Asian models are tough to ignore, with all their leggy poses and arresting angles, but are you familiar with them by name? We’ve combed lists for some of our favorites, from the veterans to the newbies, and grabbed their best pics. Cupid lips, sleek-as-a-curtain hair, and high-fashion frames are a designer’s dream. Are they your dream, too?
Korean model Han Jin is another woman making New York a veritable model-fest. Known for her cheekbones and miles-long legs, she has a scary-good client list for runway shows and print ads. The highlight of her career so far has definitely been scoring not one, but two covers of Vogue Korea.
Kang has what would be considered a dancer’s body, with strength and a certain sense of delicacy playing off of one another. Her signature mole can’t help but be compared to Cindy Crawford’s, and she has some great cupid’s bow lips that will do her well in a cosmetic contract.
The best combination of smart and sexy, Malaysian model Angie Ng captivates with an often piercing gaze. Discovered in a shopping mall at the age of 16, Angie later moved to Kuala Lampur to study and get a handle on looking sexy for the camera. It sounds (and looks) like she excelled at both.
Chinese model Zhou has managed consistent and admirable work overseas and at home, and her runway credits contain big-time players like Christian Dior and Givenchy. Shanghai-born Zhou was the first model from Mainland China to be signed to IMG Models. Rice-flour skin and jet-black hair make for a stunning contrast.
Hyun Yi Lee
Androgynous Hyun Yi Lee is sometimes accused of not having an “interesting” enough face by naysayers, but isn’t a clean palette something that agents love to promote? Arresting with hair teased to the heavens and saucy in swimwear, Korean model Hyun Yi Lee is a leggy dream at 5’10”.
Sun Fei Fei
Sun Fei Fei, actress and model, has a certain fine-boned quality that makes her perfect for couture shoots and high fashion. With a nymph-like body like hers, she can still pull off the remarkably weird stuff with ease. Topless, conceptual, swimsuit, and standard: she’s done it all.
You might recognize Shu Pei from recent GAP F/W campaigns, but if not, we’ll get you up to speed. This Chinese model’s alabaster-perfect complexion, full and pouty lips, and killer cheekbones makes her the focus of many an up-close fashion editorial with mod makeup. It suits her well.
Japanese model Tae Okamoto has undeniable charm, with high-gloss hair making Fekkai wannabes drool. If someone looks good with a Dorothy Hamill haircut, then they’ll look damn good in textured minis, catsuits, and liquid leggings, sans top. With her cropped-short ‘do, there’s an Asian Twiggy vibe going on in several 2010 spreads.
Malaysian-Chinese model Ling Tan recently came out of retirement to walk Givenchy’s F/W show, and what a perfect return to the scene it was. Ling Tan was one of the most popular Asian models working in the late ’90s, and she has recently enjoyed another upswing in popularity. Plus, she has an equally-hot younger sister also signed to Elite. She’s always worn high fashion particularly well, and it’s hard to find models with the same elegance and order in all their shots.
Jihae Kim has some particularly dreamy eyes, making her a popular model in the portrait part of catalogs and women’s magazines. To say a model is approachable is often viewed as an insult, but in this case, take it as a testament to Kim’s radiant and friendly face. She’s the kind of person you’d ask for directions, and then ask out.
Chinese-born Liu Wen looks stunning in any situation, which is why you could recognize her from recent pages of J. Crew or perhaps Victoria’s Secret’s runway show. The first Chinese model to be asked to walk for V.S., she said at the time “I asked my agent if she was joking. I didn’t think an Asian girl would get this job.” We probably don’t need to point this out, but Wen has a gorgeously tawny complexion and a long, lithe frame.
Kang won the 2008 Ford Models Supermodel of the World contest and has since been seen in Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Korea, Teen Vogue, and Marie Claire. Versatile and yet still edgy, she can swing from sweet to tough in a split second. In other words, don’t let the cute smile fool you for a second—she’s chock-full of sass.
Danni Li’s unique beauty has made her a popular model for seasonal runway shows, as well as for out-of-the-box styling. She can give a dreamy stare into the camera at a moment’s notice and seems to enjoy keeping her lips parted in many an editorial—a sexy look for her that she shouldn’t drop.
Gwen Lu’s striking beauty isn’t put to waste in a pile of cutesy poses. This Malaysian-born model with a Chinese heritage has been able to pull off a tight platinum cropped cut for a season, and much of her past work was tough, edgy, and hard. The first agent who spied her followed her for a year until her working visa in the States was secured. Worth it!
Thai model Si Tanwiboon walked for Givenchy F/W and posed for Elle Paris in 2010. This relatively new model on the scene has a slightly more substantial frame than we’re used to seeing on Asian models. Her golden skin and insanely perky bust virtually guarantee that she’ll be sticking around in Paris.