Finally Asian models are beginning to show the world how marketable and mainstream they can be, and Ms. Liu Wen is leading the way. Notice how I said “marketable and mainstream” and not just “beautiful” or “gorgeous”…if you ask anyone with half a brain, and moderate vision…..Asian beauty is a given (unless you are a narrowminded and racist individual, in which your opinion is not cared for nor wanted here ). What unfortunately has not been a given is the international fashion companies casting of Asian Models in Ad campaigns, as brand spokespersons, on the cover’s of American, French or British magazines (namely Vogue as it represents the pinnacle of the fashion world), or even regular use as models in high fashion editorial shoots. Traditionally this has been the struggle for all models that are non white/ European. It has taken bona fide stars within each race to break the mold, and pave the way for crops of models of the same race to even have a chance at careers with less than a semblance to “their stars.” For African Americans it was people like Beverly Johnson appearing on the cover of American Vogue in the 70′s, and Naomi Campbell who continues to land lucrative ad campaigns and contracts that revolutionize the kinds of fees models are allowed to command. For the many shades of Africans, Latina (other than Brazilian), Middle Easterners, Indians, Asians, and all the other women of color in this world, it will take stars like that to pave the way for their chance. Liu Wen represents that chance for Asian models (no pressure!).
*All pictures courtesy of google images.
Discovered in 2005 at the New Silk Road World Model contest in China- though she was not the winner-she soon appeared on the cover of China’s FHM magazine. Her appearance on the cover of FHM turned her into a national success, launched her modeling career and made her the top choice for other major Chinese magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar (wikipedia.org). From there the jobs kept rolling in, all leading up to a carreer changing editorial shoot for the September 2007 Cosmopolitan issue where she wore Karl Lagerfeld and Victor + Rolf designs. The shoot not only wowed the international community but led the designers to cast her in their Paris shows the following season (wikipedia.org). Walking in the Paris fashion shows in 2008 led to a major contract for Liu with the Marilyn Agency, the biggest modeling agency in Paris. Her contract with Marilyn, innate talent, high cheekbones, perfectly proportioned model figure and smile; had the “glass ceiling” barring women of color tumbling down and the fashion industry clamoring to get a piece of her.
She is the first woman of East Asian descent to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, making her first appearance in the 2009 show and then again in the 2010 show. She was also asked to become a “face of Estee Lauder,” the first Asian face ever for the company. And in the Spring 2010 Ready to Wear Season she walked in 70 shows! 2nd highest of all models for the season. If that doesnt scream top model I dont know what does!
Liu Wen is a star, and the work she has done in the industry has allowed for a new crop of Asian models to slowly but steadily take a piece of the fashion industry for themselves. Vogue did an editorial shoot and article called “Asia Major” in the November 2010 issue on these up and coming Asian models. Featuring Liu Wen, Du Juan, Tao Okamoto, Lee Hyun Yi, Hyoni Kang, Bonnie Chen, So Young Kang and Lily Zhi all beautifully dressed in couture gowns and shot by the incredible photographer Steven Meisel. Though the shoot was ground breaking in its own right, it creates the potential for Vogue to announce the descendence of these statuesque beauties all in one single shoot, say they’ve featured them and never revisit the unique elements they bring to fashion again. To really “introduce” the Asian Models to the fashion industry and “the world” they should steadily and consistently give them work in their editorial shoots (as much as they give the white/ european models), pair them up with “up and coming” and iconic fashion designers they are featuring and we as readers should get to know each of them as individuals as they become top models…not en masse. So Vogue prove me wrong and let’s see Asian models littered throughout your pages, on a regular basis, from here on out!