Five Things You Don't Know About Chanel Iman

The up-and-coming model counts Tyra Banks as a mentor.

September 17, 2009, 10:12 AM

Sept. 17, 2009— -- With a name that's synonymous with fashion, it's no surprise Chanel Iman has become one of the industry's fast-rising stars.

Raised in Los Angeles, Iman was discovered by Ford Models when she was 16 years old. Now 19, she has since traveled the world, gracing the catwalks of Paris, London and New York for noted designers Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs and Valentino.

Iman has also appeared on the cover of Vogue and in numerous advertising campaigns for Victoria's Secret Pink, GAP and Bottega Veneta.

With her popularity growing and a bright future ahead of her, it's no surprise super model and talk show host Tyra Banks has taken young Iman under her wing, serving as her mentor and big sister figure.

"Tyra Banks is great, I'm always in support of her – she's always been there for me," Iman told "I can call her in the middle of the night."

Iman has been busy launching her new Web site and fashion blog, The up-and-coming model recently took a break from her Fashion Week preparations to tell five things we didn't know about her.

1. As a model, it's quite fitting that Iman's first passions are fashion photography and styling. "I love clothes and photography," Iman said. "I love shooting photos…And I love styling, like styling all my friends. I loved that kind of stuff in high school, getting all dolled up to go to the movies with the girlfriends. I was like, the stylist of my friends."

2. When she's not modeling, the 5'10" beauty revels in competitive sports. While Chanel played basketball and flag football in elementary and middle school, don't call her a tomboy just yet. "I just really like outdoor activities. I'm very competitive, so once somebody's up for a challenge I'm down. I love scuba diving, love jet skiing. I love horseback riding, car racing, paragliding. I like all that kind of stuff."

3. Chanel's musical taste -- like her background -- is diverse and "goes from rock n' roll to hard core rap. I like everything," she said. "I love listening to rock n' roll -- my favorite group is No Doubt. I've been around Gwen -- she's from Cali too. All the Cali girls support each other." Other groups on Chanel's playlist include MGMT, the Rolling Stones, Gucci Man and Lil' Wayne.

4. Sorry boys, but this stunner's taken. "I'm in love, very in love. I'm the happiest girl on the planet right now," Chanel gushed. So who's the lucky man in Chanel's life? Her beau is a young man named Chris whom the model has known for six years. The two went to high school together in Los Angeles, and Chris now lives in New York, working with Chanel to help develop and manage her modeling career. "We work as a team," she said.

5. Love tends to bring out the domestic side in people, and Chanel confesses she enjoys cooking for her boyfriend. "I love cooking. I make really good teriyaki cheeseburgers with grilled onions and avocados. And [Chris] says that I make the best spaghetti." Chanel also bakes "goodies like cupcakes and brownies and apple pies," and said she is even branching out to learn new cuisines. "[Chris] is Creole, so I'm learning to cook Creole food like shrimp and gumbo. I'm learning that now. I'm not the best, but I will be learning that."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events