三天后，我接到了凤凰卫视德国办公室的电话，通知我已通过材料审核，并邀请我第二天到法兰克福参加下一轮的面试。这通电话让我感到猝不及防—由于提交材料太晚，又是在头一天接到通知, 需要在第二天的面试中进行才艺展示。这让我本来就不坚定的决心又动摇了：才艺展示？我应该展示什么才艺呢？思考再三之后我觉得虽然唱歌并不是我的强项，但我跳舞还算可以，所以决定表演一段舞蹈。由于时间仓促，我在舞蹈的编排方面乱了阵脚，一度丧失了信心。花了很长的时间平复心情后，我发现用极为有限的时间学习别人编排好的舞蹈只会让我失去自己的特点，所以最终我决定用碧昂斯和肖恩·保罗的歌曲《Baby Boy》表演一段即兴舞蹈。
异国他乡的生活虽然精彩却充满波折，每当我遇到困难时，每当我遭遇挫折时，我都特别感激那群在我身边陪伴着我的朋友们。他们在我迷茫时为我指引方向，在我脆弱时给予我力量；他们分享着我的快乐，见证着我的成长。在此，我想借此机会特别感谢我在伯明翰的朋友Khalfan Bühring, Camila Faria de Castro和叶子怡。
除此之外，我还想感谢Antonia Gerhards, Dimitra Koch，以及我的中国朋友李守懿、林婉怡、关梦迪和常瑶。
Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant 2016 ~ What an incredible experience!
It was the 25th of June 2016, the day after Brexit was demanded by the referendum result: it was the last day of my stay in Birmingham (England) for my study abroad year and the last day of the online application for Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant 2016.
My mum was not aware of the complexity of the online application of this contest. As she wanted to let me relax after my arrival in the early morning of the 25th of June, she waited until the late afternoon to tell me that there was a contest arranged by the Chinese TV channel Phoenix Satellite TV suitable for me to apply. Urging me to do so, and for a second I was pondering whether or not to do it, I decided to give it a try. Rushing through the application meant to note down my body measurements, to filter appropriate photos and to give my definition of beauty in Chinese. Finally, I ended up clicking on the button “send application” at 00:01. Anxiously I stared at the screen until I read the only words I needed to hear in that moment: “your application is successfully sent”.
Three days later, on June 28th, I received a call from the Phoenix TV office in Germany which is located in Frankfurt. While I was delighted to hear I was amongst those chosen for the next round, I was also about to lose my poise facing that one was expecting an artistic performance of me in Frankfurt the next day already. The reason for the short notice was the late submission of my application. What was I supposed to do? I can’t sing and I rated my dancing skills as moderate. Having chosen dancing, I tried to create a choreography by watching YouTube dance videos. Quickly realizing that learning a rehearsed choreography in one day would just distract my artistic confidence, I decided to improvise to the song “Baby Boy” by Beyonce and Sean Paul. I was already planning to drive to Frankfurt myself, but my dad – as excited as me – insisted on driving me there.
Expecting to meet many girls there, I was surprised that for Germany there were only seven girls – including me – selected to present themselves in front of the camera. For the first video, we had to introduce ourselves; in the second we presented our performance. In Frankfurt, I met Caozhongyang from Erlangen, who chose to sing Release Me. They told us we would be informed by their European headquarter, the Phoenix TV office in London, about our further participation. A week later, I received a call from London that confirmed my advance to the next round. The same day, Caozhongyang texted me that she had also been invited. Eventually, it were the two of us from Germany chosen for the next round. On July 28th, I took the airplane to London. As I have never taken part in such a contest before, I was, of course, nervous about the process. While following the instructions of our teachers, I watched how the eleven other contestants behaved. Some of them were professional dancers, models or singers, others were rather normal girls like me. While Caozhongyang and I were the only participants who did not grow up in China, I was furthermore the only mixed-blood (German-Chinese).
Already on the second day, we had to give a press conference which was broadcasted for the documentation of this contest. The daily routine of the ten days in the camp of Phoenix TV consisted of them filming us in different places in England and of dance training in their office´s studio. For my presentation they chose to shoot in Cambridge.
Julien (Ye Jian 叶坚), our dancing teacher for these ten days, must have had faced one of the greatest challenges. While some of us contestants were dancing teachers themselves, or – like me – had some experience in that field, others were starting from zero. For all the four choreographies – the evening dress, the bikini, the traditional Chinese dress (Qi Pao) and for our individual presentations of which mine was Hiphop, he managed to determine a level that considered our individual skills and at the same time appropriated the expectations for the show on stage. At the end of each day, facing a crowd of exhausted girls, Julien was still of mental apprehension and looked at us with a caring smile. Thus, even those of us who still had difficulties with some steps didn’t feel uncomfortable but in the contrary encouraged to ask for help and repeat the steps with him until they had got the knack of it. For me it was the cartwheel I had to train more than ten times back to back just to make sure that the one cartwheel on stage, which was part of my Hiphop performance, to be perfect. How tiring it must have been for Julien, and how badly we wished that we could have had the chance to show him our appreciation!
Jasmine (Lin Peng 林芃), the makeup-artist of outstanding competence, escorted us these ten days with attention and perfection. While everything we needed to care about was looking perfect in front the camera, she managed to ensure that the makeup and hair she did for us suited the situational requirements, fitted the characteristics of our individual faces and accomplished our satisfaction, even when there appeared to be no time left at all.
Tom Tsang (Ceng Jiahui), the cool and witty hairdresser, appeared on the day of our show for our backstage preparations. My hair was waist-long. For the show, it would have been favourable to cut them shorter, besides I wanted to have them shorter long ago anyway. Right, after asking him, I actually had the honour to let my hair be cut by him, a professional, highly skilled hairdresser who was the head of the backstage hairdressing team.
Daniel (Zhao Zuoyu) was an intern of the Phoenix TV office. He sometimes secretly gave us some snacks and sweets from the office’s kitchen when he brought us the small portions of greaseless, flavourless food mandated by the camp for us. Therefore, seeing Daniel coming by quickly became one of our highlights of the day. Also, he often cleaned up the mess we were forced to leave behind due to our tight schedules.
The lovely Tanya (Tan Yawen), an intern as well, was the one who informed me on the phone about my participation in Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant European Finale when I was in Germany. One should be aware of her persuasive and motivational side which Caozhongyang encountered when she considered to leave the camp but then decided to stay. Caozhongyang was contemplating leaving more than once since she felt unfamiliar and a bit uneasy with the kind of rigour we experienced. Sometimes she had difficulties to understand the instructions since all communication was carried out in Chinese. I gave my best to support and encourage her to keep on fighting.
Caozhongyang reminded me of myself one year ago when I started my year abroad in Birmingham for my English studies. That was the first time for me to stand on my own feet, and I had jumped in at the deep end when I did not even realise it. Expecting to have a great time, I underwent ups and downs, of course. When I might have seemed to be confused and when I had to overcome hard times, there were people who understood my mood, who did not turn their back on me, who cheered me up.
These amazing friends were Khalfan Bühring, Camila Faria de Castro and Rachel (Ye Ziyi).
I had never met a person like Khalfan, my housemate in Birmingham, before. With his 22 years of age, he had already made various unbelievable experiences and is wiser than many an adult. He has given me many useful advices not only in my difficult times, but also for life in general. There is one sentence he told me which I will never forget: “If you don’t try, you already failed.”
Further, the Brazilian spirit inside of Camila, always smiling and always seeing the good in people, made my time in Birmingham magnificent. She was there for me whenever I needed somebody to talk to.
My Chinese friend Rachel, very shy but at the same time the craziest person I met there, is a stunningly good photographer. Leave her with a camera for five minutes and you will find one hundred fetching photos on it. It were the photos taken by her for me in the Winterbourne Garden of the University of Birmingham that I used for my application for Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant.
Not having been in Birmingham, but still having been thoroughly on my side – these angles are Antonina Gerhards, Dimitra Koch, Li Shouyi, Lin Wangyi, Guang Mengdi and Chang Yao.
Antonina encouraged me from Dublin via Skype to make the best out of my time left in Birmingham, and with her literary competence, helped me to formulate my first article ever published in the Linguist Magazine.
It was her good preparation and smart intellect that brought Dimitira to the University of Birmingham the year after my study abroad time there. She consistently pulls me up and feels as sad and as happy as I do whenever bad or good happens to both of us. In a healthy friendship, it is not distance that matters, but the other’s joyful soul that you can feel. She is the one friend I can call my sister.
I would not have been able to provide a well-expressed definition of beauty in Chinese without my friends in China – Shouyi, Wangyi, Mengdi and Yao. They helped me via Wechat to hit the perfect tone and right meaning in Chinese for my English formulation. Also, my original words of this report are the English version, which was translated into Chinese with their help!
Caozhongyang was like my protégé for those ten days. Therefore, I was very much delighted to watch her rapid growth.
Doubtlessly, these ten days of six hours of sleep every night, of dress-fitting, of learning and reiterating choreographic steps, of filming outside and shooting photos, were tough for all of us. However, obviously, without such a fantastic, caring, strong team, whose daily routine was at least as tough as ours, we would not have managed to perform the awesome show in the Manchester Opera House on August 6th 2016 we managed to deliver. Many more people were involved in the organization of this show, like the pretty Scarlett (Zhao Yan) and the handsome Max Parrott (Liang Yuexin), two of the talented moderators of our beautiful show, and Zhou Yoyo and Tu Haojin，from the department, who have always been active and fully engaged.
On the day of the show, while preparing backstage, I read the message from my mum saying that she, my dad and my brother had arrived. Of course, I was nervous! Standing on stage, it was not possible to clearly see the audience due to the light exposure, and at the same time I was not able to search for them because I had to concentrate on my performance. Yet, I felt and I knew that they were there. After the show, mum, dad and my brother Peter were running to me backstage like excited dogs and took various photos with and of me. My dad, who works hard and usually has little time for such pleasures, finally had the chance to enjoy a show and, on top, watch me, his daughter, on stage. He said it had been the best show he had ever experienced. His smile just makes me rise like a sunflower. My brother, my heart and soul, is my power of strength in everyday life. Being there, taking photos and videos for me, hugging and lifting me up, meant everything to me. My mum, the one I thank for pushing me to take part in this contest, taught me to give my best in everything I decide to do and to make decisions with both honest heart and clear judgement. Right in that moment when she said to me “Your grandfather will be so proud of you when he sees you on TV”, I remembered the words he taught me when I was a teenager: “书山有路勤为径，学海无涯苦作舟” meaning “Diligence is the path to the mountain of knowledge, hard-work is the boat to the endless sea of learning”. Thus reflecting my development, I have come to realise that I have grown as a person given my more distinguished understanding of this lesson now than by the time he once told me.
It is hard to put into words how much I thank my family, my friends, and the Phoenix TV team! In the end, it was more than just twelve girls from different European countries, with different Chinese backgrounds forgathered in the camp at the European Phoenix Satellite TV headquarters in London. The Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant manifested a unique experience that thought us as much about each other as about ourselves; it truly became a part of every one of us. For some, it provided them with an extraordinary reference for their model or dance career. Others made use of it by participating in another Miss Contest with advance.
For Vicky (Wang Xiaoqing 王晓晴), an incredibly pretty and pleasant girl, it was hitting the bull’s eye. Altogether, I learned a lot from her, and I honestly feel sad that I could not get to know her better due to our short time in the camp. Nonetheless, she has coined this time for me. One day, we had to bring our blue and black jeans for outside filming. Somehow, I had forgotten to pack my black jeans. Vicky, who already wore a pair of trousers dark enough to be considered black had brought along a second pair which she lent me thus saving me from a catastrophe. Without experience in dancing and modeling, but with helpfulness and humbleness, she became the runner-up of our European finale and came off second-best of the worldwide finale in Zhuhai, China on the 22nd of October 2016.
I was given the gift to be part of Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant European Finale 2016. I experienced to perform and to speak in front of a huge audience. My study abroad year in Birmingham generated my growth in mind as rapidly as never before. This ensuing contest was the cherry on top of it all, which honed my confidence and gave me directions for further ways to take. It is a stepping stone to work as model, which I now do along the way. Even more importantly, this persuaded me to pursue studying in China after completing my current studies of Education, English and Art at the University of Cologne. Being aware of my Chinese identity, and – great thanks to my mum – having grown up bilingually, there is still a lot to amplify in the competence of my language and in the knowledge about my culture.
Luckily, the contest took place in my vacation. If I had been named as one of the three winners, I certainly would not have continued my attendance in the contest since my education remains my first priority. Therefore, Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant has contributed to my awareness of my Chinese identity which lead to my decision of extending my educational path in this field. Li Ka-shing (Li Jiacheng 李嘉诚), who achieved to be the richest person in Hong Kong and the second richest person in Asia, emphasizes that to teach your children mastering to be an upright person is a father’s and especially a mother’s most important responsibility. I want to become an Art, English, and Chinese teacher aware of this responsibility and delighted to contribute to the growth of my students and, furthermore, one day to tell my own children about my fulfilling experience with Phoenix Satellite TV.
If you think that participating in Miss Chinese Cosmos Pageant is the right thing to do, why not give it a try and apply for it? Each step you dare to take and even those you cannot properly reach in the course of this pageant will bring you closer to a unique, life changing experience. It surely was one for me.
“凤凰卫视中华小姐环球大赛”是全球华裔女性的美丽盛事，是拉近全球华人距离、建立华人新生代美丽标准的选美大赛，推崇“美丽与智慧同行，内在与外在兼修”、倡导“美丽与活力、勇敢与智慧、个性与爱心”的新华人女性形象。赛程分为欧美赛区、国内赛区，网络赛区，美丽夏令营，海外之旅，总决赛。详情请参考官网：http://misseu.pcne.tv 和 http://miss.ifeng.com/ 了解大赛进程。