A Moldavian-born Canadian, Adriana recently moved to Beijing where she met me (lucky thing…haha). Not only is she a tall, slim, and gorgeous former model (who sometimes still does the odd fashion show), she is also a highly intelligent and motivated career woman, who somehow manages to balance a demanding job in digital advertising, her passion for fashion photography, and her ambitions as a business woman. Today she shares some of her story with us.
B: Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in Beijing
AL: A few years back China’s fashion industry was so hungry for tall skinny blonde girls that, unlike the competitive markets in Europe and North America, they were willing to disregard the scar on my face. I wasn’t about to miss out on the opportunity! So I travelled to and from China a few times as a high-fashion model until 2009, when I graduated from the University of Toronto. Then I decided it was time to make my parents happy – and of course put all those years of study to the test! I joined a government PR company in Beijing, working on the Shanghai Expo for a few months. I loved the whole experience of living and working in Beijing so much that in July 2011 I decided to make this my home base. So here I am again… working, living and loving it.
B: What drives you and inspires your interest in fashion photography?
AL: Fashion photography is my creative outlet. It’s forever-evolving and coming up with new trends and standards, guiding the fashionable masses. I think it’s one of the most exciting yet challenging industries to be in. My current love affair is with Chenman. She is a fantastic artist whose work pushes me to try harder every time I pick up my camera or open photoshop.
B: What are some of the challenges/experiences you’ve faced working as a model/photographer in China?
AL: One of the bigger challenges I’ve faced in China, as a model and a photographer, is the language barrier. With my Mandarin picking up, things are finally starting to fall into place!
B: Who are your style icons, or which brands do you look to for inspiration?
AL: At the moment, I quite love ZARA. They always stay on top of current trends, while maintaining affordable prices and well-made pieces. If I had a little extra cash I would get gorgeous clothes from Aqua by Aqua (www.aquabyaqua.com) and We Are Handsome (wearehandsome.com).
B: If you weren’t in digital advertising what would you love to do?
I would continue with Government PR. I get a little geeky thrill from juggling 4-5 languages a day. And I would definitely still shoot fashion.
B: How would you describe your style?
AL: In one word – colourful. Whatever I wear, comfy jeans and a Tee or a little black dress, I always add a bright and cheerful piece – neon green watch, yellow converse, bright red bracelets.
B: What trends are you predicting for 2012?
AL: For summer, definitely gold and neon yellow shades – as seen in Mulberry’s and Versace’s spring/summer collections.
B: What’s your take on the fashion industry in China?
AL: A lot of my “foreign” friends are starting up their own fashion labels in China, and even though it may be quite hard to survive the first year, they all agree that doing so in Europe or North American would have been financially impossible. Hence I think the fashion industry in China is quite exciting, filled with opportunities for those that are ready to grab them and hold on!
B: Do you have any tips for shopping in Beijing or designers to look out for in China?
AL: In terms of shopping – one of my favourite places is Panjiayuan (潘家园旧货市场). Go there on the weekend at 4:30-5pm when stall holders are packing up. They are easier to bargain with and some will give you great end-of-the-day prices. If you’re curious about what foreign designers in Beijing are up to, I’d watch out for Yves Alexandre and his brand Oosoo.
B: What are some of your other hobbies or interests, besides photography?
AL: Let’s see… I like to hermit, make websites, learn new coding languages like HTML5, and play “Heroes of Might and Magic” while watching Family Guy. Haha, how do I still have a boyfriend?! I love travel – my ideal vacation spot would have to be either the beach in Barcelona, or the mountains in Piatra Craiului, Romania. I love to make molten chocolate cakes. Mmmm. Oh and languages are another passion of mine – I speak English, French, German, Romanian, Russian, Mandarin, Moldavan (a Romanian dialect), Spanish and Ukrainian.
A big thanks to Adriana for sharing with us! If you want to see more of her work, you can check out her amazing website or follow what she’s up to via her Facebook page. Her latest project has been a series of beauty shoots – and one of her subjects was yours truly! You can click here to see the photos.
Thanks so much for reading! Until tomorrow then – hope you’re having a great Wednesday