"I'm too tall," Du Juan said, explaining her change from ballet to professional modeling. "Being 1.79 meters tall, I'm not suited to dancing with a partner." Having left the ballet stage, the 20-year-old now appears on the catwalk as a spokesperson for beauty.
During her early kindergarten days, Du made her debut in a children's modeling competition. Wearing clothes she designed herself and copying the fashion models on TV, the little girl won the applause and laughter of the audience. Her outstanding performance won her second place among the contestants from the Jing'an District of Shanghai. While she was participating in another children's modeling competition, a ballet school picked her out among the participants. Out of curiosity, Du began to learn
ballet. Later, she was admitted to the Shanghai Dance School.
Her seven years of arduous and bitter training at the dance school tempered her, so when she became a model, she felt no discomfort, even when subjected to intense drilling and heavy tasks. Her coddled peers, on the other hand, often complained about their suffering. Compared with ballet practices, which many times agonized Du and brought her to tears, training as a model has given her light-hearted experiences. Thanks to her strict and demanding ballet training, though, Du has distinguished herself with her perfect shape and elegant demeanor.
"I want to realize my own value," said Du. In the summer of 1999, although her parents were hoping she would become a dance teacher, Du challenged herself by entering a model photography competition in Shanghai and won third prize. Shortly after that, she participated in the 1999 Ford Super Model Competition and won first place in the East China Region.
In 2002, Du, then 19, entered a competition that is annually held by the China New Silk Road Model Agency and won first prize.
Looking at her photos, one is easily impressed by her doll-like eyes, which are radiantly bright. Today, her beauty and charm have been recognized in the modeling world.
(China Pictorial April 18, 2003)