Chinese models show some leg -- for a price
Su Zizi’s rise to Internet fame for her artsy nude photos already has had a huge impact on traditional Chinese views on nude modeling. But, she has company.
Recently, another group of non-conventional models have become a hit among Chinese netizens: the long limbed, professional leg models.
Although not a new fad -- Kong Yansong made waves across China for her almost cartoonishly long legs last year -- the prices these girls are demanding is now higher than ever.
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The majority of clients looking for leg models are companies selling pantyhose, knee-high boots, short skirts and skincare products.
“Shanghai Online” recently reprinted an article from “China National Radio” which catalogs the life of leg models in Qingdao.
Leg models’ fees are pay grades beyond ordinary magazine models who are a dime a dozen. The lanky-limbed girls can easily get RMB 10,000 to RMB 20,000 per shoot according to the paper.
Maybe Su Zizi should’ve done more research before diving into the modeling scene.
Chinese leg model: Jing’er
A post-1990 (teenage) leg model from Qingdao who goes by the name Jing’er posts in her blogs about how much she and her friends make.
“For pantyhose models on Taobao, generally a pretty face doesn’t matter, but the shape of legs does," she writes. "It’s RMB 600 to RMB 700 for two hours.”
Some [leg] modeling friends in Beijing charge way more than ordinary magazine models, even close to what nude models earn.— Jing’er, Chinese leg model
Some models with greater legs can approach their own clients, with prices ranging from RMB 1,000 to RMB 2,000 for one single shoot.
Promotion ads for shoes and pantyhose pay even better -- RMB 3,000 or more per shoot.
In comparison, the average monthly salary for a Chinese university graduate in 2010 was RMB 2,964.
“Some [leg] modeling friends in Beijing charge way more than ordinary magazine models, even close to what nude models earn. They easily get RMB 10,000 to RMB 20,000 for one shoot. After seven or eight shoots and no sweat, a leg model can earn about RMB 100,000 a year, ” writes Jing’er.
Although leg modeling has become yet another rung to climb -- for those with the limbs to do it -- on the race to become China's new rich, those in the industry point out that it's not exactly easy money.
According to fashion photographer Gao Yan, it takes more than a pair of skinny and straight legs to be a good leg model. Their legs, should have a "certain curve," he explains, that can be difficult to find.
“The definition of such a curve is different for each photographer,” says Gao.
Ifeng has also listed the basic requirements for leg models: “Calves should be toned and equal in length with the round thighs. The legs should also be well-balanced in shape, beautiful in lines, fine and smooth without obvious scars, straight in the middle part and no extra fat in the hips.”
With requirements like these, it's amazing that even Karen Mok -- who is famous for her beautiful legs -- is up to snuff.
Another leg model, Yazhen, told the reporters that the high-end leg models have a stringent regime to keep up appearances that includes “wearing cotton socks when sleeping, not wearing high-heels, soaking their feet in 40-degree water everyday, applying olive oil and lotions afterward, soaking feet in milk, exfoliating and getting a massage every week.”
Rough life, but for RMB 100,000, China’s new breed of leg models seem to be holding in there.