Role model

> This an­drog­y­nous beauty meta­mor­phoses from cover to cover, mak­ing waves across con­ti­nents

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FASHION - BY RACHEL LAW

IN THE past 11 years of rock­ing mag­a­zine cov­ers, edi­to­rial spreads and fash­ion shows, as well as ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns the world over, Gwen Lu has wit­nessed a plethora of re­ac­tions from peo­ple when they learn of her day job.

“Some are sur­prised that an or­di­nary girl like me is ac­tu­ally a model. Some are amazed by the glam­our and fan­ta­sise about the ‘lux­u­ri­ous’ life­style of a su­per­model; some sym­pa­thise my no­madic life­style; while some are amused upon dis­cov­er­ing the se­crets and tricks used to cre­ate flawless im­ages you see in print,” the 33-year-old en­light­ened.

What’s pos­si­bly more sur­pris­ing is that this an­drog­y­nous beauty was a quan­tity sur­veyor by pro­fes­sion be­fore she waltzed into the fash­ion in­dus­try. Lu could have scaled the cor­po­rate lad­der with ease, but thanks to some coax­ing from her friends, the Pe­nang-born de­cided to un­der­take the more chal­leng­ing route of mod­el­ling – equipped with a ge­netic lot­tery of ra­zor-sharp cheek­bones, in­tense gazes and a tow­er­ing height of 1.75m.

She never looked back since, and at this rate, she clearly doesn’t have to. To revel in her (over) decade-long ca­reer, theSun quizzed Lu on the com­plex­i­ties of her job and the best bits that come with, and her af­fair with food as a Pe­nan­gite; to which she gra­ciously en­ter­tained via e-mail from the Big Ap­ple, where she’s based.

Do you still get ner­vous be­fore a show or shoot? How do you prep your­self men­tally and phys­i­cally? Some­times. When I get the mood board or brief­ing, I will do my home­work – be it study­ing the role of an iconic woman, his­tory of an art move­ment, or in­flu­ences in a movie or a book. I still get ner­vous with su­per high heels or slip­pery run­ways. I would re­hearse for a few rounds be­fore a show, and I tend to walk a lit­tle slower in these sit­u­a­tions.

Can you recall your most mem­o­rable show or shoot, or favourite look? There are too many to men­tion. The role is al­ways chang­ing, the task is al­ways chal­leng­ing, and the team is al­ways over­flow­ing with cre­ativ­ity and new ideas; it is un­fair to pick one.

What are your thoughts on the Malaysian fash­ion scene? I ad­mire many lo­cal de­sign­ers who brought their name and de­signs to the in­ter­na­tional stage. There are def­i­nitely im­prove­ments, as there are in pho­tog­ra­phy, cre­ative di­rec­tion, artists and tal­ents. But there are also some who stayed at the same spot since the time I started mod­el­ling.

Name the best part of be­ing a model. The best part is hav­ing ex­clu­sive ac­cess to hard-to-reach places dur­ing lo­ca­tion shoots, and most of all, hav­ing been shot by some great pho­tog­ra­phers at these places – the im­ages are the best mem­o­ries of my ca­reer.

What about your least favourite bit? When I en­counter peo­ple who treat models as ob­jects.

Qual­i­ties of a great model, in your opinion. Punc­tual, or early at jobs. Ver­sa­tile, con­fi­dent and possesses in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

We read that you would like to be a chef when you re­tire. Tell us about your gas­tro­nomic af­fair. Life is too short to eat bad food; I al­ways source for eater­ies that use fresh in­gre­di­ents and lo­cal pro­duce when trav­el­ling. I al­ways cook with a touch of spice – of­ten too spicy for my Euro­pean friends – and some­times with a lit­tle fu­sion in my cui­sine. Some musthave in­gre­di­ents in my kitchen are co­rian­der, gin­ger, lemon­grass, and lime leaves.

Speak­ing of food, where do you usu­ally get your laksa fix in Pe­nang? I used to fre­quent a laksa stall next to Shell sta­tion in Far­lim, but they have moved and the qual­ity has dropped. My new go-to laksa spot is Kim Laksa in Ba­lik Pu­lau. Alex Chai

Is­sac Dang wear­ing the Kenzo x H&M col­lec­tion.

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