Meet I-Hua Wu, a Taiwanese model who we will surely be seeing much more of in the coming years.
According to Cosmopolitan, Wu has recently been named global ambassador for beauty company Maybelline, making her the “first Asian model to be a worldwide face for the brand.”
In an interview with New York Magazine’s The Cut, Wu explained that she never considered herself exceptionally beautiful. “I know I’m not terrible-looking, but I don’t think I’m as great as everyone seems to say,” she said.
In fact, being a model was the furthest thing from her mind. “I never thought about being a model. Since I was little, I was bullied because I was too tall, or different somehow — I’m not really sure. I didn’t have any friends and was ostracized. In junior high, I cried every single day,” she said.
Little did Wu know that her life would change in high school. “My mom saw a company was holding a modeling competition, sponsored by an agency. My mom signed me up,” she said. “It wasn’t to become a model; it was to meet other tall people like me. We went to China to compete, and I came in second.”
Since becoming a model, Wu told The Cut that her career has taught her how to become more self-confident, as well as how to move past her insecurities.
“…It’s helped me to build up a lot of confidence. Before, I used to be more shy and afraid of people. If there were a lot of people, I wouldn’t go up and talk to anyone. I wouldn’t even leave the house by myself. I would have to go with someone,” she explained.
While she sometimes still gets nervous when she’s around unfamiliar models, Wu shared with The Cut that her time working in the industry thus far has taught her how to “fake that confidence a little more.”
But that’s not the only way modeling has shaped Wu, according to Cosmopolitan — it has also helped her to see past confining beauty ideals.
“I saw that other people were beautiful, and it wasn’t because their skin was white or they were wearing special contact lenses,” Wu told The Cut. “It’s helped to see lots of different types of beautiful. It doesn’t matter if your eyes are big or your complexion is white — people don’t care. As long as you think you’re beautiful, you will be beautiful.”