updated 24 Dec 2010, 06:29
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Fri, Dec 24, 2010
China Daily/ANN
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Former athlete glad she leapt into modeling
by Liu Lu

Wherever 23-year-old Mo Wandan goes, she becomes the center of attention - not only because of her awesome looks but also because of her uniquely cool temperament. And with the popular young model popping up on the covers of fashion magazines throughout the world, her status is assured as one of the hottest Chinese mainland models and a rising global superstar. Her supermodel status and mature demeanor project an inaccessible and unapproachable image but those who get to know her find she is outgoing with a keen sense of humor. Living in the spotlight means every move could become tomorrow's headlines but, instead of making her feel uncomfortable, she says her life in the fishbowl is an honor and something she enjoys very much.

Q & A

Former athlete glad she leapt into modeling

Q: What drove you to become a model?

A: Before entering the modeling industry, I was a high-jumper but injuries made it impossible to do strength training. I had to give up my dream of being an athlete. Because I am tall, many friends suggested I try to become a model.

I only had a vague concept of modeling at that time and I thought models were just a group of beautiful girls who walk around in fabulous clothes. My friends helped me take part into the 10th China Model Star Contest.

I unexpectedly made it to the finals and ended up being crowned champion. Since then, I have become a professional model and started my modeling career in cooperation with my current company.

In retrospect, I was just curious about the modeling world and I never expected it would bring me such an exciting career and robust future.

Q: What was your first catwalk show like? Were you nervous?

A: My first show was during China International Fashion Week in Beijing in November 2004 when I had just won the China Model Star Contest.

I was surprised to see so many models being interviewed and so many performances and rehearsals taking place.

I began to realize the job was not as easy as I had imagined. But I never feel nervous when I walk on the stage, even in face of a row of professional judges.

Q: What do you consider to be the most successful and important point in your career? Can you recall any specific memories?

A: The first turning point was in 2006, after I won the "Leica" model award and the Chinese supermodel title, making me the youngest supermodel in China in only two years. This was the best recognition of my professional career.

Then I was invited to attend the fashion weeks in Paris and Milan. That was the first time I had stepped onto an international stage. My performance was praised by renowned figures in the world modeling industry, giving me a place on the international stage.

Q: Have you ever experienced any distress in your work?

A: For many ordinary people, they only see the models dressed gorgeously on stage but they do not know about the hardships behind the scenes.

For models like me, staying up late, wearing 30-cm high-heel shoes and makeup for long hours are just regular things. Even when I am ill, I cannot stop working because I have to keep myself in the best state to ensure the efficiency of the team.

Q: You have been labeled by Western media as the most beautiful model in Asia. Do you think physical beauty is an important thing?

A: People have various attitudes toward beauty. I think physical beauty is only a minor part in defining beauty. Now, there are more and more beautiful girls entering the modeling industry. Some of them are in blind pursuit of physical beauty. I think in addition to appearance, a successful model should develop her own appealing charm to make herself conspicuous and be noticed and recognized by others.

Q: Many models resort to extreme methods to stay in shape, such as brutal training for weight loss. Do you have similar experiences?

A: Such things exist in the modeling world. Some models try to maintain their slender figure by controlling their diet or by doing exercises excessively and frantically. I don't have this kind of experience, thanks to the genes I inherited from my parents and my previous experience as an athlete.

I don't have to strictly control my diet or do high-intensity exercise. I am used to a normal diet but try to eat less unhealthy food. Fitness for me is just a way to be healthy and keep a neat figure.

Q: What have you been doing recently?

A: I have been flying around the country for various activities, including recording fashion programs for TV stations and participating in some World Cup-themed events.

Q: You have lived in Beijing for years. What are your feelings about the city?

A: Beijing has seen rapid development in recent years, especially the improvement of its air quality. It has grown into a metropolis, but I still cannot quite get used to the climate here.

Q: Some people consider Beijing as not being as outlandish or fashionable as Shanghai and perhaps a little rustic. What do you think?

A: I think different cities have different feelings. Shanghai's culture, especially its traditional Chinese culture, is not as rich as Beijing's. As the capital, I think Beijing has a unique Oriental charm.

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