The Rise of Asian Models


(Moschin o F/W 07 ad campaign featuring Asian models, [left to right] Han Jin, Tao Okamoto, Emma Pei, Zi Jun, Daul Kim, Ai Tominaga, Eugenia Mandzhieva, courtesy of asianmodelsblog,

This post has been sitting on my draft for MONTHS! I can’t believe that I wasn’t able to post it sooner. I wanted to post this as my very first post of 2008 in FD but it actually took me quite a while just to gather all the pictures. We’ve seen and read enough about all the latest faces, the newcomers of these past few seasons. From Agyness Deyn, Gemma Ward, Irina Lazareanu, Lily Cole, Coco Rocha, Jessica Stam, Lily Donaldson, Iekeline Stange, Doutzen Kroes, Sasha Pivarova, Hana Soupokova, Julia Stegner, Anja Rubik, Behati Prinsloo, Carolina Trentini, Christina Kruse, Freja Beha, bla bla bla…. a long endless list. They’ve all been widely exposed, but what about the new Asian faces?


Cosmopolitan, undetermined issue [l to r: Mo Wandan, Luo Ying, Dai Xiaoyi, Wang Yang, Xu Liwen], courtesy of

It seems to me that Ai Tominaga, Du Juan and Hye Park are the only ones who made headlines. Until I came accross this Asian model newcomer, Anna Wang from a Hint mag newsletter which I’ve received a couple of months ago. Her physical feature is absolutely stunning especially for an Asian girl. I’m speechless looking at her editorial portfolio and started to google her. Then, I’ve found this great blog dedicated only to Asian Models. I’m somehow surprise to find out there are actually many models of Asian descents who have already graced the pages of high fashion magazines and advertising campaigns.


(clockwise from top left: Ai Tominaga, Du Juan, Anna Wang, and Hye Park, , courtesy of asianmodesblog)

It is indeed quite refreshing to see more and more Asian models walking down the runways of big prominent designers today. It is a little bit too late, I may say, they should have done that years ago. Weren’t they aware of the spending powers that the majority of Asian customers have? Most of fashion conscious Asian women I’ve known are brand minded and mostly are obsessed with big fashion labels. But a couple of years ago, it was still rare to see Asian faces gracing the pages of fashion editorials and ad campaigns.

Back in my college years in the late 90s, I pathetically loved to remember by heart all the names of fashion models in my boring economic class. On a piece of paper, I would write down a list from A to Z of all the names of fashion models. It was the days of Nadja Auermann, Amber Valetta, Shalom Harlow, Sybil Buck, Carla Bruni, Kristen McMenamy, Helena Christensen, Tatjana Patitz, Caroline Murphy, Kirsty Hume, Eve Savail, Yasmeen Ghauri, Nadege, Chrystelle, Karen Elson, Linda Evangelist a and the gank, the list goes on.

And I remember I was trying to do the same list of Asian models who made it internationally. I got Navia Nguyen, Jenny Shimizu, Ling Tan, Irina Pantaeva *well she’s Siberian but she has strong Asian features*, and I got stuck in the middle. Well, I may add Devon Aoki since she was quite a breakthrough newcomer around that period of time.


(from left: Navia Nguyen, Jenny Shimizu, Ling Tan, Irina Pantaeva, Devon Aoki)

Then, there was our very own Indonesian model, Tracy Trinita who won the Elite contest. I was totally esthatic to see her spread in Glamour magazine, Iman cosmetic book and saw her walking the runway of Yves Saint Laurent during Paris Fashion Week on CNN’s Elsa Klench. Besides Tracy, there was also one of these Indonesian model twins, Danielle or Estelle Townshend *can’t remember which one* who won the Elite constest. Another Elite alums, Fahrani and Sigi who both made it big in Hong Kong or Singapore. I’ve also heard about one Indonesian model/actress, Sausan, who recently moved to NYC and represented by an agency here. And years ago, one of Indonesian senior model, Avi Basuki was said to have made it internationally somewhere in Asia or Europe. But still, that wasn’t ENOUGH!

We can’t deny that physical requirements have been one of the biggest weaknesses of Asian models, mainly height measurement. But today, the new generation of Asian girls are becoming more and more taller. Last time I went home and visited some of the malls in Jakarta, I saw many Indonesian young girls with towering heights. And in the industry, with the arrival of Vogue China and Vogue India, along with other franchise publications (Vogue Nippon, Vogue Korea, W Korea, Nylon Japan, etc.) have certainly affected the demand of Asian faces. The number of Asian models walking down the runways has amazingly increased these past few years. Hopefully Indonesian models would also take part of this whole trend. Enough of the talking, here are some of the freshest Asian models that I’ve found courtesy of asianmodelsblog. Enjoy!

Anna Wang – on the editorial and cover of Chinese Vogue



1st row: from left, Du Juan in LV ad campaign (here featured with Raquel Zimmerman), Devon Aoki on the cover of Russian Vogue, Du Juan for Roberto Cavalli

2nd row: Ai Tominaga for L’Uomo Vogue fashion editorial, Hye Park in Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign, Anne Watanabe on the cover of Singapore Harper’s Bazaar

3rd row: Korean Vogue editorial with Du Juan, Kyung-ah Song & Han Jin, Du Juan for Barney’s New York, Aline Nakashima for GAP

4th row: The 2nd Anniversary of Chinese Vogue with models: Stephanie Shiu, Du Juan, MacKenzie Hamilton, Emma Pei on the cover, Rila Fukushima for Simply Vera, Emma Pei for Chinese Vogue

5th row: Ling Tan & her sister Ein Tan for Ann Taylor, Jarah Mariano for Rock & Republic, Daul Kim & Coco Rocha on the cover of Korean Vogue

Sources & images courtesy of:,,