Good Morning, Shanghai!
The second I stepped off the airplane, a familiar feeling of nervousness and excitement washed over me. After weeks of puttering around my family’s house, and attending the odd casting down on West 4th Avenue in Vancouver, I had finally arrived in China. I was back on track with my model adventures and ready to explore yet another city I never dreamed of visiting. Good morning, Shanghai!
After clearing Chinese Customs and Immigration, I picked up my two suitcases (one for clothing and shoes, the other for beauty products) from baggage claim, before venturing out to find The Agency’s driver. Pushing a trolley full of luggage and trying to fend off the airport’s information attendants (who all seemed very keen to help me), I soon spotted a small Asian man holding a sign, which read “Luara”. Bingo.
The first things I notice about the city is the poor air quality. Shanghai is probably one of the most polluted cities on the planet, and I can feel my throat begin to swell before even leaving the airport. Ever since arriving, I feel as if I am about to come down with a cough. Because of this, I cannot imagine staying here more than two months (which is, luckily, length of my contract). This is unfortunate because, as I found out this past week, I work very well in the market here. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
My second and third observations have to do with the population size of the city, and its driving skills. Highways seem safe enough, where everyone is forced to drive straight at a fast speed, but inside the city insanity takes place on the roads. Between an unofficial “no seatbelt” policy, vehicle right of way (as opposed to pedestrians and cyclists), and what would be deemed very illegal u-turns (in Canada), I have pretty much convinced myself that I am going to die in some sort of car-accident related incident. After an hour of becoming very religious and praying to god the backseat of the driver’s car, I arrive at The Agency in one piece (with frazzled nerves). After a brief hello and meeting with the managers, my measurements and weight are taken, my “pocket money” (weekly cash advance from The Agency) is doled out and I am sent on my over to the model apartment – my new home for the next two months.
No one is home when I arrive at the apartment with two managers in tow. My two Brazilian “flatmates” are both out working model jobs, so I have some quiet time to myself. The apartment consists of a living room furnished with IKEA couches and coffee tables, a kitchen and laundry area, three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a common area, with a glass table and two house computers. It’s pretty large for an Asian model apartment, but definitely not glamorous. The wear and tear from years of self-centered, teenage models occupying the space shows. I am just grateful to have a room to myself – a luxury, which will no doubt eventually cease when more girls (i.e. competition) arrive.
I am too exhausted to properly unpack my suitcase; I make my bed, wash my face and pass out.
I’m a well-seasoned traveler, however, on this trip jetlag has hit me hard. Even a week after arriving, I find it difficult to keep my eyes open past 8pm.
These past nine days have been a whirlwind of castings and working the jobs I’ve booked. Within 72 hours of arriving, I booked four jobs (after attending eight castings), and was notified a few hours ago that I booked another one today (which I will be working tomorrow morning).
I am exhausted – sleep seems to be my new favorite hobby. However, it’s a good feeling to be working again, in an industry I love – though I miss Canada and my family, friends and boyfriend very much.
Will soon be posting more intimate details of this so-called glamorous, model life here in Shanghai, but for now I need to get my beauty sleep before “going to the office” tomorrow. It’ll be just another average day of glam makeup and dress up.
With love from Shanghai,