“Gold Partners”: Chinese Car Model Discusses Fishnets and Sexism

 “Gold Partners”: Chinese Car Model Discusses Fishnets and Sexism
Sep 30, 2012 By eChinacities.com

Editor's note: The following was translated and edited from an article that appeared on the Sohu news website. It follows part-time model Yan Yu, whose fishnetted chest attracted special attention at the 2012 Chengdu Car Expo, and subsequently on the internet. The article reveals her personal attitudes concerning the fishnet, sexism, and the modeling profession in modern Chinese society.


September 15, Chengdu's Wanda Plaza. A beautiful young woman sits coiled up on the floor, looking somewhat out of place, dressed like she's on the runway. A crowd forms, and suddenly her long legs and tall, slim figure are unmistakable. "Hey, isn't she that model from the car show?"

Car shows in China have become notorious for their nearly-nude models, making it increasingly difficult to focus on the main event. At the last event in Chengdu, one young woman in fishnet (and pretty much nothing else) seemed to steal the show from even the famous actors in attendance. "Chengdu Car Show or Chengdu Boobie Show?" ran the headlines the next day.

Who are these women? Where do these women come from? As it turns out, many are moonlighters: Students, teachers, and white-collar workers by day; catwalk prowlers by night. But stripping off your clothes is nothing compared to stripping off your self-respect. For many of the women, the road to overnight success is paved with bad intentions.

3,000 RMB and a boob job; all in a day's work

The woman on the floor is 24-year-old Yan Yu (颜瑜). Her name probably doesn't ring any bells, but her breasts might; you may have seen them on the internet clad in fishnet at a Chengdu car exhibition. For Yan, posing half-naked next to cars wasn't exactly what she had in mind for a career path.

Recalling the car show in Chengdu, Yan Yu remembers sitting backstage wearing a long rice-colored skirt and blue overcoat playing with her cell phone while waiting for her third appearance of the day. Her boss, who's over forty, short and balding, came backstage and asked to speak with her privately outside. Suddenly, noticing her casual attire, he barked at her for not dressing sexy enough for the board of directors: "You're here to attract a crowd right? We're paying you 4,000 RMB and you walk around dressed like this? In Shenzhen they go butt naked for 3,000 and a boob job. Are you a professional or not?"

Yan Yu said later she'd be crazy to get plastic surgery for just 3,000 RMB. She also said she'd never been spoken to like that before. According to Yan, her boss, the chairman, probably sees showing more skin as a win-win situation for the car company and the models: "Bolder is better, I guess." Yan Yu is hesitant to comply, but the word "professional" is a powerful word coming from an older, richer man. "I care a lot about reputation. If I were to just walk off the job, they'd just hire someone else, and then I'd probably never get hired again."

A female assistant standing nearby pulls something made of silicone and fishnet out of a small pile of clothes. Aside from a few strategically placed patches of silicone, the outfit leaves nothing to the imagination. "Please," says the assistant, "Just wear this for now. When the chairman leaves you can change again. Just do it or I'll get fired, really! Just for 20 minutes, let him see the reaction from the crowd." Yan realized the worker was probably the same age as her.

It was too much for Yan, who says she's the type of person who always gives money to beggars on the street. She put the outfit on nonetheless. "I thought, well, it's only 20 minutes." She'd posed earlier next to a Ferrari wearing a short skirt and a deep V-neck. But in terms of total exposed surface area, that outfit couldn't hold a candle to this fishnet. "Whoa, check it out, this girl's wearing a see-through shirt!" a male voice shouted as soon as Yan appeared on stage. A crowd gathered in no time, mostly middle-aged men.

Few clothes, plenty of sleaze

"They all had the same dirty look on their faces." Yan pauses, choosing her words carefully. "When 20-something males look at her, maybe some will take a photo; that's normal," she says, "But when 30 and 40-somethings take cell phone pictures, they also tend to make lewd comments to their friends." Yan couldn't hear their voices above the hum of the crowd, but she knew they were obscene. Feeling incredibly uneasy, Yan turned around, trying to find something else to focus on. Her eyes found the cameraman and felt a little better. Here, at least was another "professional". Yan managed a superficial smile, hiding her discomfort, or so she hoped.

Finally the show neared its end. "Hey, do you know Gan Lulu (干露露)?" a reporter called out to her on her way backstage. "Yes, I know Gan Lulu…," Yan replied quietly. Gan Lulu is a controversial model, famous most recently for exposing most of her breasts at a car show, and defending it proudly later. Yan hung her head as security closed in to escort her backstage.

The "unwritten rules"

"Do you ever encounter any ‘unwritten rules' [潜规则]?" is a question Yan often hears from her friends outside the industry. Yan recalls a studio that wanted to cast her in a television drama. A representative from the studio approached her to ask if she would be willing to become "gold partners" ("黄金搭档") with the agent, the director, the producer, even the lighting technician. She asked him what he meant by "gold partner" ("黄金搭档"). He smiled, replying with a not-so-subtle dash of innuendo, "It means becoming more than business partners, more than friends. It's the only way people are going to want to help you in this business." Yan Yu refused as soon as she got the hint. She recommended one of her friends for the job however, who ended up getting only a small, non-speaking role.

It's all about the money

Yan Yu isn't strapped for cash. Together with her boyfriend and her family, she managed to buy an apartment and a Volkswagen car in 2009. In 2012, she traded it for a 1,000,000 RMB Porsche.
"I actually love being a model, I really do," says Yan.

Occasionally, some men will make moves even while she's not on the job. Once, on the street, a man in a car pulled up next to her, looked her over and simply asked "How much?" Yan Yu snapped back, "My car's better than yours; that money wouldn't even buy me a [male] prostitute."

"They treat women like objects. It's becoming more and more common these days; creepers just love throwing money at pretty girls like they're better than everyone else. I just think they're boring. And ugly, mostly." Yan looks satisfied after speaking her mind. And this time her smile isn't fake.

Source: Sohu News

Related links
Cash vs. Culture: How Sex Sells in China
Short Skirts, But No Flirts: Deciphering Chinese Women's Sexuality
Open For Interpretation: Sexual Harassment in the Chinese Workplace

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Keywords: car models China sexism in modeling industry China fishnet car model China

2 Comments

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1

flip
comment|32149|73449

Well I do appreciate this article yet I cant decipher the ultimate aim of this article. having to ponder over this for a while too, im still kept in oblivion to its true intent. Or am I just a dumb simpleton?
People are allowed to see near to total naked "bitches" in PUBLIC but cant even enjoy it on TV or the Internet in their own privacy which is more appropriate? WHAT'S GOING ON?
Moreover I find this article a bit misleading as it makes no mention of Yan's original career..........she conjured up a car by magic but thanks to booby-business she is now cruising a one-million-porsche.!!!!!! Notably of china, pomp and pageantry and ' blings' is all that matters, how people get them does not matter which is also ubiquitous in the rest of the world.
So a big bye to all that "TRADITIONAL HOAX ",and welcome to Modern china where poverty has become a cancer to values, , customs and culture at large.
And if I'm not wrong, then my advice to all the fiscally less endowed,beautiful and sexy young chinese lad, YAN can be your icon.
You Know what, even your professors cant manage 500000rmb car in 3 years, So go for it!!!!! its worth it and after all, you can also talk about your expensive cars and some petty lies. what a pity!!

Oct 02, 2012 17:19 Report Abuse

2

Satan
comment|32096|59072

Shut up, Jay.

Sep 30, 2012 19:03 Report Abuse