Model Chanel Iman, whose modeling career began at age 12, became one of the top models featured on magazine covers and runways in the 2000s. The multihyphenate —philanthropist, designer, and entrepreneur—was also one of the first Black Victoria’s Secret Angels.
Most recently, Iman has been focusing on being a mom to her two daughters, Cali and Cassie—with ex-husband Sterling Shepard. She is currently expecting a third child—with her fiance Davon Godchaux.
In an interview with People, Iman said of her most recent pregnancy, “I feel like I know right away,” she said, “I know the minute I miss a period, I’m like ‘Oh God.’ I know what this is because I’ve done this twice already. I really didn’t even need to take a pregnancy test because I already knew.”
“The minute I told my fiancé, he was beyond excited because he has one son and I have two daughters. We both have wanted, not a big family, but we’ve wanted a few more children. When we met each other, we always talked about having a family.”
In addition to being a busy mom, Iman has partnered with CupShe a global fashion and beachwear e-tailer, celebrating its 8th birthday with the launch of its latest “BeMe; The Cupshe Birthday Collection” in collaboration with three influential women. The size-inclusive capsule collection features 56 swim styles and 20 cover-up styles ranging from sizes XS to XL and is divided into three subcollections. Iman’s collection includes floral, green, and blue bikinis, sarongs, and maxi dresses.
BET.com chatted with Iman about the line, her recent surprise engagement, and her most important role—mom.
BET.com: How did the collaboration with Cupshe come about?
Chanel Iman: Cupshe reached out to me, and I thought it was a perfect fit because they cater to all women, and right now, I am pregnant. And, you know, I’m always trying to figure out how to style the bump, and with Cupshe, that’s very easy. I’ve wanted to work with a brand where I could easily talk about the things that I choose and the things that work for me during and after pregnancy.
BET.com: Often, we think about size inclusive as plus size or petite size, but we may not think about that in terms of maternity as it relates to lingerie, swimwear, or even loungewear. That must hold a special place for you.
Iman: It definitely does because, you know, I have a house in Florida, and I am a beach girl, and I love spending my off time somewhere with sunshine and feeling good, confident, and sexy. And with my capsule collection with Cupshe, there’s something for everyone in there.
BET.com: We hear so much these days about body positivity; when you think of body positivity, what does that mean to you?
Iman: To me, it means just feeling confident in your skin, embracing who you are, and loving yourself.
BET.com: What do you hope your fans and people who buy the collection get from it?
Iman: I hope they have as much confidence as I do when I put it on. If I feel like I can wear it, then you can wear it and feel good because, you know, this is my third baby. My body has changed, and I especially love that my fiance loves my happy weight. He loves me and thinks I’m so beautiful pregnant, which gives me the confidence to put on a bathing suit.
BET.com: You’re a mom of girls and are expecting another girl. What is your advice to your daughters about being their best selves?
Iman: I pray daily that my daughters will become more successful than me. I pray that they’re more educated than me. And just better women than me. I want to teach them to be the best version of themselves.
BET.com: What are some of your best self-care tips?
Iman: Having a stress-free life. But, when that’s not possible, try to take some time for yourself; it is essential—especially in motherhood so you can be there for your children. As women, we always want to do everything for everybody. I know that I am that type of woman. And sometimes I have to, you know, force myself just to breathe.
And now that I split time with their father, I can have more time to travel and do things. As a mother, I didn’t realize how much I did all the time. It’s nice to miss them. And it’s nice when they come home, and we get a fresh start.
BET.com: Can you tell us about the proposal in Capri? You looked so happy.
Iman: Yes, it was a big surprise. Davon knows that Capri has been a dream destination. And he’s never been there. I hadn’t been there. I thought it was my baby moon, but it turned into an engagement. I’m getting married to my best friend—that is my protector that I’ve fallen in love with.
BET.com: What about the wedding? Do you have a dream destination in mind for that?
Iman: (Laughs) Well, it just happened. So I have no idea what we’re gonna do, but it will definitely be something special.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.