Naomi Chin Wing used to hate New York City. Born and raised in Trinidad, where the sun shines year-round, her disdain for the city was understandable, especially having arrived in January, as she was just about to take on fashion month for the first time. “It was freezing cold, and I was like, ‘What is this? I don’t like this weather,’” Chin Wing laughs. “It was my first winter. Now that it’s not as cold, I’m enjoying it. It’s nice, but I still don’t love it.”
Her breakout moment actually occurred the season before: The 18-year-old model was cast to walk exclusively in the Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 2018 show in Paris, which, essentially launched her modeling career. She took on couture next and graced the runways at Dior Haute Couture, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier Couture, and Valentino Haute Couture. Then, for the Fall/Winter 2018 ready-to-wear season, she walked in a whopping total of 26 shows across New York, London, and Paris (she was sick in Milan, unfortunately, and had to sit that one out), including Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Off-White, and Alexander McQueen.
After an incredibly busy season, CR sat down with Chin Wing on how she hopes to use her platform for good, her dream runway, and how the industry is changing.
Did you always know you wanted to be a model?
No, it wasn’t even on my radar when I was younger. When I was 15 years old, I started to think about it because everyone said I should be a model. But it wasn’t until my mom said, ‘Yes,’ that I considered it.
How did your career start?
I did a modeling workshop that summer, and there was a competition that I won somehow. I wasn’t trying. I just wanted to go home. In the end, I got signed to an agency, and on my 16th birthday, I was signed to IMG London. I’m based in London for now, but I’m trying to figure out where the best place to be because I want to be close to my mom [who’s in London for now, but will move back to Trinidad].
You walked in so many shows this season—what was that like?
I got sick during New York Fashion Week. I had two root canals, and then I got bronchitis in Milan, so I missed Milan entirely, but I finished strong in Paris. I was still recovering in Paris, but I pushed myself to go to castings. I’m trying not to get sick next season, so I can do the full cycle.
What did you do to keep your energy up?
I feel like I should take better care of myself when I’m sick. But I have a drive during fashion week—I won’t stop until I get to every casting. Other girls will be like, “Oh I can ditch it,” but I try to do them all. I feel like I can’t miss one. I don’t drink coffee, and if I don’t have time to eat lunch, I’ll buy a pack of M&Ms, and that will keep me going until I’m home.
Who are your role models?
Naomi Campbell, of course—she has the same name as me! Adwoa Aboah, Winnie Harlow, the people who have a platform and use their platform to speak out against injustice and promote diversity. I’m trying to branch out into activism, but at the same time, I don’t want backlash. Hopefully next year, I’ll maybe have a voice. It’s a big leap. I feel like girls who are my complexion don’t have much of a voice or someone to speak on their behalf. If I have the opportunity, I would because I think people should learn about our culture and not just try to make us Eurocentric, like relaxing your hair.
How do you think the modeling industry is changing?
It’s changing. In Paris two seasons ago, it was me and another girl with dark skin. This season, there were a lot more girls of dark skin. I think it’s changing and they’re becoming more open to it, and they’re finally accepting the melanin.
Did you have a surreal pinch-me moment?
I was at Victoria Beckham for a fitting, and this guy asked, “How are you? Are you good?” And it was only after he left, I realized it was David Beckham. I had to ask the casting director to make sure. It’s weird because this time last year I was not in this position to meet these people. It’s crazy how much changes in the course of a year.
What are your dreams?
At this point, it’s to create a better life for me and my family, because where we come from, we don’t have much. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, so creating a safe space for my family is one of my biggest goals. It hard not having the money for school books, for shoes. It’s hard seeing your parents struggle. I’m doing this for myself and for my family.
And your dream runway?
Victoria’s Secret because it reminds me so much of the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival back home, with all the feathers and big pieces that they have on their backs. It’s literally the Carnival on a stage. I can’t go to Carnival because of New York Fashion Week, but if I can do that show, it would be amazing.
prev link: https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a20887727/now-casting-naomi-chin-wing/
createdAt:Wed, 23 May 2018 18:34:19 +0000