UNPLUGGED: Why did you start doing modeling with a successful career you already had?
CHANEL: I saw this all the time. I woke up one day and threw away all my excuses. Any insecurities I had were no longer permitted to be an obstacle to me living the best life I have to live. I want to live my best life! That’s the catch phrase these days! What that means for me is that if I ant to model today, I will. If I want to lay brocks tomorrow, I’ll do that. I refuse to be limited by people expectations.
Some people start off modeling when they were 15 years old. That’s not my testimony. I was little brown girl that had insecurities about being a brown girl in a family full of fair skin women. I had to conquer those insecurities. No more excuses. I woke up one day and truly threw away all my excuses. Now, I’m out doing it!
UNPLUGGED: So, what has been a challenge to being in fashion?
CHANEL: Honestly, I’ve been blessed. When I started, I was fortunate to get connected with people with experience in the fashion industry. They gave me some advice and I listened. That advice has helped me out tremendously and has guided me along my journey. I truly have God’s favor. October 2017 was the month that I decided that I was getting into this industry. I saw women at a fashion show do their thing and I knew I wanted to do it too. I tried out for an audition for another fashion show and secured a spot. After that show, I was just given opportunity after opportunity to sharpen my craft. I was given advice on developing my brand as well as not accepting every opportunity. So honestly, at this juncture of my journey, I can’t say that I’ve really had any obstacles in the industry.
I will say that I am a sensitive person. Not everyone knows that about me. I portray this strong persona about myself, so people don’t think they can take advantage; but underneath it all, I’m all soft (laughing). Yet in this industry, you must have thick skin. I’ve learned you can take this personal. You must be professional through all of it. Smile your way through the critiques and the feedback. So, managing my own personality type of being a sensitive person in a thick skin industry has been a learning experience.
UNPLUGGED: What are some of those personal life changes you’ve made and how has it affected your modeling?
CHANEL: Ha! Good question! In 2014, years before I decided to ever think about modeling, I decided to start raw juicing. I juiced fruits and vegetables etc. Over time, that personal changed evolved into a vegan diet or a plant-based diet. Making that change has really given me a lot of energy. I didn’t feel like I was dragging.
Plus, modeling is not all I do. I’m a corporate trainer as well as I work with couple of non- profit organizations. I stay very busy. I wake up and don’t need coffee to jumpstart my day. I’m already ready to go, energy-wise. Even preparing for this magazine shoot and interview which we started at 11am, I’ve been up since 5am doing hair and make-up in preparation for today. This plant-based diet truly has given me the energy to keep up with my own lifestyle and the demands thereof all at the age of 37. I don’t look my age. I don’t feel my age (whatever that means).
UNPLUGGED: Do you believe modeling can create a platform for awareness and empowerment?
CHANEL: Absolutely! If you go to my Instagram page @chanel_trenee, you’ll see most of the modeling pictures I post are motivational, in nature. I like to attach poetry and quotes to my posts. It’s my way of encouraging my audience whomever they may be. When I see my images, I think about what feeling is this going to emote. Based on that thought, I’ll write my captions and I tend to great feedback in the hundreds with almost every post. Some feedback is in the form of thanks you’s while other feedback is in the response to them sharing their story or their feelings.
I not only use modeling as platform to discuss healthy living, but I also use it to have a conversation about being a good person. Some people think, as a model, you must be mean, arrogant or conceited. However, you can be a personable person as a model. You don’t have to be standoff-ish. You can be nice and approachable. It’s time we have those kinds of conversations.
Plus, magazines like this give people and inside scoop on who people are and what makes them who they are. In 2011, my mother passed away unexpectedly. She never got a chance to see me model. She never got the opportunity to see me lose weight or walk across a runway. Therefore, above and beyond throwing away my excuses, I do this for my mother. I wake up every day to the notion of being everything my mother raised me to be and nothing less. She instilled lots of great qualities in me like strength, loyalty, honesty and a great work ethic. I want to be sure that I live up to the investment my mother made in my life. Therefore, I’d like to use this platform to promote anything that’s good, great, and of God.
UNPLUGGED: What’s it like working with Unplugged Magazine versus other media outlets?
CHANEL: You know Phillip, with me being newer to the industry in Columbus, I really appreciate you knowing your focus and what you wanted to accomplish. You have an eye for talent and art in fashion. You looked at my clothes, you knew the environment and you gave room for the creative space to happen to make this shoot and interview phenomenal. You made sure that everything around me worked in concert with me. I’m very perceptive that way and that made me feel comfortable. Moreover, it made me trust the product we’re working to produce. Overall, it’s been a great experience. If I’m doing something you want, you let me know that’s a good shot. If I’m not doing something you need, you let me know too. I appreciate both because some magazines and photographers shoot you with 0% feedback. You just never know if you’re giving them what they like or not. Long story short, it’s been fun and informative. Can’t wait for the magazine to come out.!
UNPLUGGED: What’s next?
CHANEL: Well, I’m constantly evolving. Truth is I’m not sure. We’ll just pray and see what happens.
If you want to book Chanel Woods for an event, show or shoot, contact her at: