Imani Amos, under the guise of Imani Moon has really began to launch an unconventional career for herself in Chicago. Her Instagram account has become one of my favorites to follow as each series of photos she releases offers a different spectrum of colors. Her ever growing project #colorFULL has attracted viewers from all over, and she crafted a style of releasing eye-catching images in threes. But at one point there wasn’t a platform for her to share, until she decided to take ownership and create her own opportunities. This was in part her inspiration that led her to the ever-evolving creative she is today. Being self-taught often means not having the resources and learning things on your own. It is pathway that has led Imani Moon to develop talents not only as a model, but also as a photographer, art director and graphic designer. The 27-year old Chicago native is slowly simultaneously connecting her crafts across multiple disciplines to tell the story of women of color through visual representation. We chatted with her about how the #colorFULL series came about, being rejected as a model, her inspiration and more.
1) I remember reading once about you saying something along the lines of how society has traditionally rejected your skin tone/body type/make as beautiful. Can you talk about this experience and how this has not only impacted you growing up but still influences or affects you today?
Haha, I don’t remember saying it quite as profoundly as that but there wasn’t really an “experience” per se that I was alluding to. I was just noting that I have been rejected from many modeling situations and I’m absoLUTely okay with that. Those rejections have allowed me to maneuver within the industry on my own terms. I never had the intention of being a model. It was a cool idea at one point in my life but I know I am more and can do more. Plus, the superficial stuff and having to fit a certain mold is sooooo overrated. I’d rather live the underground, unsigned model life as I do now and work with creatives who want to make magic with me on a fully artistic level. I want to be involved in the whole creative process!
2) Can you talk about the #colorFULL series and what sparked the concept?
97 weeks ago (around the time I started this series), I posted this on Instagram:
“I guess this series requires a lil explaining. Here are a few facts: 1. I was bored with my wardrobe and sad that I didn’t have any shoots booked so I put my wardrobe and modeling skill to work. I’ve been on a monochromatic kick so I’ve been on this “blending with my surrounding” steez. 2. This essentially is practice for me. Im pushing myself so I, as well as potential clients, can see my potential and talents. 3. I style and take all of these photos by myself. My friends have assisted me with a few things but this is 95% all me everything. (Shoutout to my squad who’s been holding me down and encouraging me to keep going) 4. Only in the blue photos do I have makeup on. I want this as natural and effortless as possible. 5. Triptychs are a series of three images, hence #trippytriptychs.”
NOW, things have changed since then. I now have collabed with photographers, I’ve also used other models to continue the series and makeup and other things have DEFINITELY been involved but the premise is still the same. It’s a challenge and as I grow I challenge myself more. It has been a wonderful transition into art direction and it has also really encouraged me to take notice to my surroundings! I’m aaaalways location scouting now and am known as the girl who loves color haha.
3) Where do you draw inspiration from? And how has Chicago specifically influenced you?
I hate when people ask me this question only because I never have a good answer haha. I draw inspiration from life. I don’t really know what else to say. I love people, I love adventures, I love food, I love beauty, I love sadness, I love love, there’s sooooo many things that I grab bits from. I’m also a graphic designer by trade so i’m constantly inundated by visuals. Chicago, my beautiful city, influences me by it’s overall culture as vague as that is. I was born and raised here and although I left for a while and returned that only made my love for the city stronger. We get a lot of flack but there is soooo much beauty and mystery in this city. I’m a lucky girl because I have business at all ends of the city so I get to experience the northside, southside, westside, downtown, and the suburbs. I’m not saying I know everything but being exposed to so much inspires the different projects that I have my hands in. My family inspires me, school, my students…all of that is in Chicago. Chicago food mmmmm, the fashion, the people, my friends. OMG, my friends. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by the people that I’m surrounded by. We aren’t LA or NY but baby there’s so magic in this Windy City.
4) Who have some been some of your favorite photographers to work with in your journey as a model?
Literally ALL my favorite photographers that I’ve worked with on my journey are my friends. Here are a few and their Instagrams…
Dominique Shepherd @domiglitters
Adrian Walker @aoctaviusw
Law Aygei @lawrenceagyei
Kyle La Mere @kylelamere
Desmond Owusu @_desmoney
Andre Wagner @photodre
Nick Hopkins @nicholasfhopkins
Dana Scruggs @danascruggs
Bradley Murray @bradleyamurray
Chuck Olu-Alabi @chuckstr
Jasmine Durhal @jassieuo
There are many more but let’s keep it at that. Anyway, they are my faves because we’ve watched each other grown together and they all literally are my family. We trust each other and can collaborate on projects and make beautiful work. They haven’t just helped me in my journey to becoming a model rather being a better artist and person as a whole. Some ive barely worked with but are inspired by daily and that has encouraged me and helped to push my boundaries! I want to make it really clear that I barely claim myself to be a model. I don’t like boxes. They scare me haha!
5 ) What’s next for the #colorFULL series and what do you see it evolving into?
#colorFULL will evolve into me really amping up the art direction. I’m not boxing myself into what the series has to look like I just want to be inspired and evolve. It’s wonderful. I’ve learned that I’m way more interested in model management and creative/art direction. I DO see a #colorFULL party happening in the near future though, but you didn’t hear that from me
All photos featured are courtesy of Imani Moon. Be sure to follow her on Instagram to stay up to date on the ongoing series.