Be happy with what you're doing and be free for what you want to do.
– It is very relevant right now to have an active social position. Some people fight for animal rights and choose not to eat meat, some fight against racial discrimination, some advocate for women's rights. What do you think about this?
– I don't have a position like this but I think it is good that people are getting represented. It is a great chance to also represent their beliefs, their minds and what they are thinking. Personally, I don't believe in anything particularly but I am following all those things, trying to keep my mind and eyes open.
– There is more and more diversity in the fashion world right now. Do you think we have reached the peak of the progress or is there still room for improvement?
– I think fashion has not reached the peak yet, first of all, because fashion is cyclical. Older style and new merge together. Diversity is innovative. So, there's always room for other things and therefore, for improvement.
– Virtual fashion shows are now becoming more and more popular. Have you watched any and what do you think about such digitalization of the fashion industry?
– I watched some of the shows and walked a virtual one for Moschino. I think digitalisation makes things reach people very fast, which is easy and convenient. We don't even have to go out, but we can access so many if not all of the things from our phones or computers. But it is also a very new thing that we are just trying out and seeing how it works right now. As for me, I don't particularly like it. I like being present at the show more than this whole virtual environment.
– What do you think, won't modeling disappear in 10–20 years? Is it wise for young girls still to have ambitions for this industry?
– I don't think so, because fashion is and has always been activated with emotions. Just like robots can’t replace human beings, there is this fire and emotion that virtual models cannot have. Girls who shoot campaigns and editorials for magazines still show emotions. Same goes for fashion models that walk the shows. Brands and designers want us to act it. It depends more on the mood and the message of the designer, but the model still has to convey an emotion that the designer had in mind. For the Moschino show that I have walked, they were telling models to act it out with their body language and so on.
– You were scouted while walking around a mall in Guangzhou. There is an opinion that for Western models this city is also one of the best places to start a career. How developed is modeling and the fashion industry in general there and how often have you had to compete with Western girls in your native China?
– Yes, there are a lot of western girls in Guangzhou, who are doing ecommercial shootings. But the client always knows what he wants, whether it is a chinese girl or a western girl. So there is usually no conflict between the two. Most of the clients there are chinese and they just specify the numbers for their shows – for example, 20 western girls and 10 chinese girls, so they are not mutually exclusive. They are different, they are separate.
– You work in China, America and Europe. What is the difference between the modelling businesses of these cultures?
– Personally, if I work in China it is easier for me to travel. I literally only have to take a train to a different city but when I am in America or Europe, I fly so much and this leaves no time, plus uses up all of your energy. Also the language barrier. But I think cultures gradually learn things from each other, so there is no huge difference. As for me, it is just the transportation and the language, that's it. In terms of the fashion business, western countries are the leaders of the fashion industry. China is always trying to follow the international industry, learning new things from it, bringing in new trends. Although I’ve seen it being mutual so far, as I said we both learn things from each other. There's a major cultural exchange going on.
– Have there been any strange moments for you in your work abroad? Have you ever been “lost in translation”, so to speak?
– So far, I haven't had any. I am very lucky that I get to work with good, creative people, good clients. Some of the brands choose really beautiful places for their couture shows and take the model there. So, that is a good experience as I visited a lot of places and learnt a lot of different cultures.
– Due to the current situation, China has become one of the most discussed countries in recent years in terms of the topic of the pandemic. How are things going there now?
– It is really safe in China right now. They have travel restrictions for foreigners, very strict about prevention and control. Everyone who enters the country has to strictly quarantine for 2 weeks. They are almost back to normal life, but you still have to wear a mask just like everywhere else. Chinese people can travel to Europe mostly now, but with an approval letter.
– You have such a small daughter, how can you put up with separation every time, when you need to work away from home? Especially now that we all began to appreciate our loved ones more.
– It is hard for both of us. Everytime I am going somewhere for work, I tell her where I am going and when I'll be back. She is a good girl, and she understands everything because now she is 2,5 years old, so she knows a lot of things. Once, I took her to Paris fashion week together with my husband. It was such a nice trip, we visited the nicest cities in Europe: Paris, Florence, Venice, Rome. My daughter didn't go to the fashion showroom, but she followed me around the city. This year she hasn't seen me walk for Moschino either. The show was virtual, on social media, so I did not show it to her, I was afraid she wouldn’t recognise me.
– What advice would you give beginner models? Name top-three rules for a successful modeling career.
– Be on time, when you go to work. Be happy with what you're doing and be free for what you want to do, don't let others decide for you. Most importantly, be yourself, be free. Sometimes it is not easy, but you have to balance it by making the right choice.
– Is it easy for a model to be free and do whatever she wants to?
– I have never had conflicts related to ethical issues. So for me it has not been that difficult.
– What about your work ethic, has it changed since you started working?
– I never want to be that person who is late, so I always prepare time for the road and etc. I think, as a model we should have a principle of what is right and what is wrong. If there are conflicts between you and the photographer, I would try to resolve the problem and find a solution which is good for both of us. If there isn't such a solution, I will go by my principle.
– And what is your principle?
– My principle is to follow the Ethics.