Saturday, June 20, 2015


In her first acting role, Supermodel-turned-Actress CHANEL IMAN portrays the character, LILY, in the new film, DOPE!!!

ESQUIRE Journalist MATT PATCHES caught up with her to get her take on DOPE, NUDE SCENES, And TOP-SECRET BEYONCE' VIDEOS.

Here are some interview highlights:

You're a supermodel who travels around the world 24/7. So we should probably start with: where are you now?

I just got back to [New York City] and I'm headed tomorrow out of town to either Texas or L.A. to visit some family and friends. I'm from L.A., but i've been in New York for about eight years. I'm in love with New York. But I love L.A.. I kind of make myself comfortable wherever I am in the world. I just live out of my suitcase.

Do you keep something packed that reminds you of home?

Candles. Just the scent... as long as I have my candles with me, I can get cozy wherever.

Dope takes place in Los Angeles, but its nostalgia for the '90s gives it a little New York vibe.

For me it seems very L.A.. It takes place near Inglewood. I grew up not far from the area. So you know when I first read Dope it's like I connected with it right away. My character Lily, she's young, wild, free-spirited, and reckless. I really wanted to play her because it's a very edgy role to take on.

What does Dope get right about Inglewood?

I saw a lot of guys like Malcolm [played by Shameik Moore], with skateboarders all over. You know just nerdy boys that are just obsessed with '90s music. [People] like Lily I see all the time at Coachella. There are wild girls everywhere. All the characters they're real. They're out there.

There are scenes in Dope that require substantial nudity. Which struck me—for a first-time actress and well-known model, showing skin might be an artistic demand you shy away from.

I was very comfortable with being on set and everyone was very, very professional. Yes, I take off the jumpsuit, and I'm seducing Malcolm, but I felt that's who Lily is, you know? She doesn't care. I didn't think about it because she doesn't think about anything she does. And just went for it, dove in and gave it my all. I knew what I was signing up for, and I knew that this was something that was going to be successful. I wanted to do it.

Before Dope you actually appeared in Beyonce's "Yonce" music video. How'd that happen? Did you have to audition for that?

Honestly, I didn't even know what it was. When we shot the video, it was one of those things where they called us and asked us just to be part of a special project for Beyonce. We didn't know what we were doing until the video actually dropped. They made us sign this secret confidentiality contract that we weren't even working that day. Very secret. They were just like, "Listen to some music and learn it in two seconds and go on set and have fun." We just knew we were just on set with Beyonce having a good time. We didn't even care what it was for.

You recently flew to Africa for philanthropic work. Is that something you're becoming more and more involved in?

That's something that fills my heart. Just being able to go to places like Ivory Coast, Africa and giving a little bit of my time. A good friend of mine has his own foundation. It's so special to just be invited to help out with something that touches people and helps in the little ways that I can.


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