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This is why you should cut your hair short this year

Not keen on short hair? Chinese model August Zhang's runway career took off after she cut off her locks!

In 2011, Chinese model August Zhang was all but ready to give up her runway dreams.

Though acknowledged by many as a beauty, she lacked that X factor that could help her stand out from the pack.

That changed when the 24-year- old made the decision to chop off her long hair.

"Before I cut my hair, I was not getting many modelling jobs and the path ahead was quite bleak," says Zhang. "I had a girl-next-door look and a clean and nice image. But I did not have a selling point that made me different from the rest."

Just as she was thinking about giving up her career as a model, she met celebrity hair stylist Kim Robinson.

"He told me that I should make a change and that I should cut my hair," says the 1.78m Zhang.

"The general impression is that models should have long hair. This gives you more opportunities for advertisements for products like shampoo or make-up. Having been a dancer before, I was also used to having long hair. It was not an easy decision," says Zhang, who trained in ballet as a child before her height prevented her from being part of a ballet troupe.

She adds: "After talking to Kim and listening to his advice, I decided to take the gamble.

"At the time, I did not understand what made me special as a model. I was unsure of my own quality. As I did not have much to lose, I made the decision to cut my hair."

It was the spark her career needed.

Immediately after that, the Chinese model secured a contract with European skincare and cosmetics brand Vichy, which is owned by beauty conglomerate L'Oreal.

She then started getting more jobs in Hong Kong, Paris and Japan.

Zhang's star has since continued to rise. Based in New York since late last year, the Nanjing native is currently signed with top modelling agency Wilhelmina Models of New York City.

She recently debuted at Paris Fashion Week, walking for independent fashion brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Jarret, Novis and Oscar Carvallo.

She was picked to be one of the faces for Yves Saint Laurent's Pop Up Your Lips campaign last year.

Zhang says: "The cut gave me more job opportunities.

"Having short hair made me more edgy and gave me the distinct look that I needed to stand apart.

"But it also changed my whole attitude. When I had long hair, I think I was more timid. I used to over-think things.

"But after the cut, I definitely have greater confidence and spunk."

 

A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on January 7, 2016. For more stories like this, head to www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.

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