RuruGurl Gaze Beijing
25 July 2019
I met Ruru in Beijing and we wandered around the city via its sidestreets and alleyways. Ruru presented to me the city's history as well as the energy of Beijing's burgeoning youth culture.
What are some things that you’d like to share with us about yourself?
Ruru: Hi, everyone. My name is Luyao Chang. You can call me Ruru. I am a person of Chinese-descent, born in Japan. Right now, I am a model as well as a senior college student majoring in Art History.
How did you settle on your current style? Does the city of Beijing have any impact on that?
Ruru: I think my style hasn’t really been fixated on just one thing. I think most of my clothes are vintage pieces. At first, I started wearing vintage clothes because I didn’t like wearing the exact same clothes as others, and besides, they are super cheap! Later on, I began to love the culture of vintage clothes and thrift shops, and all they represent.
Some of my vintage clothes aren’t even bought from stores; I found them in my house. This could probably be related to the city as the subculture in Beijing is very unique. It’s fascinating and prolific in its own way. Many young people and elders here aren’t afraid to be themselves at all.
The majority of your Instagram posts are selfies. How do you like being in front of the camera? What is it about modelling that you enjoy?
Ruru: This depends on whether it’s work or hanging out with friends. If it is a work-related photoshoot, I will cooperate accordingly with the photographer, and bring the clothes (or the theme) of the photoshoot to life. On the other hand, I probably would not consider it as much in daily life. I would just display my natural true self.
I personally love fashion and clothing. Being a model allows me to put on all kinds of garments, and I really enjoy seeing myself transforming into other figures. I, myself, am also an art student, so in my belief, photographers, designers, makeup artists, stylists and models – everyone involved in the photoshoot – are finessing one art project altogether. It is very exciting and honourable for me to create an art project with other talents.
How did you start your career in modelling? Are there any new discoveries about the industry now that you are an insider? Have you discovered anything new about yourself?
Ruru: The first turning point was back in my sophomore year of college. A senior was looking for untrained models for her graduate fashion show and I was one of them. After that, I gradually started modelling for other fashion design students from my school. At one of the photoshoots, the makeup artist felt like I fit the criteria for the agency that represents me now. So, she recommended me to this agency and I signed the contract with them after several interviews.
My modelling career started not so long ago. My opinion regarding the modelling industry would be my habit to nitpick my own flaws in terms of my appearance; such as my height. Now I realize those aren’t as important as I thought they’d be. In terms of exploring myself, I figured I could challenge myself with different styles, such as streetwear. I didn’t have much chance before but recently I got put-on to streetwear due to work. I feel like it is something I’d like to try more in the future.
‘Internet celebrities’ (or ‘influencers’) have transformed identities into a profitable business. In your opinion, how do you define “influencer”? And what sort of influence do the influencers actually have on their audience?
Ruru: The meaning of ‘internet celebrity’ to means people who got viral or became known by the public online. The range of platforms they use could be very wide. These ‘internet celebrity’ figures can bring entertainment and experiences to their audience, and maybe some information.
Nowadays, people are prone to expressing themselves via social media accounts. This could be through make-up, photography, outfits, and so on. In this climate, how do you think people’s perception of beauty has shifted?
Ruru: Because of the internet, the ways in which we receive information have increased vastly. I think people’s perception of beauty has also become more flexible and diverse. Beauty should not be only restricted to looks, it should also be about attitude, uniqueness, and the personality of the individuals.
Try to recall a time before the internet. What did you think “women’s beauty” was like back then? How do you define it now?
Ruru: It feels like our generation grew up in the era of the internet. To be honest, I cannot really remember a time before it. However, I think before the internet had come around, the public’s view of “women’s beauty” was based on the lady’s aura and elegance under the male gaze. I think in modern society, “women’s beauty” is every woman’s individual glamour. It can be any incorporeal form, really.