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13 Images

Chanel Iman

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Top model Chanel Iman, a 16-year-old from Baldwin Hills, at a photo shoot at Venice Beach. (Courtney Hergesheimer / LAT)
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Chanel says she dresses “entirely according to mood, and no two days are alike. If I’m in a punk rock mood, I try a just-rolled-out-of-bed, dark-colored thing.... If I’m happy, summery, I’ll go with Stella McCartney — bright, colorful. I always love wearing lots of jewelry — mostly bangles and charm bracelets.” (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Chanel caught the attention of Vogue editor Anna Wintour with a cheeky wink from the catwalk. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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“I like the creativity of what designers can do to the clothes,” Chanel says. “And I like how it transforms me into a person I’m normally not.” (Mark Boster / LAT)
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For many, Chanel embodies the ideal of a 21st century model: an unconventional beauty, a mix of glamour and mischief, and a quirky individual style. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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The young model mixes with some admirers during a Venice Beach photo shoot. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Chanel at work in a Venice Beach photo shoot. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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Chanel enjoys some musicians on the boardwalk in Venice Beach. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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These days — between shoots for Vogue and Allure, walking for Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabbana, posing in ads for Benetton and Tommy Hilfiger — Chanel’s home base has shifted from Los Angeles to New York. (Kirk McKoy / LAT)
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Chanel on the runway in the Missoni show in Milan, Italy. (Kirk McKoy / LAT)
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“I do see some of myself in Chanel,” said Tyra Banks, who has become Chanel’s friend and mentor. “She is a driven, motivated professional and doesn’t seem to be at risk of getting caught up into the dark side of the modeling world. But, at the same time, she’s a regular kid from the same part of L.A. that I am from. Girls like Chanel don’t come by the modeling industry often.” (Kirk McKoy / LAT)
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“Chanel can just charm, charm, charm,” says Katie Ford, chief executive of the Ford modeling agency. “She’s just so endearing, she gets away with it.” (Vogue magazine)
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Less than two years after her first gig — a poolside beauty shoot for Teen magazine — Chanel landed on the cover of Vogue last spring, the youngest of 10 girls the magazine anointed “The World’s Next Top Models.” (Vogue magazine)
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