Chinese supermodel Fei Fei Sun may not be a household name like the Naomi’s, Cara’s, Kate’s and Tyra’s of the fashion world, but she sure as hell has a career that can compete with the best of them.
The 24 year old from Weifang, northern China was discovered in 2008 in an Elite Model competition while she was in college studying fashion design, and after gracing the cover of Marie Claire China as part of her prize, she has not looked back since.
In January 2013 she made history as the first ever Asian model to grace the cover of prestigious fashion bible Vogue Italia and the first Asian face to front an international campaign for Valentino. Her resume is packed with all the biggest names in fashion from magazines, to designers and photographers, which is a pretty damn good achievement for her relatively short career so far. Her popularity in the industry proves diversity is becoming the new trend, but we hope it will become the norm, as opposed to a flash in the pan like other trends.
Fei Fei did a shoot with Net A Porter’s magazine The Edit and spoke about her professional approach to her career. She takes it seriously, and isn’t likely to have her face splashed across the gossip pages any time soon. She says her entry into the world of fashion made her grow up quickly, if she wanted to succeed.
“I needed to grow up, as a model and a businesswoman. I told myself: it’s a new school and you need to learn the rules,” she says.
Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia said this about Sun’s monumental cover for the publication: “Fei Fei embodies a timeless idea of an extremely chic woman. In this world, beauty is king and it brings people together with no racial limits.” It seems the Asian beauty has accidentally become a hero of sorts to other Asian women working in fashion who believe they have a right to be seen on a global platform, not just in their own country.
“I was honored to be selected,” says Sun. “It gave me self-confidence and I will never, ever forget it.” Now Fei Fei has the platform to inspire other women who are so used to seeing only a certain type of model in magazines and on runways. And she doesn’t take her status lightly, preferring to speak messages of positivity instead of hedonistic statements made by so many other celebs.
Today Fei Fei lives in Shanghai, and doesn’t often give interviews as she likes to keep her life private. She has a steady boyfriend and advocates a healthy work/life balance.
“At the end of the day, there is more to life than work,” Sun says. “Through it all, I just remember to be myself.”
And don’t think fame will get to her head anytime soon, as she is well aware of her fortunate position and intends on making the most of her career.
“I feel very lucky to have a job that constantly inspires me. I work with talented people from all over the world.”
When asked the usual question for models, how does she stay in shape, Sun’s answer shows a healthy approach.
“I never diet, as I love food. But I pay attention to my health.”
Fei Fei is enjoying where her career is taking her, and says living in the moment is good advice for anyone wanting to make the most of their life.
“I try to live in the present. There is a Chinese saying: ‘People will find the right way when they reach the cross in the road’.”
We love talking about women who are pioneers, whether intentionally or accidentally, who embrace that they are pushing boundaries and creating change. The fashion industry is in desperate need of an image overhaul and it is women like Fei Fei who are inspiring us that being different is the way forward.
Get to know the porcelain-skinned model below and see what she says gives her strength: