Look no further than their social followings.
China isn’t just taking over the entertainment industry — it also has a major presence on the runways and major red carpet events (“China: Through the Looking Glass,” anyone?).
Model Liu Wen may be the most recognized Chinese model in the fashion biz at the moment (for being one of the highest-paid models in recent years, as well as having a huge social media following), but she certainly isn’t the only who’s repping her home country in the U.S. and abroad. Here, a look at the China-born models who’ve made history on the catwalk, starred in coveted fashion and beauty campaigns, and scored huge endorsement deals — all the while building a strong social media presence.
Since breaking into the fashion scene in 2007, Yongzhou-born, New York-based Liu Wen remains the most recognizable Chinese model in the biz. In addition to becoming the first Asian face of Estee Lauder, she’s also booked a number of runway appearances (from Chanel to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show), ad campaigns and editorial gigs. It’s no wonder she landed on Forbes‘ list of the world’s highest-paid models in 2013, becoming the fifth highest-earning model at $4.3 million and the first Asian model to appear on the lineup. She earned a spot on the list again this year with a salary increase to $7 million.
Hailing from Shanghai, China, Xi gained recognition in the industry after being enlisted to walk in Riccardo Tisci’s spring 2010 couture show for Givenchy. Since then, she’s appeared on the catwalk for Balmain, Lanvin, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Alexander Wang. Xi has also starred as the face of Givenchy and Diane von Furstenberg.
Fei Fei Sun
Born in Weifang, Shandong, China, Sun started modeling in 2008 and made it big when she walked her first runway show for Mulberry during London Fashion Week in September 2009. Later that year in December, she was handpicked by Karl Lagerfeld to walk Chanel’s pre-fall show in Shanghai. By 2011, she landed a beauty deal with Chanel cosmetics. Sun became the first Asian model to be named the face of Valentino in 2012 and to appear on the cover of Vogue Italia in 2013.
Sui He’s breakout moment came when she became the first Asian model to open the Ralph Lauren show during the fall 2011 season. The Wenzhou, China-born model has gone on to walk for Chanel, Dior, Hermes and Oscar de la Renta. From 2011 to 2014, she appeared on the runway for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show — becoming the second Asian model to walk for the lingerie label after Liu Wen. In 2012, she became the face of Shiseido. She appeared on the big screen in 2015, starring in the Chinese romantic drama You Are My Sunshine, which grossed $56.62 million at China’s domestic box office.
Xiao Wen Ju
After signing with IMG in 2010, Xiao Wen Ju made her debut on the Honor fall 2011 runway. The Xi’an-born beauty has since walked for DKNY, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Thierry Mugler. Ju appeared in Lane Crawford’s fall 2011 campaign alongside Liu Wen, Fei Fei Sun, Ming Xi and Shu Pei. Ju became the face of Marc Jacobs in 2012, making her the first Asian model to appear in the designer’s campaign. In 2015, Ju, along with fellow model Tilda Lindstam, posed with Derek Zoolander and Hansel (Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson) in front of the Eiffel Tower after the duo announced via the Valentino runway show that Zoolander 2 was happening.