13 Images

Chanel Iman

Top model Chanel Iman, a 16-year-old from Baldwin Hills, at a photo shoot at Venice Beach. (Courtney Hergesheimer / LAT)
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)
Chanel caught the attention of Vogue editor Anna Wintour with a cheeky wink from the catwalk. (Mark Boster / LAT)
“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)
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)
The young model mixes with some admirers during a Venice Beach photo shoot. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Chanel at work in a Venice Beach photo shoot. (Mark Boster / LAT)
Chanel enjoys some musicians on the boardwalk in Venice Beach. (Mark Boster / LAT)
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)
Chanel on the runway in the Missoni show in Milan, Italy. (Kirk McKoy / LAT)
“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)
“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)
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)