China's Breakout Star, Liu Wen
Liu Wen. If you haven't heard of Liu, you're probably not Chinese. She is widely considered to be China's first true supermodel, and is well known by the country's billion-plus people. Liu also happens to be one of the highest-paid models in the world, and that's probably not a coincidence.
People on social media love Liu, and she has branched out into all sorts of different segments of the Asian media market.
Let's learn a little bit more about the fascinating Liu Wen.
Liu is from a humble background. Born on 27 January 1988 in Yongzhou, Hunan, Liu Wen entered a modeling contest at her mother's suggestion.
Not surprisingly given her classic looks, Liu Wen was discovered at the contest - it was the summer 2005 New Silk Road World Model Contest - even though she did not win it. Many, many top models owe their careers to entering a contest and losing it.
Liu started getting assignments soon afterwards with the likes of the Chinese editions of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.
|Liu's model card.|
Liu's breakout moment was when she was noticed for an editorial she shot with Karl Lagerfeld and Viktor and Rolf. That led to an invitation to Paris in 2008 for Paris Fashion Week.
After that, Liu was on a role. She debuted in Milan in February 2008 and in New York in 2009.
Liu walked in the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. She was the first Chinese to appear in it. She followed that up with another appearance in the 2010 show. And the 2011 show. And the 2012 show.
With Victoria's Secret expanding into China and holding its 2017 Fashion Show there, it wouldn't be a shocker if she walked in the 2017 show, too - if she wants to, that is. We shall see.
Covers can tell a lot about a top model. By now, Liu has a ton of covers. Below is a sample from recent years. You'll notice that China is on there quite a bit:
- October Vogue Italy
- September The Edit
- September Vogue China
- August Modern Weekly
- June Elle China, Elle China
- May OK! Magazine China
- April Vogue Japan
Below is a sample of Liu's covers from her first few years, which makes Liu Wen's base of popularity a bit plainer. With Liu Wen, her popularity base obviously is China, where she has a phenomenal nine (9) Vogue covers:
Asia: 'Manifesto' - October 2011
China: 'Cosmopolitan Bride' - 2007; 'FHM' - May 2007; 'Madame Figaro' - September 2007; 'Marie Claire' - September & December 2007; 'Vogue Beauty Guide' - January 2008; 'Elle' - March 2008; 'Belle' - March 2008; 'Cosmopolitan' - July 2008; 'Elle' - March 2009; 'Vogue' - March 2010; 'Elle' - May 2010; 'L'Officiel' - June 2010; 'Vogue' - September 2010; 'Numero' - September 2010; 'Elle' - January 2011; 'Numero' - March 2011; 'Numero' - September 2011; 'Vogue' - September 2011; 'L'Officiel' - August 2011; 'Elle' - October 2011; 'Vogue' - May 2012; 'Vogue' - July 2012; 'Vogue' - September 2012; 'Femina' - October 09 2012; 'Vogue Collections' - Summer 2013; 'Vogue' - September 2013; 'Elle' - December 2013
France: 'Antidote' - Fall 2012
Korea: 'Harper's Bazaar' - October 2010
Malaysia: 'Harper's Bazaar' - August 2012
Portugal: 'Vogue' - November 2009
Singapore: 'Her World' - February 2010; 'L'Officiel' - May 2010; 'Elle' - December 2010; 'Harper's Bazaar' - June 2012
Thailand: 'Vogue' - October 2013
UK: 'i-D' - February 2011; 'The Sunday Times Style' - September 23 2012
US: NY Times Style "T" Magazine's Travel Issue, March 2012; 'The Last Magazine' - Spring/Summer 2013
Liu's honors include being on the first Numero China cover. It was the first time ever that a Numero premiere issue did not feature Kate Moss.
Liu makes a lot of money. She regularly makes the Forbes list of the world's highest-paid models. In 2016, Liu Wen made an estimated $7 million. That isn't exactly Gisele Bündchen territory (who has been known to make upwards of $40 million) - but that ain't beanbag, either.
Believe me... any time you are on any Forbes list, life is good. Believe me.
Liu wore an Apple Watch on a Vogue China cover. It was considered a breakthrough moment for the crossover between fashion and Technology.
Liu has branched out into other areas. She says that she would like to be an actress.
Liu appears on the Chinese reality television show, "We’re in Love." Wen is paired with Korean celebrity Siwon for the show, which requires the duo to complete tasks while pretending to be a couple in love.
Liu also says that she would like to become a stylist or fashion designer someday.
Liu considers her own personal style to be "tomboyish, vintage and comfortable."
Liu is great friends with Joan Smalls, Constance Jablonski and Lindsey Wixson, all of whom she has worked with before.
She also is tight with Shu Pei Qin, Du Juan, Fei Fei Sun, Sui He, Xiao Wen Ju, and Ming X. Du Juan, incidentally, won that Silk Road modelling contest in a previous year.
Liu has represented Estée Lauder along with her chums Jablonski and Smalls.
Liu posts a lot of personal photos on her Instagram account.
Liu currently also has over 60k followers on Twitter - probably many more by the time you read this.
A lot of the personal photos that Liu posts on her accounts are very artistic. She has a good eye as a photographer.
The New York Times called Liu a supermodel in 2012. Now, the New York Times alone doesn't exactly decide such things, but it is very close to the fashion scene and makes or breaks models' careers (Jaime King owes a lot to it, for instance). So, what the New York Times says about a specific model is worth mentioning. In this case, the NY Times seems to have been spot on.
OK! China soon followed the New York Times' lead. It crowned Wen as the first Asian supermodel in its April 2013 issue.
Liu's campaigns have included Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta, Hugo Boss, Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, H&M, Marni, Lane Crawford, Bergdorf Goodman, Diesel, Gap, and Vivienne Tam.
Liu is a hard worker. She routinely sets records for the most shows walked at fashion shows.
All in all, Liu Wenn is blazing a trail for asian supermodels. Still at her peak, Liu will be leading the way for years to come.
Liu Wen told Vogue:
I feel the most beautiful when I’m the most relaxed—for example, after a productive day of work or during a comfortable, rested afternoon. But I also feel great when I reunite with friends after a long time. When my inner mood is positive, I also feel great on the outside.