It’s been a fixture on international TV screens for some 10 years now: “-Fill in whatever country you can think of”- Next Top Model, an original idea sprouting from American supermodel-turned-mogul fashion Wunderkind Tyra Banks’ brain.
China, together with the rest of Asia, couldn’t be left behind, and started its very own fashion-fun-and-long-limbs-filled edition back in 2008. The latest edition of China’s Next Topmodel (Cycle 5, aired by Chongqing TV) had its season finale on August 8. Time to reflect on how China’s runway darlings are faring in the world of fleeting fashion modeling nowadays – who is the actual next topmodel of China?
“The Age of the China Fashion Model had dawned.”
Answer: there’s not just one. China has a slowly but steadily increasing picture-perfect pack of topmodels taking on the international fashion weeks. With or without the help of the ‘Next Topmodel’ television series, China has proved to be fruitful ground for supermodels (超模, which literally translates as “extreme model” in Chinese). Tall-tree-esque models such as Du Juan (haute couture muse) and Liu Wen (Victoria’s Secret, anyone?) have earned their stripes on the highest measurement levels of the global modeling industry.
From Shanghai to Milan, and from H&M to Hermes, cities and brands bow to the newcomers flying in from the East. Just take another look at Vogue China’s 100th edition released in 2013: it devoted an entire chapter to the appearance of Chinese models in the on-trend Fashion Bible.
In the eyes of their fans, the popularity of China’s models is similar to that of old Hollywood studio era movie stars – the Age of the China Fashion Model had dawned.
Fast forward to 2015: Liu Wen, with an enormous Chinese fanbase (she has over 12 million Weibo followers) is the first Chinese (Asian, in fact!) model to bag the world’s most coveted lingerie gig and sign a beauty deal with Estee Lauder. Model Luo Zilin became (in)famous after courting controversy by getting into a lover’s-triangle tiff with Naomi Campbell after appearing on modeling TV show “The Face”. Liu Li Jun has become a Harper’s Bazaar favorite, and Fei Fei Sun is the first Asian model to feature on the Vogue Italia cover.
It is obvious that the Chinese have managed to put a very visible red stamp on the world of photo-shoots and seasonal collections. Emma Pei, Shu Pei (Qin), Ming Xi, and the list goes on for quite a bit, have been hailed for adding a touch of “exotics” (I don’t particularly like this word, but it gets the job done) to a hemisphere of Eastern European/Caucasian women.
The Chinese (next) topmodels are on a mission to rake in the covers and campaigns. Whereas fashion may be fleeting, the admiration for the China Fashion Model sure is not.
Oh, and before I forget, the season finale of the China’s Next Topmodel television series was won by 1.77m-tall Li Si Jia. Go get ‘em girl.
– by Elsbeth van Paridon
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“Living a Nightmare” – Chinese Beauty Guru Yuya Mika Shares Shocking Story of Domestic Abuse
Famous makeup artist Yuya Mika shared her story in a video that has since gone viral on Weibo.
Fashion and makeup blogger He Yuyong, better knowns as Yuya (宇芽) or Yuya Mika (@宇芽YUYAMIKA), has gone viral on China’s social media platform Weibo for sharing her personal story of suffering domestic abuse at the hands of her ex-partner.
On Monday afternoon, November 25 – which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – Yuya, a KOL (Key Opinion Leaders/online influencer) who has over 800,000 followers on her Weibo account, wrote: “I’m a victim of domestic violence. The past six months, I feel like I’ve been living a nightmare. I need to speak up about domestic violence here!”
With her post, Yuya shared a 12-minute documentary-style video in which she tells how she has been abused by her partner of one year, with whom she has now separated.
The short doc does not just tell Yuya’s story, it also features the experiences of her former partner’s ex-wives, who allegedly also suffered domestic violence at his hands.
Besides the shocking accounts of the women, the video contains also footage of Yuya’s ex-boyfriend trying to violently drag her out of an elevator – a moment that was caught on security cameras in August of this year.
Yuya identifies her former boyfriend and abuser as the 44-year-old artist and Weibo blogger ‘Toto River’ (@沱沱的风魔教), who was married three times before starting a relationship with the famous beauty blogger.
The two met each other through social media, and Yuya initially fell for his talent and kindness. But, as she says, his perfect social media image soon turned out to be nothing but a fake facade, and the nightmare began.
The beauty blogger explains that the domestic violence went hand in hand with mental abuse, with Yuya being brainwashed into believing she was lucky to be with a man such as her boyfriend.
As the abuse became a regular occurrence, Yuya tearfully explains how she sometimes could not work for a week because her face was too bruised for shooting videos.
Yuya also writes on Weibo that she shares her story so that the experiences she and her ex-boyfriend’s former wives suffered will not happen to other women, and to warn others from ending up in a similar situation.
Meanwhile, the Weibo account of Yuya’s former boyfriend has been closed for comments.
Yuya Mika is not just popular on Weibo and video ap Tiktok. The beauty guru – famous for doing imitation makeup of celebrities and famous icons such as Mona Lisa – also has over 750k fans on her Instagram account and thousands of subscribers on her YouTube Channel, where she posts makeup tutorials.
Yuya is part of the company of Papi Jiang (aka Papi Chan), a Chinese vlogger and comedian who became an internet celebrity in 2016. On Tuesday, the Papi Jiang company also responded to Yuya’s video, saying they fully support the makeup artist in coming forward with her story.
At time of writing, Yuya’s story has been shared over 425,000 times, with a staggering thread of more than 280,000 comments on Weibo.
Many commenters respond in shock that the tearful woman in the video is actually Yuya, as the makeup artist is usually always smiling and shining in front of the camera. Other Weibo users express their hopes that Yuya’s ex-boyfriend will be punished for what he did.
With over 160 million views, the hashtag “Yuya Suffers Domestic Abuse” (#宇芽被家暴#) is now in the top five of most-discussed topics on Weibo.
Over the past few years, the issue of domestic violence has received more attention on Chinese social media, especially since China’s first national law against domestic violence came into effect on March 1, 2016. More women have come forward on Chinese social media to share their personal experiences with domestic abuse.
According to Chinese media reports of Tuesday afternoon, local authorities are currently investigating Yuya’s story.
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Turning Drinks into Fashion – Chinese Designer Yang Yang Personifies Popular Beverages
Personified beverage fashion – trending because it’s cool.
Every now and then there are posts on Weibo that just seem to keep on making their rounds. The ‘beverage fashion’ drawings collection by Yang Yang (杨杨) is one of these posts, first popping up on Chinese social media in June of this year.
Yang Yang is a 28-year-old designer from Anhui, who started drawing when she was 13 years old. She has been active in the fashion business for eight years now and has become popular on Kuaishou, China’s popular short video and live-streaming app.
If Coca Cola were a fashionista, what would she look like? In the eyes of Yang Yang, this would be her:
Wahaha (哇哈哈) purified water, produced by the largest beverage company in China, is personified here:
Energy drink brand Red Bull China, a Sino-foreign joint venture company, uses different colors than cans in the US or Europe.
One particularly striking illustration by Yang Yang is that of Nongfu icea tea drink Cha π (茶兀).
Nongfu Spring, one of the most common brands of bottled water in China, suddenly seems very trendy now.
This is the fashion version of Sea Crystal Lemon, known for its bright blue and yellow.
Following the various Weibo posts that are making their rounds with the illustrations by Yang Yang, more drawings seem to have been added later via other channels, including that of Pepsi, Wong Lo Kat, and Snow Beer.
Although Yang Yang’s designs have gone viral this year, it is not known if they will have a chance to be turned into wearable fashion. As for Yang, she says she was just “playing around” to keep a creative mind.
By Manya Koetse
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