- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13
This day was the longest day of the entire trip. Filming for our show took pretty much the whole day starting with rehearsal, running straight through to taping the first show with the first 7 of us and then sitting through the evening into late at night as the second half of us were taped. We were special guests invited to be part of a televised pageant show called 2013 Miss Fashion Chongqing where we battled it out as a team: USA vs China. As soon as they split us into 2 teams the day prior, I knew the game was rigged. I was placed on the team with more native Chinese speakers and just overall stronger abilities. Well, it was pretty obvious to everyone which team was going to “win” and which was destined to “lose”, but then again, we were told to not let the outcome affect our performances.
We were given a breakdown of the show and was told it involved 5 segments. The first segment was a choreographed group walk ending with an individual introduction. Next round was a General Knowledge of Chongqing Q&A in Chinese. Following that was another choreographed group swimsuit walk, then a talent showcase and finally formal-wear walk. We were scored as a team after each round and the score was tallied up in the end to choose the winner. The underdog was also given a chance at redemption in a series of mini-games at the end.
I was part of Team A, along with 6 other girls. We knew we had to bring out A-game since we were suppose to be the “winning” team. Even from the beginning, we received more coaching time, whereas Team B was told to train on their own. Of course we felt bad, but it was out of our control. Plus, Team B was even more motivated to make it hard for the judges to make that decision at the end. We were already rooting for Team B anyway but their strength and determination was truly inspiring; we really wanted them to win but also to make sure we win by a landslide.
Arriving at the filming studio as early as 7AM, we waited for the stage to be set up and ready for rehearsal. As we sat around anticipating the day to begin, we were all on the edge of our seats. I didn’t eat breakfast, nor did I have the appetite. There were many days like this one, which was probably why I lost over 10lbs over the course of the 2 weeks. I forced down an energy bar quickly and jumped right into rehearsing. We ran through our group walks several times with and without music. Lunch was bread from the nearby bakery, which I wasn’t interested in eating either. It wasn’t until around 2:30PM that we officially started taping. Before that was about an hour of makeup and another hour of waiting around. When we finally got to backstage, I was about ready to collapse from lack of sleep and food. Not the best state to be in… again.
Like a miracle, and no it’s not a cliche, when I stepped into the spotlight, everything simply faded into the background. My face, my body, everything went into autopilot. My brain just sat back and observed through the two openings that were my eyes. It was like I was there but not in full control; I was watching myself through first person scopes. I was killing it though.
I suspect the 7 of us were chosen to be in this group based on our catwalk. I’ve had 4 years of practice in college – each year starting as a freshman, I would be selected to walk in the fashion segment of all the cultural shows. You would think walking in heels would be second-nature to women, but you would be wrong. Every girl had struggled to walk in heels at some point. That awkward, unbalanced feeling of literally being on one’s tip-toes, wobbling from side to side, focusing one step in front of the other. Once you get the hang of a 4-inch, you move on to a 4.5 and finally to a 6-inch like these nude ones I was wearing from Steven Madden during some of the performances. The things we do to make ourselves look good…
This was the first segment where we all walk out and make individual introductions.
Following the introduction was our first group walk. Being second-shortest in the group has its perks. It means I was always the first or second to walk out.
In pageants, they teach you how to walk, stand and pose that’s actually somewhat different from a fashion show. There’s a mold that you fit yourself into, which is why you can always stereotype a pageant girl from a model. How you stand: hand on waist, same side leg bent facing forward with knees pointed at the direction of the camera, back feet form 40 degree angle, front side hip up and shoulders down. Vice versa for the other side. That’s the “stance” we’re in 100% of the time, unless we’re posing or walking, which is similar to catwalks.
The next segment was Q&A in Chinese where we were given the questions and answers ahead of time to memorize. I guess so we don’t embarrass ourselves on national television. I was selected to do this segment. Of course we were asked to not make it too obvious that we had known the answers ahead of time, so we needed to act “unsure” of our answers. I must say we were all pretty convincing with the exception of one time. Her justification for her response didn’t match the correct answer, in fact, it should have led her to pick another multiple choice. Of course knowing the answer meant she had to go against her own justification in order to pick the “right” answer. Luckily the MC let is slide.
We were tied for this round until one of the girls on the China team missed a question, giving us the win.
Round 3 was swimwear group walk. Notice the 6-inch heels please. This was a really fun round because we got to work with props, in our case, a toy rifle.
This was soooooooooo much fun. And what’s not to love about it, sexy girls with guns. HA! Of course we also took the win for this round. At this point, we’ve pretty much dominated the competition. So in order to make it seem more “fair” they gave the talent round to China team. Hey, I wasn’t part of the that so no hurt feelings on my end. Apparently though the judges brutalized 2 of our performances saying the costume looked like a page out of cowboy monthly digest. That’s harsh and it did make our girls cry; very uncalled for but that’s showbiz I suppose.
Post emotional breakdown, we all slipped into our evening gowns and came out one by one for our finale.
And the winner was, by a landslide, Team USA!!! Wooot!!
But wait, they do have a chance at the redemption round of mini games! It was a relay to see who can complete all 5 tasks first.
Task 1 – remove the tissue from the box as quickly as possible with only one hand
Task 3 – Stack and disassemble solo cups into a tower
Task 4 – Create a domino train using CD’s and knock the last CD over the edge of the table
Task 5 – Bounce the ping pong ball once on the table to get it into a tic-tac-toe formation cups of water
Yeah…. I didn’t do so well. Here we were scrambling to pick up the balls since I was running out… haha
In the end, Team China won the relay. Nevertheless, we were happy we won the competition.
I couldn’t be happier that we completed the filming and I can finally rest, but it was also sad that it was over. All that’s left to do is sit back and back our sister team go through the same rounds.
In the end, they lost. The other China team was very obviously much much better. Better walks, attitude and appearance. But still, Team USA did superbly and won the rounds that we weren’t able to win. In some ways, we complement each other.
It was midnight by the time we got back to our hotel room and I was simply too exhausted to talk or even eat; straight to sleep! Zzzzz….
[to be continued…]