26 January 2010

Mo Wandan -- Supermodel Superstar From China


Chinese supermodel Mo Wandan's 2010 is already shaping up to be a busy year. Recently walking for Dorian He in the Hong Kong Fashion Extravaganza at Hong Kong Fashion Week, the 23-year-old model is starring in a Japanese anime film, has her sights set on New York Fashion Week and hopes to keep riding the wave of success for as long as possible. Mo Wandan shot to international fame with debuts in Armani Prive and Christian Dior couture shows in 2007. She walked in all four international fashion weeks in 2008 including Emporio Armani, Chado Ralph Rucci and Valentino.

In 2009, Mo starred in Lorenzo Riva's Milan show and was invited to answer the curtain call with the designer.

"It was a great privilege for any model and I was the only model to achieve that in Milan Fashion Week," Mo told the Global Times.

The athlete-turned-supermodel began her road to stardom in 2004, winning the 10th China Model Star Contest. She then moved from Guangdong to Beijng to pursue her modeling career.

"Unlike most models who are professionally trained, I had to work even harder as I didn't know how to walk the runway or how to shoot for magazine covers. I couldn't speak standard Putonghua, so people had diœ - culty understanding my Cantonese accent," she added.

"I was really lucky to walk for John Galliano in the Dior couture show in 2007," Mo recalled, her eyes sparkling. "I was overwhelmed with excitement so I said 'I love you' to my beloved designer. I wanted to say 'I like you' instead, but my English was really poor at that time!"

"I believe I was picked for my bold personality and my interpretation of his works," she added.

"I am addicted to the diversity and vibrancy of the fashion industry. Being a model involves presenting all kind of merchandise, from the latest clothes and jewelry to cars. I'm absolutely in love."

With prominent roles on the domestic and international runway in 2009, Mo also acted as a female warrior in an anime fi lm by Japanese master Oshii Mamoru (Ghost in the Shell). Still in post-production, the fi lm is scheduled to hit cinema screens in April.

"I was picked among 200 candidates by the director," Mo said. "He kept praising me as I looked exactly as he expected, a brave, tough warrior in his fi lm."

"It was a totally fresh experience for me as well as a great physical challenge, as I had to remain absolutely still for quite a long time…I was stunned by the beautiful images I saw after shooting."

According to Mo, the international demand for Chinese models is continuing to increase. "I can name three of us, me included, with Du Juan and Lu Yan who appeared on the European scene a few years ago. But now, there are about 20 to 30 Chinese models working internationally," she said.

"Luxury brands are looking for breakthroughs in the Chinese market which is basically immune to the economic crisis," Mo commented. "I see it as a great opportunity for local models to go international. In order to appeal to the large amount of local customers, they will surely use more Chinese models."

Mo added that China's fashion industry is still in its fl edgling stage. "There is a huge difference between international practices and reality here in China. While foreign models all work under agents, most Chinese models, expect for a few at the top level, tend to work as individuals. This will cause chaos for the industry."

"I've garnered every award possible in my profession in China and people have told me that I can retire without regrets," Mo said, "but I feel like I am just getting started after a few years orientation with the industry. I hope I can be China's answer to Cindy Crawford."

"Now I can interpret the intelligence and graceful charm of a mature female," she added. "That's not what an 18-year-old can achieve on the stage."

Scheduled to hit the New York Fashion Week runways in June, Mo said that she wants to keep modeling for as long as possible. "If I stop working as a model one day, I would like to do something related to fashion, for example, to be an agent for international cosmetic labels.

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