I love getting mail, emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, Skype requests, Twitter shoutouts…who doesnt right? Well being separated from everyone means that I look forward to these things that much more. The other night I received a Facebook message from my friend Carrie and I realized that as of yet I havent posted anything on my experience modeling. Since that is what is why I’m here, I thought it was time to answer a few questions I’ve received on life as a model in China.
Do you go on “go sees” and castings most days?
Yes, every night I get a text telling me what time my first casting is. Usually it is at 10:30, and then we will have another 4 or so throughout the day with an hour or two for lunch. We are driven around in a mini van and spend the majority of our time just sitting there, navigating the chaos that is traffic in China. There are usually between 1 and 5 models in the van at any given time, and everyone has a different form of entertainment. Listening to music, watching movies, sleeping, reading etc. Personally, I keep my Ipad loaded with the current edition of The Economist, GQ, and that keeps me busy. I also find myself writing in my notebook more than I ever thought I would.
Are your castings for jobs in China or are these campaigns for the world and Asia?
75% of the work that men do here in Guangzhou is for really ugly Polo Shirts such as this:
Needless to say, here in Guangzhou (if China is considered the world’s factory, then GZ would be the factory floor) where everyone is a designer and manufacturer, the market for these clothes is decidedly Chinese rather than international.
Where are you living?
When I first arrived in Guangzhou, Ellen and I had our own place. It was a small studio, that at first seemed tiny, but quickly grew on us. As of last week we have moved into the Models accommodation. (Think Zoolander meets Animal House. For the moment it’s practically empty, so the walk-offs aren’t as frequent.)
Is Guangzhou expensive?
If you are someone who needs their Western comforts, then it isn’t necessarily cheap, but it is cheaper than a city like Vancouver that’s for sure. Beer in corner stores is as cheap or cheaper than a can of coke and western food ranges from $10 – $25 depending on what you eat. Chinese food on the other hand can be extremely cheap. I go to the same place every night during the work week. I can get a heaping portion of vegetables and good portion of protein for under $3 (We have tried cooking, but just can’t beat a $3 dinner!). It just depends on what sacrifices you are willing to make…I still enjoy my cup of coffee every day and that costs me the same as my dinner!
How are YOU doing?
Hmmm, that’s a tricky question. In all honesty, Guangzhou has proven to be a tough market for me to crack. As a new model with limited portfolio and no established network or relationships I have struggled. Nobody really understands why that is, because arbitrarily speaking I should be doing better than I am, even if that’s not as well as I would like. I’ve been here since the middle of November and am planning my next contract right now. I’m not looking beyond that however, the future is wide open!
Have any questions of your own? Feel free to add a comment or touch base and Id be happy to answer them.