Chinese models dazzle in NYC

Updated: 2013-07-23 11:06

By Kelly Chung Dawson in New York (China Daily)

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 Chinese models dazzle in NYC

Wang Weilin tries on a dress, styled by Curtis Davis (left), who is producing the Overview Fashion Show at this week's International Modeling and Talent Association Convention in New York. Wang and three other Chinese models are participating in the convention. Kelly Chung Dawson / China Daily

A delegation of models, designers and sponsors traveled from China to New York to attend this week's International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA) convention, in which approximately 900 models from all over the world are currently participating in various competitions for the purposes of potentially scoring US talent representation.

The four Chinese models are Hou Jiayi, Zhang Xiao-chun, Wang Weilin and Tan Qiaoyin. One other model, Wei Mengmeng, also accompanied the group to New York, but has already been signed by Fusion Model Management and will not participate in the talent convention.

"We're here to learn something more about modeling, and of course if we are lucky enough to find an American agency that would be great," said Tan Qiaoyin, 22, from Hainan.

"Team China," as the group is informally calling itself, also includes four fashion designers whose clothing will be featured in various presentations at the convention. The models will walk or participate in various events spotlighting high fashion, runway, swimwear and jeans.

IMTA has hosted talent conventions since 1987, and the week-long event also gives stage time to talent hopefuls in the areas of acting, singing and dancing.

For most participants, the goal of the convention is exposure to the hundreds of agents, fashion agencies, casting directors and music producers who attend each year. IMTA also hosts an annual convention in Los Angeles each January.

Past success stories have included the models Jessica White, Sara Dawson and Tyson Ballou. The actors Ashton Kutcher, Eva Longoria, Katie Holmes and Jessica Biel also got their start at IMTA conventions.

Curtis Davis, who produces the convention's Overview Fashion Show, said that US designers and casting agents have become increasingly interested in Chinese models.

"As an American show producer, I love working with Chinese models because they take direction really well, they fit the clothes well, and they're stunning," Davis said. "It's also interesting to see how polished they are when they get to the US."

This is the third year in which Chinese models have traveled to New York to attend the IMTA convention.

Davis notes that American casting agents and producers often have a different vision of Chinese beauty than local designers and agents in China. Chinese models with big eyes and Western features do well in the Chinese market, whereas American agents are drawn to a more classically Chinese look, he said.

"There's a lot of potential there," he said. "The talent I've seen in China has had so much showmanship, energy and grace. The models really stand out."

Wang Weilin, 25, from Shanghai, said that the convention has been really fun so far. "It doesn't feel like a competition, but more like a party," she said. "It's very relaxed."

For both Tan and Wang, the trip to New York is their first time in the US.

"New York is so free and modern," Tan said. "We're so excited to be here, with all these beautiful girls."

Tan is represented by Long Teng Models, and Wang is represented by Galaxy Fashion Promotion. Models can sign with overseas agencies, which will coordinate with their agencies at home to bring the models to New York for Fashion Week and other jobs if all goes well.

(China Daily USA 07/23/2013 page2)