Friday, September 22, 2006

down-to-earth glamour girl

Dinner with Ming on Wednesday. The last time I saw her was in NYC one year ago, and she is as luminous as ever.

Ming wore a fluttery white top that looked like wings. At some moments during dinner, when she talked about translating for her parents (who live in Chinatown and don't speak English), I got the weird sense that I was talking to an angel. Or an anime princess.

She graduated a couple years ago from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and is designing her own jewelry. She told me how hard it is to get attention from buyers. It seems they're inundated with budding designers trying to break into the industry.

"You work at a design firm!" I said. "Don't you form relationships with the buyers?"

"No, the salespeople do. They just bring me in to ask questions about my designs, and then I leave the room."

"But you're also a model! Surely you must meet fashion industry people during your shoots."

"Those aren't the buyers."

"Oh. That's tough then."

"But it's good to have something to aim for. If you have no challenges that you're working toward, then life loses some meaning."


She's lived in Brooklyn since she was eleven. I love that this Chinese fashion-industry glamour-girl will interject Mandarin conversation with Brooklyn slang. Talking about relationships over hot chocolate, at a post-dinner cafe:

Ming: "(in Mandarin) He thinks the woman should clean up after the man. I was like, (in english) Oh no you DIDN'T! What?! HELL no!"

I laughed so hard that people around us in the cafe turned to look at me.


While we were in line for the restroom:

Ming: "I was a tomboy growing up. (in Mandarin) When I was in grade school, the other little girls would come to me when a boy stole their things. Then I'd go over to him, (in english) 'Are you messin' with my girl?' I'd shove them and fight them."

Me: Did you win the fights?

Her: Naturally.

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