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Drea's Overseas Journal

February 23, 2021

Drea is a Chantale Nadeau model, currently in Shanghai, China with Esee Models.

Once again, it must look as if I have been faithless, but the real reason why I haven't written in this long is because of inertia creeping up on me. Good ol' human inertia.

My physical and mental states have been challenged from the first day I arrived here but I've been hit full force these past few weeks with work. I'm sure that every model who has been overseas can relate. The first month is usually really slow... the second month things pick up because you know how things work... and the third month, if you're crazy enough like me to stay that long, is when you work like a busy beaver.

Lately I've had to get used to writing by hand again in my trusty Sponge Bob Squarepants notebook. My handwriting resembles something close to hieroglyphics, but when your awesome friend from Canada leaves and takes her laptop with her you have no choice but to practice the old fashioned way of jotting your thoughts and journeys down to remember and share.

Where do I even start?

Let's begin with a phone call I received at 9:00 p.m. one night from my booker. I just arrived home from shooting an amazing editorial - my second one in a week with the same photographer from New York - when I find out I have another magazine booked in the morning. I was so tired so I didn't ask 100 questions like I always do. She pretty much told me that it's an editorial for a HUGE electronics magazine. It would be on sale the week after (woo tears that I don't have to wait long for!) on every corner in Shanghai. I was like HELL YEA and hung up the phone.

So, I'm in bed now... and it hits me. What the heck is an electronics magazine??? haha! I had nightmares of kissing microwaves and drooling on the latest turbo 500xt63 waterproof toaster.

I asked my roommates... I tried to call my booker back. But no answers...

The morning comes too soon and I'm on set with 5 people who don't speak a word of English and a Chinese model who I'll be in the editorial with.

I'm sitting there twiddling my thumbs trying to figure out what's going on so I can get in the mood, get in character... put my chapstick on? haha! But nothing...

The Chinese model gets her make-up done first and it was so beautiful!! I was so excited for my turn to come up until I really figured out what my role was going to be...

The editor pulls out a few pictures that will inspire my look - and all the pictures were of high fashion models dressed up in tuxedos. I was loving the look until I saw the second picture. The female model... had a big moustache on her face! ah haha! I was laughing so hard! I was the only one laughing actually... (this happens a lot to me in China). I was still hoping that the editor was feeling the hat in the picture and not the big moustache, but when my make-up was almost complete - I had two people start working on my upper lip trying to give me the most natural looking moustache.

Now... most models I know in China would not have done something even close to this! But... I was having a ball (or at least I'm still trying to convince myself that I was?). I called my booker later laughing and showed her the pictures when I went into the agency the day after. I wasn't mad at her, but I did call her sneaky! After all, it was for a big magazine, that would be sold everywhere... that I unfortunately didn't get a copy of, and pray that no one I know did either haha! I think I worked the 'stache... maybe I even looked a little sexy *winks*

The coming weeks consisted of new roommates, flying to different cities for work, and sleepless nights of Chinese New Year preparations.

I didn't really meet my new roommate for two days after she arrived. I flew in late from a make-up show in beautiful Beijing and tried to learn as much as I could about my potential new friend by her beauty products on the bathroom counter! I figured out she was from the Czech, (which made me happy because for a minute I thought that my old roommate had returned because she had missed me so much!), she wore contacts like me and probably had big curly hair because half the counter was anti-frizz serum haha! She was really nice and in the morning I made it my duty to show her around our neighbourhood like everyone had done for me when I first arrived.

My other roommate, the 14 year old, has gotten a lot better with her English. But her eating habits... not so much.

I knew she was eating, but she wasn't eating healthy when I wasn't making something for the both of us.

I really pay attention to things like this... and if I'm living with someone they are going to eat! Plain and simple... if I don't see you eating, I will tell the agency! You might not like me for it... but hey you'll thank me one day!

A few days later we had a show together with two guys from the agency and decided to walk home. It was a nice day and a 45min walk back. Twenty minutes into our walk I hear one of the guys call my name in panic. I was walking ahead with Nick and we both immediately turned around. The other guy was holding my close to unconscious roommate in his arms!! I thought it was a joke but then I ran as fast as I could to help! I'm trained in first aid and CPR so I ran up behind her and got her on the ground and sent one of the guys out to buy her some apple juice.

She was fine within a few minutes. *sigh*

Once again... why the hell is a 14 year old girl in China alone!!!??? She is a doll... beautiful and kind... but someone needs to take care of her. What if this happens when she's on a job alone? She can't even communicate well in English let alone Chinese!

I told an older friend of hers what had happened when we came home and I think she is planning on moving in after I leave. Or I hope she does anyway. Nothing has happened since, other than her eating habits are improving. That makes me happy.

The day after I got to go away to another city again! Look at me flying around on jet planes (well... China Eastern, close enough)! I booked a sweet job with Louis Vuitton China in Kunming (also known as "Spring City" because of its year-round temperate weather). It was about a three hour flight from Shanghai and what a wonderful time I had! There were flowers, mountains and beautiful birds everywhere. It was paradise! I got to spend two days there with a Chinese model from Beijing. We went to a beautiful park, a great noodle restaurant and somehow found a whole block of local puppy dog sellers! I wanted to buy 20 of them and at two dollars a puppy I could have. But then I thought about bringing them back home... and how my mother would freak on me... so I just took a million pictures and walked away. The event for Louis Vuitton was okay. Maybe it's just me... but I really don't understand the big deal about spending two grand on a purse? I saw women fighting over a bag at one point. I didn't really react to anything. You know, even though I'm a model... and wear all these pretty clothes and stuff, brainwashed branded bitches will always be a mystery to me. No matter how close I get to them haha.

Back in Shanghai... both life and work are eventful. The past few nights have been loud and beautiful. I'm leaving the day before New Years here (bummer!), but I'm glad I get to see some of the preparations taking place! The fireworks are amazing! Especially from my 17th floor view. They start around 9:00 p.m. and last for half an hour. They're so magical and musical... *sigh*. I can't even imagine how the country will look and sound on New Years!

I'll be home very soon... maybe by the time this update reaches Canada I'll already be there. I keep asking myself... is this a new beginning? was it? or will my return home be one? Am I still a dreamer?? Please... let me still be a dreamer. I know one of you out there is like me.

I stop and try to add things up. I see that I have already been away for almost three months, though oddly it feels like only a week (now that it's close to "home-time"). And I bet when I come home it will feel as if I've never been away at all.

Until next time...


PS: to get the perfect moustache use an eyebrow pencil that matches your eyebrows. Start about 2cm below your nostrils and with a delicate U motion... JUST KIDDING! ah haha! I am so embarrassed.

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