An up-and-coming 23-year-old model shares a few of her modeling experiences and favorite things from fashion designers to favorite New York hangouts, along with some worthwhile advice for young girls wanting to break into the business with our online fashion guru, Chris Trinidad.
Karmay Ngai is a 23 year old Chinese beauty who has been modeling internationally in Asia and London before becoming a full-time Wilhelmina Model here in NYC for the past 3 months. Her portfolio includes stunning looks as for Vfiles and ELLE Beauty Magazine China.
Where are you from? I’d say I am from Hong Kong; I have lived in Shanghai for the past 10 years. Let’s just say that I am from China. (Laughs…)
What do you love about modeling? I adore the network of people I get to be in touch with almost every day. The diversity of people enhances my knowledge and constantly boosts up my own self-awareness.
Seeing the results is one of the best parts, too. … Just how the whole process of creating a few images could take so long I never thought of it before, and, therefore, [I] very much appreciate it when it comes out. (Laughs…)
Modeling also keeps me in touch with my body. I can be really sloppy from time to time, but now that it’s my job, I make sure I am putting on all these lotions, hair products, nice [manicures] fingers, getting enough beauty sleep, laying flat on bed when I sleep, sit up straight, shoulders back when I walk.
What are your favorite styles and for what occasions? Honestly, I am not so sure how to state different styles yet … I have never been sensitive toward different kinds of fashion styles. I really like black-laced dresses, though …[it’s] a bit gothic. I never really dress like that at all, though. I think trying to discover clothes that would allow me to wear them on several occasions. Dinner, drinks, party, date. I think I like the English style. Maybe. I’m not sure. (Laughs…)
Who are your favorite designers and why? The past three months of full-time modeling, I’ve picked up a few local designers from Shanghai. Some of them have online stores. I like some in a shop named “Dong Liang.” I am slowly getting educated on this part of the world. But I love Anna Sui and BCBG.
What do you like to wear when you’re not working? Let’s say if I’m on holiday and certain that I won’t be called for sudden castings … that is just a pure relief for me. I dress for comfort. So, on top of suiting my taste, it’s to be comfortable! I like big wool tops, mittens and anything that’s floaty.
What’s your Favorite piece of clothing? I would say this gold skirt I bought recently from BCBG. I never liked gold before. This is actually my first piece of gold clothing. It’s so floaty when I walk in it. I love it.
What’s been your favorite modeling experience so far? It’s has to be shooting with one of my best friends, Kyle (KeLe). We were complete strangers when we first shot together. We were only classmates, not even from the same major. He was working on a photo shoot project and spotted me to be his model, and that’s my first time with the experience of being a model. As we work together more and more, I find myself capable of being myself and moving around, expressing and deliver the emotions so much freer. That is actually what I am aiming for right now when I’m working with different photographers — being able to deliver and open up immediately.
Craziest modeling experience? Ah … Shooting underwater … As pretty as the results look, wearing clothes underwater, holding your breathe and, at the same time, making sure you are floating at a right height, plus maintaining eyes open … Ha, it was crazy. I choked myself crazy.
How would you describe yourself in three words? Creative, Determined, Open-minded
Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life? My mother.
What is the best part of your hometown/country? Food. It’s over loaded. It’s entertainment. Any time, anywhere, any kind. There’s always a reason to go eat and gather together at the table from half an hour to hours.
What’s your favorite thing to do downtown NYC? Exploring. All of New York is still very fresh to me. I’m glad I’m starting New York off by being a model, though. It allows me to tour the city and discover non-tourist places while doing my duties. I love vintage shops and unique coffee shops to hang out in. Those are the things I hunt for the most.
Do you have any favorite memories about working or hanging out downtown? Working with Vfiles was fun; shooting the “how to” video for NARS brought me into knowing how professional videoing is done. My first test shoot was actually very interesting, too. The makeup artist transformed my look in five minutes.
Are there any particular places Downtown that you love or like to escape to? I love going to the small park areas in Downtown, Washington Square Park, Union Square, and the vintage shops in the East Village.
What do you love most about modeling in New York? It’s pretty much the same as what I love about modeling: seeing and hearing from everyone and everything around you. It’s like an endless story that’s free to learn from.
What advice would you give to a young girl wanting to model? If you are studying, I suggest you get your studies done first. There’s no rush. Just keep your skin fresh. 23 years old is still very young and competitive. If not, then just give it a try. I cannot see how the job itself can influence anyone in a bad way at all. In fact, it might give you fresh ideas of what you might want to move onto later in your life.
Height: 178 cm / 5’10″
Nationality: American / Chinese
Date of Birth: November 23
Mother Agency: esee model management
NY: Wilhelmina New York
Paris: Metropolitan Models
Spain: View Management
Fun-loving Karmay was introduced to modeling when she agreed to help out a classmate when he needed a model for a project at school. Born in California, of Hong Kong Chinese descent, and having lived in Shanghai for over 10 years, this international girl has now been modeling for the past year and a half. Signed with Esee Models, Karmay has shot for the China and Hong Kong editions of Harper’s Bazaar, and has walked for designers like Timo Weiland at fashion week. Currently in New York with Wilhelmina, we’re hoping that this is just the beginning of a very bright future for Karmay.