Wen at New York Fashion Week, September 2013
January 27, 1988 
|Ethnicity||Han Chinese |
|Website||Official instagram account of Liu Wen|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Manager||The Society Management (New York City)
Storm Model Management (London)
Elite Model Management (Milan & Paris)
Liu Wen (simplified Chinese: 刘雯; traditional Chinese: 劉雯; pinyin: Liú Wén; born January 27, 1988) is a Chinese fashion model represented by The Society Management and based in New York City. She is the first model of East Asian descent to walk the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, the first spokesmodel of East Asian descent for Estée Lauder and the first Asian model to ever make Forbes magazine's annual highest-paid models list. In 2012, The New York Times named her "China’s first bona fide supermodel".
In an April 2014 article about social media's rise in the fashion industry, American Vogue remarked that she had "by far, the biggest social-media audience of any model". Models.com dubbed her as the first ever Asian "New Supermodel" in July 2014. And in October of the same year, Liu became the first person in the world to showcase an Apple Watch on a magazine cover when she appeared on Vogue China's November 2014 issue.
An only child, Liu was born into a working-class family on January 27, 1988, in Yongzhou, Hunan. In her teens, her mother encouraged her to be professional, eat well, and enter the modeling contest, which led to Liu's discovery. Liu originally planned to work as a tour guide.
Early career and success
Liu started her modeling career in 2005 when she entered the New Silk Road World Model Contest, a contest previously won by international covergirl Du Juan. Although she did not win the competition, Liu soon began working full-time as a model, eventually becoming a national success story after working with fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar that are popular in China.
In September 2007, Liu caught the attention of the international fashion industry when she shot an editorial in clothes designed by Karl Lagerfeld and Viktor and Rolf and would later walk for both of those brands. She was invited to Paris in 2008 to sign with an agency and participate in Paris Fashion Week.
In February 2008 she appeared in four fashion-related articles for Chinese Vogue. She debuted on international runways in the same month, walking for Burberry and closing the fall Trussardi show in Milan. The week after, she walked for Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Hermès in Paris. A year later in February and March 2009, Liu Wen appeared in 74 shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris for the Fall 2009 ready-to-wear season — this was the highest number shows for a model in that season. It also remains the record for the most shows ever walked by a model of Asian descent in a single season. She followed that up with the Spring 2010 ready-to-wear season, walking 70 shows in the same four cities. This statistic made her the second most booked model for the season following French model Constance Jablonski.
Liu has appeared in campaigns for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Oscar de la Renta, Hugo Boss, Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, H&M, Marni, Lane Crawford, Bergdorf Goodman, Diesel, Gap, and Vivienne Tam. Her record for a single season is seven including DKNY Jeans, The GAP, Barneys New York, Benetton, Alexander Wang, Converse, and cKone in Spring 2009. She has been featured as the only female in major Vogue editorials for Vogue Germany, Vogue Espana, Vogue China, Vogue Italia, British Vogue and American Vogue. She has also been featured in editorials for Numéro (as well as a cover), GQ, V magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Pop Magazine, Allure, i-D (as well as a cover), Interview, and W.
In 2009, Liu became the first woman of Chinese descent to walk in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Liu also participated in the 2010 show. Liu said that she was somewhat surprised to be chosen because most Victoria's Secret models "have big boobs".
In April 2010, it was announced that Liu along with Constance Jablonski and Joan Smalls would help to represent the cosmetics company Estée Lauder. In March 2012, the New York Times featured Liu Wen on the cover and in the main feature for their Style "T" Magazine's Travel Issue, and she was dubbed "China’s first bona fide supermodel". In the same year, she attended the Cannes Film Festival for the first time. In Spring 2013, Liu Wen was dubbed one of "The New Icons" by H&M for her widely admired street-style.
In 2013 she also became the first Asian to be in the top 5 on Forbes's list of the world's highest-paid models, as number 5. She repeated the feat in 2014, with her salary rising from $4.3 million the previous year to $7 million. Also in 2013, Liu gained a rank of #3 on the Top 50 Models Women List by Models.com. She is the highest-ranked model of Asian descent in history. In July 2014, Models.com elevated her to the status of "New Supermodel", the first Asian model to ever receive that honor. She remains on that list as of February 2015.
Liu Wen has garnered a heavy social media following on platforms such as Instagram and Weibo. The immensity of her audience led American Vogue to dub her as a leader in the digital movement, saying in their April 2014 issue that "Liu also has, by far, the biggest social-media audience of any model". For Vogue China's November 2014 issue, Liu became the first person to ever to wear an Apple Watch on the cover of a magazine. For the feat, she received vast recognition for being an ambassador in the era of fashion's crossover with technology.
In the past, Liu has said that after modeling she might enjoy working as a stylist or, were the opportunity to arise, as an actress—she feels that modeling and acting have much in common, but for now she enjoys modeling and working in the fashion industry. She has stated that she knows that, as a career choice, working as a fashion designer or stylist would be "very hard work", but she is now more seriously considering becoming a stylist because she would like "to share her fashion style—tomboyish, vintage, and comfortable—with the world".
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