Model Nguyen Xuan Lan

Top model Nguyen Xuan Lan performs onstage at a Thanh Nien’s Duyen Dang Viet Nam Charming Vietnam) gala in Ho Chi Minh City

From the catwalk to the big screen, Xuan Lan has conquered it all.

Nguyen Xuan Lan says she has always been obsessed with modeling. From a young age, Lan longed for a life in the spotlight and despite initially embarking on a more traditional career path, the call of fame was too alluring for the aspiring fashionista to ignore.

“I majored in banking, but my passion for modeling was so great I couldn’t resist. I started my job as a model in 1994, but [struggled with] a lack of experience and [societal] prejudice against models,” Lan told Thanh Nien Daily.

Tall but not traditionally beautiful, Lan failed to stand out amongst a sea of other girls. She needed something that would grab everyone’s attention. The turning point in her career came when Lan decided she would get a bold new haircut. Like magic, people began to notice the tenacious up-and-comer and she gained the recognition she so desperately sought.

“I had to find my own way to survive in such a fierce environment and to earn fame. You can’t be remembered unless you create your own distinctive style,” says Lan.

The 170-cm-tall model also enhanced her professional knowledge about the modeling world by reading all the foreign-language fashion magazines she could get her hands on. “I got into modeling with the desire to pose on the runway. And more than that, I wanted to prove to my family that I could be financially independent with my ability,” she says.

Lan eventually went on to overseas fame and participated in several high-profile fashion shows. While working in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Japan and China, Lan says she gained valuable experience from foreign models. “But above all, I had the chance to become more independent and appreciate my country’s identity a lot more” she says.

Since 2001, Lan has won several prizes for her beauty and poise. At the Miss Vietnam Photogenic 2002 competition, the top model offered the best response during the interview round and also won in the category of Best in Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional tunic). In 2003 at the Changzhou International Fashion Models festival, Lan was ranked in the top 10.

At Miss Super Model Shanghai 2004, Lan took the Impression Prize. Viewers were most appreciative of her performance titled “Feather,” featuring a costume by renowned designer Cong Tri. Lan was also honored with the Impressive Performance award in Vietnam’s Model of the Year 2006 contest.

An eye on business

Following her success in the modeling world, Lan decided to try her hand at acting. She was cast in the 2004 blockbuster Nhung co gai chan dai (Leggy girls), directed by Vu Ngoc Dang, and received critical praise for her performance.

The model-turned-actress then went on to star in a host of other plays and films, leading to yet another great accomplishment – the establishment of her own modeling and event-planning company. Named La La, after Lan’s nickname, the founding of the company marked a milestone in her career.

Lan’s company has now organized many prestigious fashion shows across the nation and continues to grow.

“I prefer my new image as a business person, though modeling will always be a part of my life. I once [found happiness] with my own runway shots, and now it is my pleasure to guide and train other young models to walk confidently as I used to,” says Lan.

“That is what I want to do for my entire life. You have to be fresh every single day and create something new so that you can attain more success.”

After more than a decade in the industry, Lan says she has experienced countless ups and downs in both her professional and personal life, but it has only made her stronger.

“I have been recently under a lot of pressure. Work and rumors [about her personal life] have never been tougher to deal with than now she says.But I need to get through this. I can’t wait to do something different and be someone different.
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