Friday, August 24, 2012

Beauty Factory (Really, really old news!)

Nanjing Morning sprang from a premature spurt of Nanjing-ward enthusiasm... there's actually still another week before I get there. Yep. And I don't even update it in the "morning". It's all a lie.

So while I pack, apply for my visa and flip through HSK vocabulary lists, let's embrace the lie with some more Harbin pictures!

This one's from last November. While wandering around downtown Harbin near Zhongyangdajie (the Center Street) we ran into about forty freezing cold girls, dressed somewhere on the scale from Modern Bride to Sexy Halloween Something. Sneaky spy-work revealed that we were watching our province's preliminaries for the "International & Professional Model Contest of Beauty Factory".

As a longstanding fan of America's Next Top Model, I was quite excited. Were they smizing?!! (No; they were generally trying to open their eyes as wide as possible, emulating the obsessive-paramour stare of most Chinese ad models).

America's Next Top Model contestants only get ONE photographer. Above and beyond!
The girls in the cooler dresses had five or six dudes with fancy cameras and ridiculous lenses clustered around them, whereas a model dressed in basically a slimmed-down and sexed-up security guard uniform only had two. Hardly fair. In a culture with such specific ideals of femininity, I'd be mad if I were dolled up in hunter green Dockers and an arm-patch when missy up there's coquetting in a wedding gown.

Gotta take my hat off to those two photographers, though, that's some nice light.
Image courtesy "Optimistic Old Man" on BBS.
Some camera-savvy oldster ran into them posing next to the Sofia Cathedral, and snapped a few pictures. Note the traditional Chinese banner pose; your group is not official unless you have a printed banner, and that doesn't count for anything until you all pose holding it. A national landmark is best. These girls really knocked it out of the park!

He posted it to the Harbin BBS, a local sub-board of the gigantic nation-wide messageboard service. Other posters remarked on the contestants' beauty and cold-hardiness, which I'd think would go without saying for Heilongjiang girls. But I guess you need to make conversation on message boards.

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