Meet: Zhang Fang
Professional Model from Henan Province, P.R.C.
An interview by Andreas Gross
Pictures provided for use in this piece by Zhang Fang
Date of Interview:
January 1, 2021
October 25, 2021
Hi, Fang. Thank you very much for allowing this interview to happen today. We are eager to hear more about you and what it has been like for you to pursue a career in professional modeling. Let’s go ahead and start off with some personal background, if that’s alright? You know, like where you grew up, your personal hobbies and interests, how you got involved in modeling in the first place – those kinds of things.
Certainly, Andreas. I’m happy to be here today. My name is Zhang Fang and I am a professional model from Henan Province, People’s Republic of China. I’ve always enjoyed singing, dancing, and yoga as hobbies – just for fun and fitness, not as things I’ve pursued professionally. I have always been very tall since I was a little girl, so I tried many sports growing up, such as basketball, volleyball, long jump, and track & field, but my teachers and coaches were not very encouraging of me regarding my athletic pursuits, so I quickly looked into trying other things.
I also studied folk dance when I was young, and at the age of 7 I took part in our local Spring Festival Gala. Dancing on stage was an absolutely unforgettable experience! I loved it and fell even more love with dancing! However, later on, due to the ever-increasing workload of my studies as I began to get older, the only choice I was left with was to give up dancing.
At the age of 14, I signed up for a modeling contest and achieved good results. That was my grand entrance into the modeling industry! Every year since that time I participated in one or two big competitions, such as the New Idea Model Contest, Miss Model of the World Contest, etc. Because of the excellent results I achieved in these contests, by the age of 17 I was signed on by Shanghai Yifei Model Agency as one of their exclusive models. The company worked hard to actively publicize and promote young models like I was at the time, getting us involved in photo shoot sessions and runway shows to gain experience and grow as professional career models. The company did a lot of brand fashion shows such as shows affiliated with Shanghai Fashion Week, International Auto Show, and other work with magazines and brand clothing photo shoots. These opportunities helped me to meet more people in the industry and also allowed more people in the industry to get to know me!
The boss of the company, Chen Yifei, was a very famous painter. Unfortunately, he passed away due to health complications and his departure from this world deeply affected the modeling company, which collapsed shortly after his death. After Shanghai Yifei Model Agency dissolved, I began working as a freelance model, offering my modeling services to major well-known modeling companies. As an individual model, free of company constraints, I networked in the industry through various agencies and started to participate in some TV modeling competitions at this point in time as well.
Wow! On stage performing in front of others since age 7! Now that’s an early start to a career. And what a sad story about the boss of Shanghai Yifei Model Agency.
What can you tell us about fans, Fang? I’m sure, as a model, having fans is part of the story one way or another.
The fans 15 years ago were quite enthusiastic. Some fans would cheer me on and ask me to autograph various photos they had of me. I also got very warm gifts from many of them. I was only 18 years old at the time when I really started to have a sizeable fan following, and I appreciated the support my fans gave me very much. It helped me to love my career.
Awesome stuff, Fang! And what about the challenges that come with modeling? You can watch a fashion show and see pretty models wearing all sorts of fun and stylish clothes and easily think: “Eh, what could be hard about such a fun job like that?” But I’m sure there has to be much more to it than that, right?!
Very right you are, Andreas! There is much more to a modeling career than the tiny glimpse an audience member at a fashion show sees. The most important thing in modeling is controlling your diet and keeping your body active and moving. I like the feeling of confidently walking down a catwalk in style. Each and every modeling job comes with its own unique challenges. Showing the designer's work in a bold and glamourous light and making it look as good as it possibly can is really not always as easy as it may seem!
Models are constantly trying to out-do each other and can run into embarrassing situations on the runway if they bump into something or trip. I am no exception, but I think of that as a normal part of the job. True confidence comes in being able to stand up again as if nothing happened and continue on your mission to complete the task. In such situations I would tell myself that standing on the runway was the best place for me and I knew I had to keep going.
There is also a great feeling of awe and inspiration one gets from the great designers themselves. A lot of works and design concepts have left me feeling both very shocked as well as deeply inspired.
Wonderful, Fang; wonderful! Thank you so much for opening up to us today about your life and career. It has been a real pleasure hearing all about the ins and outs of what it takes to survive in the fast-paced world of professional modeling. I hope your story can serve as an inspiration to others who might be considering going into modeling themselves. Before we wrap this interview up entirely, do you have any final closing remarks you’d care to share?
At this point in my life, I have more than 10 years of experience (and counting) as a career professional model, not counting my childhood modeling experience. I now have my own family which includes a 4th Grade daughter. I enjoy spending time with my family and I only occasionally do some modeling work from time to time these days, but I do still keep it up – after all, I love modeling! Through my career in modeling, I have grown as a person and have become more independent and powerful. Modeling has taught me that, through perseverance, persistence, and hard work it is possible to achieve dreams!
Great, Fang! Thanks again for sharing with us today! As we close things up here, how can people interested in learning more about you and you career as a professional model get in touch with you?
It’s been a real pleasure, Andreas. Thanks for reaching out to me. I can be contacted at email@example.com.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Zhang Fang, professional model from Henan Province, China. Thanks again for sharing your story with us today! May your words serve as an inspiration to aspiring future models everywhere who may read this interview!
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