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It’s easy to forget just how freshfaced the average up-and-comer is. Take Tian Yi for example: high cheekbones, legs for days and a smoldering stare; the girl looks sophisticated. But when asked about her latest fashion splurge, Yi reminds us that she’s still a teen. “Splurge?” she laughs. “I’m only 17!” Oh, right. But, despite her age and relative inexperience (Yi only started modeling in August), the Chinese teen has hit the ground running.
What were your first impressions of New York?
It’s like a fairy tale country: the fresh air, the architecture, the people. Everything is new and exciting.
How did you get into modeling?
My mom was surfing the Internet and saw this modeling competition and signed me up. I only got third place but that’s how it all started.
You’re a newbie to the industry but if you had to describe modeling in one word, what would it be?
“Queens” because every model is a queen when she is walking the runway or posing for photos. You have to feel so confident and beautiful so, in that moment, you’re a queen.
What’s something you’ve learned about modeling that you didn’t know before?
People outside of the industry always forget models’ names. They only remember your face. It’s funny how that works.
What has been the most memorable thing about this show season?
There was one that I did where I tripped. I was so embarrassed but later I saw that they used a picture of me in that show in one of the big newspapers to show the best look, so that made me feel better. Still it was a little bit embarrassing when I stumbled!
What was your favorite to walk in?
Dior because it was a great show for China.
Is he your favorite designer?
Yeah, also, I love Vera Wang. I have a few of her pieces and I just put them on at the end of a hard day to make me happy.
Typically people throw on a pair of sweatpants to relax at home, not high fashion.
I do that, too. My favorite items of clothing are my socks with different animal faces on them. I have a bunch. They’re so comfy and cute.