Instagram is full of neverending content and models. Our guess is that you’ve scrolled to Zhen Li’s account, and you most likely stayed there and checked out what she has to offer. Zhen Li leaves an everlasting impression and with her humbleness and desire to grow not only as a model but also person, we’re all in for a real treat for years to come with her.
When did you know that you wanted to become a model?
Zhen Li: I knew that I wanted to model since I was a senior in high school. My boyfriend is a photographer and I became his muse and fell in love with it!
Were you inspired by and/or looked up to anybody in the modeling industry when you first started?
Zhen Li: When I first started modeling I looked up to a lot of import models haha. When I first started to take modeling seriously, I was interested in doing import modeling, but obviously, my objectives have changed since. I mainly looked up to Ashley Vee, Vicki li, and Marie Madore.
What was your experience like during the early stage of your career?
Zhen Li: During the early stage of my career I was honestly really shy. I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t have much guidance or anything at all really. It definitely helped me break out of my shell though and was really a live and learn trial era. It opened my eyes to a whole new world and helped me learn the importance of how to connect with other models and photographers.
Did you have to overcome any challenges or obstacles during your career?
Zhen Li: Most definitely! My main challenge/ obstacle that I had to get over was myself, to be honest. I had to get out of the mindset of failure and fear. It’s helped me to just say “fuck it” to something’s and just do it. Nothing is going to fall into your lap overnight. You have to put yourself out there, be confident, and stay positive.
What do you like/dislike about modeling?
Zhen Li: One thing that I really hate about modeling is some of the men that it attracts. The nuance that I try to portray when I model is always a positive and uplifting one, and when I get feedback and comments from men who just objectify women no matter what they have to say or stand for is really saddening, and they still see us as just objects. They don’t respect us and don’t try to get to know who we are behind the photos.
Are there any companies/publications that you would like to work with but haven’t yet?
Zhen Li: There are so many companies that I would love to work with! When I collaborate with a company/ business I always do my research to see what and who I will be working with. I only work with companies where if I am a consumer I know that I will like what they stand for or what they are selling. Big clothing brands, product companies, honestly no matter how big or small it is. I would love to work with Fashion Nova, Pretty Little Thing, Nike, Adidas Originals, ect!
Everyone sees ”highlights” on social media and the exciting moments. Tell me, what does it really take to be a model these days and be successful?
Zhen Li: Honestly, I’m obviously not there yet haha. But what I believe takes to be a successful model is confidence, hard work in the right places and patience. Knowing how to network with people will also get you very far, people know people! I also believe that having an uplifting spirit and not being jealous or putting others down is important. What you put into the atmosphere and this world is what you will get out of it.
In the next few years, what do you want to achieve?
Zhen Li: In the next few years I want to be able to travel with modeling. I want to be a platform and be able to inspire others to do what they love and how to work hard in the right places to get them where they want to be.
Would you change or do anything different in your modeling career?
Zhen Li: If I’m being honest with myself one thing I would have changed or done differently when I first started was to not be so inconsistent. I was and at the moment still, being inconsistent. I had doubt in myself, which can be very dangerous when you’re trying to pursue something. And I would definitely change that because I feel like I would be much farther than where I am now.
What can people expect to see from you in the future?
Zhen Li: In the future people can expect me to be traveling and working with a lot more companies! Hopefully, if things go right, I will be where I have the goals set for myself.