Model Tang Wen is confident of her chances in the upcoming 2010 Miss Universe Competition. (Photo: China Daily)
Even though China's best ranking in the Miss Universe pageant so far has been 18th, Tang Wen is not worried. "I think I can make it into the top five," says the confident 19-year-old.
A model with the Beijing-based New Silk Road Modeling Agency (NSR), Tang is putting in 12-hour days in preparation for the upcoming 2010 Miss Universe Competition, which will be held at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Aug 23.
Her daily grind includes learning English until midnight, striking poses for fashion magazines, and learning about foreign cultures. "I never imagined I would undergo training on how to sneeze," she says, laughing.
"I always feel that there are 1.3 billion Chinese people supporting me, and there is a 5,000-year history behind me."
Born in Yichun, Heilongjiang province, Tang had a less than idyllic childhood. Her parents divorced when she was 3 and she moved in with her mother in Beijing when she was 15.
While in college, she earned money on the side by training prospective air hostesses on how to stand tall and wear the right make up. Her outstanding looks made modeling the obvious choice after graduation. "I knew I would end up in the fashion industry when I was very young," she says.
She has taken to the catwalk for most of the important women's fashion brands in China, and is a regular at China International Fashion Weeks. In 2008, she also starred in the movie "Not All Women Are Bad" by Hong Kong director Tsui Hark, who called her "beautiful without make up".
Tang's selection for the pageant was unusual. She was designated Miss China and sent to the competition directly by NSR, which has a cooperative agreement with the Miss Universe committee.