later, in 2010, Iman reached fashion’s peak — she got her wings. Again, no adjective does justice to the gravity of this achievement. What would suffice is saying Iman joined an elite group of girls, brushing shoulders with the likes of Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio and Candice Swanepoel. The year after, Iman walked in what would be her last Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, totaling in three consecutive shows, of which two she was an Angel.

Iman in her wings (2010). Image Credit: Victoria's Secret
Iman in her wings (2010). Image Credit: Victoria’s Secret


2012 marked the beginning of Iman’s post-Angel career and she is ostensibly busier than ever. In the Fall/Winter period of 2012, Iman did shoots for Target, Fashion and Saks Fifth Avenue. For the rest of the year, Iman appeared in campaigns for Forever 21, DKNY’s Be Delicious fragrance and VS. It should be noted that by this stage, at 22, Iman was one of the globe’s most recognisable figures. In terms of magazine covers in 2012, Iman featured for L’Officiel (February), Foam (May) and Deluxe (November).


By 2013, Iman was simply hot property, appearing in a variety of campaigns and magazine covers. On one hand, she was the muse for DKNY’s seductive fragrance, Delicious; while on the other, she walked in Jason Wu’s eccentric Fall/Winter Show. Other notable shows and campaigns include Oscar de la Renta’s Spring/Summer, Cushnie et Ochs Spring/Summer and DKNY Spring/Summer. That same year, Iman featured on the covers for Galore (Spring/Summer) and Singles (November).

Iman for Oscar de la Renta during NY Fashion Week (2014).
Iman for Oscar de la Renta during NY Fashion Week (2014)


It was more of the same for Iman in 2014, as she took part in GAP’s Factory campaign, as well as the Scandal Collection for The Limited. In terms of covers though, 2014 was hectic — testament to how pretty she is perceived to be on a global scale. Magazine covers included Untitled (Spring/Summer), The Edit (March), Net-A-Porter (March), Harper’s Bazaar Russia (June), Glamour Italia (July), ELLE Malaysia (July) and VOGUE USA (September).

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Iman showed no signs of slowing down in 2015, with her glowing smile one the front of GQ South Africa (February), C (Summer), Hamptons (Summer), Glamour Spain (July), Malibu (Fall) and Harper’s Bazaar Arabia (November). She was also part of Dennis Basso’s Fall/Winter campaign.

bazaar arabia

As with all the models in this Series, Iman’s skill isn’t exclusive to the fashion industry. In 2009, she attended a charity cocktail event hosted by BMW and VOGUE, while in 2011, Iman was part of USAID’s FWD (famine, war and drought) campaign. The campaign entailed a PSA by Iman and other notable stars — such as Uma Thurman and Geena Davis — to raise awareness for the American non-government organisation.

As of 2015, Iman frequently hosts events for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Foundation, as well as being an ambassador for the LA-based HerShe Group Foundation, mentoring teen girls in foster care. Iman also visited Cote d’Ivoire to support the Kalou Foundation, which provides facilities to combat sickness and sustain social welfare.

In reading this chapter, it becomes apparent that Iman featured in few campaigns in 2014 and 2015. This is due to her pursuing acting, with her first major role coming in Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope. Iman also featured in The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”.

Screen grab from Dope


With her mixture of ambition and prowess, it’s fair to say we are likely to see more of Iman on the big screen for years to come. Exciting times lay ahead . . .

Keep an eye out for FIB’s upcoming book, TOP MODELS Volume 63: Sexiest Girls.