The demand for Chinese models in foreign markets is surging these days because the growing purchasing power for luxury and fashion products among Chinese consumers is a big draw.
Every brand knows that China is such a big market that it can't afford not to sell its products in the country. Based on that, they have to include a Chinese model or two in every campaign.
In the past few years, Chinese models have been very popular in France and the United States because China is the world's largest fashion market right now.
Every domestic model agency is trying to place their Chinese models overseas, and a number of models are in New York and Paris, where the competition is very fierce.
In 2010, Lyu Yan was the first Chinese model to appear on the cover of Vogue in the US, and later she appeared with the most influential beauty products and luxury brands. Quite a few Chinese girls followed her in later years. A wave of Chinese models is leaving a real mark in the world of modeling.
The growing power of social media means the appearance of Chinese models in international campaigns is becoming increasingly important.
Several years ago, some brands would use Japanese or Korean models to represent all Asians, but now it's the era of the social network, and if a brand still works like that some internet users may claim they are racist because they don't use Chinese models.
The Korean and Japanese markets are small compared with the Chinese market, so the brands have to invite Chinese models in and do bigger shows and campaigns in that market to show their commitment. That has also created higher demand for Chinese models.
To qualify as a professional model overseas you need a very strong personality that will attract people to work with you. It generally takes more time for Chinese models to reorient themselves because most of them are shy and lack a global outlook.
Proficient English and flexibility are the two other important skills that enable some models to get opportunities quicker and easier than others.
Nikolay Lavrov, from Russia, has worked as an agent for models for 10 years in Shanghai.