imagine as

imagine (someone or something) as (someone or something)

To envision or picture someone or something as somehow different than they currently are. I've only known Carly as a yoga teacher, so I really can't imagine her as an investment banker, but apparently, that's what she used to do. Come on, no negativity—the show hasn't even aired yet, so try to imagine it as a success.
See also: imagine
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

imagine someone or something as someone or something

to think of someone or something as another person or another type of thing. I really can't imagine you as a sailor. When I imagine John as our new president, I really worry about our future as a company.
See also: imagine
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
See also:
References in classic literature ?
When I don't like the name of a place or a person I always imagine a new one and always think of them so.
And I could not imagine a human being so blinded by cupidity as to sell poison to such an atrocious creature.
Imagine a woman duly decorated, according to the new Code; with the front half (i.e.
Now imagine a Priest, whose mouth is at M, and whose front semicircle(AMB) is consequently coloured red, while his hinder semicircle is green; so that the diameter AB divides the green from the red.
The celebration included a John Lennon song entitled Imagine as a way of honouring those brave soldiers who fought and died for the freedom we now enjoy.