Most models don’t have a formal education in their profession, but Huan Yang, the star of Dries Van Noten’s runway today, is far from ordinary. A student-athlete back home in Liaoning province, China, she excelled at track and field before enrolling in a local modeling school. Since then she’s gone from student to runway champ, walking Alexander Wang, Julien Macdonald, and today’s Dries Van Noten extravaganza in Paris. When we caught up with her recently, prior to Fashion Week, Huan Yang shared her love of Britney Spears songs (“I Wanna Go” is a favorite), Outlander books, and the constant pace of her day job. Get to know five facts about this rising star before you start seeing her everywhere.
1. Want to learn about fashion? Watch some documentaries.
“After I watched the documentaries In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye and The September Issue, it really gave me access to understanding the process of how those amazing pictures are made. I am still new in this industry, so everything for me is exciting, and I am looking forward to experiencing more.”
2. Like anything else, modeling requires studying and a little help from your squad.
“I was a tomboyish girl, doing sports with the boys, but because I am so tall, I went to a modeling school in China. I have to say working with my agents has been the most fun this month. We worked as a team to pick the outfits, practice the walk, the pose; they are the real heroes behind me.”
3. Blondes don’t always have more fun.
“I have to say the transformation of my hair to blonde for Alexander Wang was the most exciting thing. I spent two days in the salon before the show, but I was so impressed by how creative [Guido Palau]’s team is, and how patient they are on every detail. On my way to Pier 94 it started raining. There was no cab I could take, but I didn’t want to be late, so I was walking in the rain for 10 minutes, and my hair was soaking wet. But it was worth it to see myself in the show.”
4. Her first stop in Paris? The famed flea market Porte de Clignancourt Les Puces.
“I love trying all kinds of food, so when I don’t have to work, I will go to the flea market and try out everything that looks good!”
5. She has a keepsake from every show.
“It has been such an adventure, I’ve been so lucky: Just to be there and watch how everyone works is fascinating. [I save] my fitting photos from the boards; they’re such great memories!”