Famous for being the first Chinese star to model for Calvin Klein, Jiaye Wu has been featured in fashion magazines including Elle US, Harper’s Bazaar and Grazia. A hybrid influencer, she mixes being a high-fashion model with easygoing blogging. We spoke to her ahead of her talk at Boss Lady's Key Opinion Leaders - Behind the Scenes event later this month.
What is your background and how did you get into modeling?
I learned painting when I was young, then went to Donghua University in Shanghai to major in fashion design and performance. One day I was hanging around the Shanghai fashion week and a professional agent found me. Then I started modeling.
You became the first Chinese model to walk for Calvin Klein – how did the opportunity arise?
I think it’s the belief in myself; you've got to trust yourself first, then miracles can happen.
How has it affected your career?
It completely changed my life. There was a lot of attention on me at that moment. I was scared but excited about all the new things happening.
What is the craziest fashion show you have been a part of?
New York-based streetwear label Hood by Air. We had socks on our faces. I can’t even tell which one is me when reviewing the runway pics. Unfortunately, the brand has already finished making clothes.
Jiaye Wu at the Hood by Air fashion show
How was the recent New York Fashion Week?
It was pretty cool; more and more designers are realizing clothing is made for people to look good in, rather than trying useless gimmicks.
Who impresses you most in the fashion world?
There are a lot. Jean Paul Gaultier is the one that I really respect. The fashion industry changes faster and faster day by day, yet he is still alive in his own world.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From my mom; when I was child I wanted every dress that she had.
How do you feel about KOL culture?
It’s a new media product honed by the fast development of the Internet. People can pick someone to follow based on their opinions. It’s a good thing for the new generation.
Jiaye Wu tickles the ivories
You have expressed a desire to be a hybrid influencer – what do you mean by that?
I think no matter what you do, you have a right to announce how you live your life, and bring a different experience.
What is your philosophy as a KOL?
I feel being a KOL means you have more responsibility. People who don't know you trust you on social media, so you need to offer people the right opinions, and help them have a better life through your content. So being positive and kind is the most important thing to me as a KOL.
What advice would you give to someone setting out to be a KOL?
It’s never been easy to do any job: if you are ready, try your best.
Who are your favorite KOLs to follow?
I think Mia Kong is cool. She has her attitude. And Ling Lichen. They both have a super signature style.
Catch Jiaye Wu at Boss Lady's Key Opinion Leaders - Behind the Scenes in Shanghai on October 17.
[Images via Jiaye Wu / Instagram]