**model of the moment: sui he


I am so excited to write about Sui He because she will be the first Asian model that I have featured on this blog. I remember when using Asian models became "a thing"... in fact, my Asian roommate at the time was working as a FORD model and experienced the trend firsthand. The overwhelming and sudden use of Asian models, I have to admit, felt inauthentic to me. I remember when the casting directors for the Givenchy Haute Couture presentation in Fall 2011 chose to use an exclusively Asian cast, only to return to their usual casting ratios in the seasons following. Although I will not exclude the possibility that the casting director had thematic rather than racial motivations, casting models in such a way is not only gimmicky but objectifying. Race should not be used as an accessory, like bangles or platform shoes, to throw into a collection one season in order to make an amusing statement. I believe that beauty across racial lines in fashion media should be celebrated, not trivialized, and in order to do this we must respect the individuality of the women themselves. Beyond this, talent and talent alone should be used to define the appeal of any good model.

And talent, first and foremost, is why I have decided to feature Sui He here. I have noticed her face in photos over the past year, and when I recently saw an image of her against a bold red background, I knew I had to write about her. I love her strong but delicate, feminine appearance and her stunning beauty. Sui He's photos never feel cutesy and if anything, she has the ability to be intimidating right through the magazine page. Her images prove that femininity can be owned and worn proudly, and she emanates a natural sense of pride that seems to require no additional justification. There is no apology in Sui He's expressions and stance, and even seductive poses come across as purposeful and empowered. This self-ownership reminds us that to be an empowered woman does not have to mean striving for a tomboy-like toughness, as has been a trend in fashion over the past few years. Rather, to be an empowered woman means to define for oneself what femininity is and what it means, with no external validation required.

To interpret so much from the photos of any young model might seem like reaching, but most people will never know Sui He in person or even hear her interviews. Her contribution to our culture exists first and foremost within her photographs and the image of womanhood that she portrays therein. Sui He's real-life persona is not without merit: she is known within the industry for being gracious, patient, polite and friendly, and she seems like the type of model you would want to work with on the job. But her images reveal an inner strength and beauty that can be applicable to us all: within her photos, Sui He becomes the type of woman you would want to be.


Considering the current casting trends, a discussion of Sui He would not really be complete without an acknowledgement of what her racial identity means on a wider cultural scale. As much as I love Sui He for her talent as a model, I realize that Sui He's career in the industry represents something more symbolic for other women. As a white female, I cannot pretend to understand the experience of being a racial minority in media imagery, but I do understand the importance of inclusion. I have written before about how fair-skinned girls were something of a minority in fashion media imagery when I was a teenager, and although that has certainly changed now, the inclusion of Coco Rocha among the bronzed Brazilian models of the time offered a promising visual alternative for a girl raised in sun-tanned Southern California. For me, Coco Rocha's work allowed for one depiction of female beauty alongside what I assumed would become an increasingly diverse ideal. Today, however, fair skin tone and traditional Caucasian ethnicity are again being presented as more of a standard than a unique example of human individuality. Standards like this are both limiting and uninteresting, even when they might favor us, because they lack the diversity of expression that is so essential to respecting our inherent human commonality. I hope, then, that Sui He's foray into the modeling world represents not a temporary visual trend but rather a joyful and lasting inclusion. Upon seeing the photos produced by a model like Sui He, I think we cannot help but wonder at how such stunning incarnations of female beauty were ever excluded from the fashion model cast. More pictures below...





Sui He began modeling in 2006 at age 17, but only took local modeling work in order to focus on her education. In 2010, she signed with New York Model Management and began modeling full-time. Sui He has since appeared on the covers of Harper's Bazaar China, Elle China, Muse, W and i-D, and has walked in numerous runway shows. She is currently working as the face of Shiseido cosmetics for the Spring/Summer 2013 season.

In Vogue China November 2011, photographed by Hans Feurer...







One of the most interesting feats of Sui He's career is her work for the Ralph Lauren brand. The Chinese model was the first Asian model to ever open a Ralph Lauren runway show, and in 2011, she became the face of the brand. Her photos for Ralph Lauren perfectly encompass the class and traditionalism of the brand.




In Black Magazine #18 in Dec 2012, photographed by Michael Schwartz...





In Numéro #134 in July 2012, photographed by Sebastian Kim...




In Marie Claire US March 2013, "Spring Forward" by Alex Cayley...







In Vogue China March 2013, "Laser Cut Leather" by Sharif Hamza...







My favorite editorial... In Harper's Bazaar US May 2013, "The Best of Couture," photographed by Katja Rahlwes...







Backstage photo...


(Photo credits: The Fashion Spot, Fashion Gone Rogue, Fashionemia, MODELS.com, Fashion Scans Remastered)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love the post:) Have a wonderful weekend!

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Lust Covet Desire said...

She's my favorite model at the moment, love her beauty so much.

http://www.lustcovetdesire.tumblr.com

Luxe Fashionista said...

Wow, great photos! :)


www.deluxefashionista.com

Tr3nDyGiRL Fashion Blog said...

Love your content! good job!!
I waiting you on my blog!
NEW POST -> Tr3nDyGiRL Fashion Blog

jakosan said...

she is such a great model :)



xx teenj

Rukiat Christina Ashawe said...

she is so gorgeous and cheekbones are killa! Ahh, im jel!!

http://callmechrisss.blogspot.co.uk/

i.s. said...

stunning x
www.vicariousLA.com

taimemode said...

nice pictures, like them all :)
sandy.
www.taimemode-fashionblog.com

RAW Fashion Magazine said...

Definitely a versatile model

Mar said...

I don't know much about her but she's beautiful, specially in the last photo. Her hair in the third photo looks amazing, I just love her long, straight locks.

Love xx

em.me.ma said...

informative post, I dind't know asians were trending! (as an aasian ) that's pretty cool. and about time lol. But I dont' understand why most of the asians in the media are always portrayed so foreign or they choose really weird looking asians. There are so many beautiful asians everywhere but I guess they don't want the western looking asians? i donna. but she's beautiful :)

Wedding sarees said...

As usual this was a thoughtful submit today. You make me want to preserve coming back and forwarding it my followers?-.

Anonymous said...

Did she have her eyelids done? In one photo I saw of her, her eyelids on the inner corner looked different...I'm not jealous or anything b/c we have almost the same eyes

Winston Willow said...

love these editorials! such a good collection here

Charlotte

Website | Winston & Willow

Bloglovin'

Mumbles said...

I didn't know her, but she's gorgeous. All those pictures are beautiful ♥

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