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Jiaqi Chen is my name, a native of central China who relocated to the United States at the age of 18. After earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the University of Oregon, I embarked on a full-time career as a tax analyst at a multinational corporation.
My decision to study a technical and professional major was influenced by my entrepreneurial parents and the prospective job market. Hence, I opted for business school with a focus on accounting.
As I settled into my job and became accustomed to my responsibilities, I found more time to indulge in my hobbies. One of my passions is modeling. I began to network and collaborate with people and businesses, gaining invaluable experience. My first modeling gig was with Portland Gear, where we shot in-studio and outdoor photos for
their summer collections. As my network expanded, I modeled for numerous other brands such as Nike, Keen Shoes, LARQ, XS Nation, and more.
An unexpected opportunity arose this summer while shopping at a mall in downtown Portland. A stylist, who had previously worked as a makeup artist at Portland Fashion Week, suggested I apply for their runway models. Initially, I didn’t take it seriously as I had never tried runway modeling before. However, after a month of contemplation, I decided to seize the opportunity. I applied on their website, attended the boot camps, and was subsequently selected.
In preparation for the fashion week, we had several photoshoots and meetings. The anticipation was palpable among us. Being a meticulous planner, I began managing my diet and workout plan two months prior to the show. I also conducted extensive research online to understand what to expect from a fashion show and how to walk the runway.
My expectations were high, perhaps because I had been watching the world’s most renowned fashion shows online. The day finally arrived, and we headed to the Mercedes Benz of Wilsonville for rehearsal and fitting. The venue was luxurious and ideal for the show, but contrary to my expectations, there was no actual runway. I learned that this was because Portland Fashion Week is a sustainable event, and setting up a runway would contradict this theme. However, the floor was comfortable enough for my heels.
The experience was enriching. The production team, designers, and makeup artists were all welcoming, helpful, and incredibly talented. As a first-timer, I am immensely grateful for the love, support, and resources I received. I believe I performed exceptionally well at the Portland Fashion Week, and the experience has broadened my horizons. I am now eager and prepared for future runway opportunities.
My current life philosophy is to live in the moment, seize any opportunities that come my way, and see where life leads me.