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Drea's Overseas Journal

December 23, 2021

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

Shanghai's Oriental Pearl Tower
Well... here is part of my anticipated surprise! I am in Shanghai - freezing cold Shanghai, China with ESEE Models. So much for na-na-na-naing to all of you back home!

I arrived on the 17th from Shenzhen, and if you thought I was having an adventure over there just wait til you read this.

It was kind of last minute coming here - I had a day to pack and re-pack the same things so my suitcases would close. You know when you're sitting on top of your almost broken suitcase and swearing because you're so close to zipping it but that stupid purse you so thought you needed is in the way? YAH - that was me! My model-mates were laughing at me. And then we all had a tearful goodbye. We exchanged comp cards and wrote silly things on them.

My driver picked me up and then dropped me off at the wrong gate - what else is new? I had an hour until my flight was leaving and I was running with all of my things trying to find section 98. I found it. Fifty minutes until take off. I put one suitcase on the scale and the woman behind the counter gasped... I thought she was going into shock when she saw I had another suitcase! Haha! So I was about 40 kilos overweight... I was begging for her to let me through, but she wasn't buying my "I had no idea I was only allowed that much!" speech. I even said "Look at me! I'm like really skinny... All the weight will even out when you add the luggage?!"

All of a sudden a man from my flight comes to my rescue. Out of no where! He knew what was going on because he was beside me listening to everything. He saved my life (or at least all the Christmas gifts I had in my suitcase for when I go back home). He talked to the check-in woman, grabbed one of my suitcases and said RUN! Twenty minutes left.

He was about ten yards ahead of me (I can't run too fast, despite what you may think haha) - screaming at me to hurry up! He took me to our airline office and somehow convinced everyone to let me take all of my things. I got it checked in as a LATE ARRIVAL. I was shaking... but I had no time to take a break because my flight, and his, was leaving in 5 minutes!!!

I made it somehow and got to Shanghai safe - with all of my things. As a present I gave him my boyfriend's CD and he gave me his business card - I have to email him another thank you soon!

I couldn't believe how cold it was when I got off the plane. My agents back in Shenzhen (I miss them) told me it would be a little bit chilly... but this was below 0 chilly! At first I thought I was getting hit by the airplane propeller winds, and when I was far from the plane and still cold I kinda wished I wasn't in Shanghai.

I had a really fun driver take me to the model apartment. He didn't speak more than five words of English but knew every lyric to the Bryan Adams cd he had on repeat for the whole 2 hour ride (wooo Canada)! I was singing along and staring out the window because I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

The lights, the architecture, the highways. It was unreal. I've never seen anything like this before. I felt like I was in the future - like in Back to the Future when Marty McFly is on his flying skateboard soaring through the air. I really that I was going to see something like that! I can't wait to see everything - especially the Yangpu and Nanpu Bridges (both have elevators and are the world's fourth longest and largest cable-stayed suspension bridges)! Cool, eh? I am in what is known as MODERN CHINA, but I like to see it as new and old China mixed together with elegant poise. You see it all... nothing is overshadowed by a big fully laser lit building. It's all put together so well.

My driver took me to the model apartment and I was welcomed by two new roommates. One girl is from Canada and the other from the Czech Republic ! How lucky am I to get to live with another Canadian model again?

They were really sweet to me - showed me to my room and drew a lil' map for me so I could buy groceries the next day when they were off at work.

Drea in makeup
I ended up breaking my key into the lock... *errr* What a great first impression I made calling my agent at 10am begging him to come save me! A whole new lock had to be put on the door lol! But I did find the grocery store okay hehe...

Castings started the day after.

There are a lot more models here compared to Shenzhen. Then again, Shanghai has to be the capital of Fashion in China. We have about 3 vans that pick us up everyday and take us to a full long day of castings! I was so tired the first day... I couldn't believe we were out seeing clients for 13hours - each studio is an hour away from the first - so you don't see too many clients, you just see a lot of the van! I had a good feeling about being here.

The models here are a lot different than what I'm used to seeing. The girls come in all shapes and sizes, different heights etc... It doesn't seem to be as strict as other places I've been to. At first I was really confused, I didn't think I was at the right casting. The clients here don't care if you're rail thin or have "that look" that's in at the moment. So it's fair game for everyone which makes me happy. The clients here look for... that glow we all have inside of us. But some let it shine a little bit brighter than others. That's who will get the job. If the clients like you enough they will book you and "modify" their collections for the shoot - for example they will sew up a new pair of pants so they fit you to the T, or pin up the clothes if they're too big.

After a day of castings I booked and worked two jobs this week. (yippie!).

One was for a look book and the other a beauty editorial for a happening magazine in China. I can't wait to see them! But more...I can't wait to see where Chinese Fashion will be in a few years. The designers, photographers, makeup artists, art directors are beyond talented. Their training comes from all over Europe and Asia. The magazines and editorials flabbergast me (flabbergast is such an ugly word!). It's still very new, but I believe this place will be the place to be in no time. I kind of relate it to Canada in that perspective. So much talent...but not enough recognition. I miss Canada so much by the way... It is my favourite place to model.

I asked so many questions at my jobs this week and took notes because I'm curious like that. There is a line of makeup here called SHU UEMURA that all you Canadian makeup artists and models have to try! Everything from the colours, to the textures is out of this world. I learned it's a fav of many celebrities here and all over the world.

Tomorrow I'm invited to a big Christmas dinner all the models here organized prior to my arrival. The girls have been so great to me since I got here! We are all making a dish - I can't wait to try food from all over the world on one big table - so I better get going and figure out what I can make on a double ring stove?! Haha!

I don't know how long I will stay here for...

I had some other plans in mind... but I'm glad I took the opportunity to come here before leaving China. I wish I could have all of you here with me... if you get a chance to go to China, take it! The people, the food (which is so cheap and so good!), the sights, the agencies, the models... ahh so many things! Just wonderful.

Missing you all and once again, Happy Holidays!



More to follow...

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