Chinese models begin to dominate nation's catwalks

By Zhou Wenting | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-22 08:09

Financial rewards

Since arriving in Shanghai in 2015, Ukrainian Juliana Romanova has spent most of her time in the city, returning home just once a year.

"I have worked in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, but nowhere brought me money as quickly as the Chinese mainland," the 25-year-old said.

"Even in Tokyo the market was unstable. Sometimes I stayed there for two months but failed to land even a single shoot or show," she said.

Romanova was spotted by a talent scout in the street when she was a university student in Ukraine. She chose to major in teaching English because there were no tuition fees for the course, which reduced the financial burden on her parents, who are not well off.

However, several years ago, she abandoned her plan to become a schoolteacher. "What I earn every month as a model in Shanghai is equivalent to almost a year's income in my home country," she said.

According to Cui Lina, a veteran model agent at the China Bentley Culture Development Co in Beijing, more than 50 percent of foreign models in China come from Russia and Ukraine.

"The pay is attractive to them, and their physical advantage is absolute-girls from those countries are blonde and have long legs," she said.

However, for many models, working in Shanghai is not just about money, but also visibility.

"If a model works on a campaign for a famous brand in France, they will be seen by about 60 million people. However, in China, the number rises to more than 1 billion. The difference is obvious," Romanova said.

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