FROM HANGING WITH K-POP STARS TO APARTMENT BREAK-INS, MODELING IN CHINA HAD A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING
By Lauren Crosier | Reporter
Moving out on your own at 17 is quite something on its own; moving out at 17 to a different country on the other side of the world is a whole other ordeal. I’ve been modeling in the U.S. for four years, but last spring I was presented the opportunity to travel to Beijing, China to model for three months. With this invitation, I felt I had accomplished something major — I did not really think about how many things I would encounter during my three-month excursion.
For starters, the language barrier is much worse than I had imagined. Picture yourself trying to hold a conversation with your pet; they can not really respond nor do they know exactly what you are saying. To be clear, in this situation I was the pet, and that is how it felt trying to ask for help in China. The majority of the people did not speak English, or even understand it. And this was just the start of it.
If you go to China and you are from a country that has a lot of health and food regulations, you are basically guaranteed to get sick soon after arrival due to all the foreign bacteria. For example, in China you absolutely must boil your water before you drink it. The first week I was there, I got very sick for a few days, and it turns out while I was passed out in my bunk bed, our first floor apartment was broken into midday. My British roommate, Sophie, had her laptop and camera stolen; they did not enter the bedroom where I was staying in, but this was still a scary experience. The culprit tried to break in a second time, this time while my Brazilian and Canadian roommates and I were all asleep at night. The agency I was with responded to these situations quite slowly, leaving us with broken windows that you could literally push open for almost two weeks.
My first acting job was for a commercial in a city called Qingdao, a city famous for its beaches and seafood. Call time for makeup and hair was 3 a.m., even though we went to bed at midnight. The commercial we filmed was to advertise tourism, and the first day of actually filming was with about 50 models all together in wedding dresses and tuxedos on a dock for about five hours. Turns out, the director really liked me, so he kept me and about four other models and made us get on a boat to do more filming. Apparently, he did not like me enough to give me any sunscreen though. The resulting sunburn was excruciatingly painful, to the point where I could not move without crying; however, my employers for this job did not seem to care. Three days later, they had a few other girls and me on the beach at about 5 in the morning wearing bikinis and running up and down the shore having fun. After I told the other models that I could not feel my back anymore, they took a look and saw that my back was completely blistered up; I wound up in the hospital. About a month later I finally healed from the burn itself; I still have the burn lines, though it just does not hurt anymore.
(Story continues below slideshow)
I realize I’ve focused mostly on the negatives of this trip so far, but that really is not what my trip to China was all about. I had a really amazing three months there, and I am extremely fortunate to have even gone in the first place.
The positives are really tremendous, and quite honestly for all the scary and painful experiences, there was an equal amount of wonderful experiences. For starters, living part of the time in Beijing was absolutely phenomenal.
One of the coolest jobs I had while staying in Beijing was for a company called Boy London; they are very popular throughout all of Asia, but mostly in Korea. Because of that, the company hired multiple K-pop (Korean pop) stars and idols. I got to meet these idols and take pictures with them. I am still a fan of Snuper (one of the idol bands) that I met there. The show overall had really cool clothing and amazing energy throughout it all.
I became really close with one of my roommates, Sarah, from Canada. We were so close and spent so much time together that she dubbed me an honorary member of the 6ix, which is Toronto for all you kids who are not caught up on your Canadian memes. I also found out that when you scratch the maple leaf on the Canadian currency it smells like maple syrup. Sarah then told me that Canadian money is water proof and fire proof, which we put to the test. Another roommate I was close with was a Brazilian girl named Ana. She was a riot at all times. I taught her how to dab; she taught me a few words in Portuguese. Then the last roommate I was really close with was a Romanian girl named Marilu. We went to a pet shop that I thought was a cat café and spent probably three hours in there playing with the different cats.
In my 101 apartment, we spent many times celebrating. Like when I won a Chinese beauty pageant (despite it being kind of rigged). Or when my Canadian friends, Sarah and Candice, and I all dressed up in red and white with maple leaves painted on our faces in red lipstick to celebrate Canada Day. Or when we celebrated the Fourth of July with only one American, me; we made burgers had corn on the cob and ate watermelon.
My time spent in 101 was not wasted, nor do I regret going for as long as I did. Of course I missed the first day of school, and homecoming week. And of course I missed my friends and my family. However, I would never say it was all for nothing. I accomplished many things while staying in Beijing. I made many friends from different walks of life from around the world, I officially became a working international model, and I walked away with a sense of accomplishment.
China, for me, was full of ups and downs. There were amazing times and less than glamorous times. I do think I would go back again. But at the same time, I do not know if I really want to return without the same roommates I had. It is not that I am opposed to change; however, I do not want to leave the memories I had in the past and simply move on as if those times meant nothing to me. To put it simply, China is not a place for those who are not ready or able to live on their own; perhaps without the people that fate had put me with I do not know if I could have stayed for the entirety of the three months. For all the memories, and to all the things I accomplished in my time there, I say Xiexie to you China. Duo xie.