Model


Reviewed by: sukting

November 05, 2003

Rating: two-point-five

Chinese title: 天桥风云

How long
40 episodes

Foreword
A very complicated story on models. Please do not get too confused by the story and the cast

Introduction on characters/story

1) Li Zheng – Jang Gong Gun

He is neglected from young and seeks to get recognition from his grandfather in gaining the control of the textile factory. He steps into the modeling world and then he sets up his own company through despicable means after becoming a well-known model. How? I will describe some events under the different characters' section below. He is so eager to gain success that he ditches Jing Ling and becomes engaged to Han Cai Ying. He is furious upon knowing that he is not a Li member but only a son from an employee. He truly loves Jing Ling, otherwise why does he bother to warn Lian Xi to stay away from Jing Ling? This causes Lian Xi to be jealous and hurts Jing Ling instead.

He offends an underworld boss. Zhao Tai Zhi and chooses to go to jail. He tells Yuan Jun to keep the truth from Jing Ling. He and Yuan Jun can be considered as love rivals and also friends. When he is out of prison, many modelling agencies don’t accept him but Yuan Jun helps him. But their happiness is short-lived when Yuan Jun dies and he is remorseful for the rest of his life after knowing the cause of his death.

Jang is so thin and handsome looking here – in better form than in ‘All About Eve’ as he looked a little overweight there. No one can resist his charming smile and his acting is quite natural. It is hard to see him in a half-good-natured and half-villain role these days. This is also the serial that gives him a variety of clothes and scarves.

2) Zhao Yuan Jun – Han Jae Suk

At first, I think that he is a snobbish person with the crooked smile on his face. Especially the way he refuses to be Jing Ling’s model for her final year university assignment. He turns to be a nice guy. He may seem nasty to Jing Ling at first when training her to be a top model. He is like a leader among the models with his experience. He is loyal to his friends and boss – but his boss is a coward who betrays him in the end.

He has quite a number of setbacks in life because of repeated rejections from Jing Ling and problems with his brother-in-law for ill-treating his sister. I can remember a scene where he is in a bridal commercial with Jing Ling. Jing Ling thinks that Li Zheng is in it but she is so disappointed to see him instead. He is equally upset but is still professional throughout the shooting. He is successful in getting her in the end but he dies in a tragedy. Li Zhu has gone mad after an ordeal and Yuan Jun takes care of her secretly. He doesn’t wish Li Zheng to feel bad about it so he keeps it from him. One day, she runs to the middle of the road to snatch Li Zheng’s picture. He dies while trying to save her from being knocked down from a car.

Another reprise of a tragic role as in ‘All About Eve’. Maybe Han should try to make himself friendlier-looking right from the beginning. I find him looking scholar-like in glasses. And he does have a nice figure in doing stage catwalk – also better than in ‘All About Eve’ as he looked overweight there in khakis.

3) Song Jing Ling – Kim Nam Joo

She is a very proud woman who isn’t afraid of setbacks. Being a talented designer, she also chooses modelling. Being a greenhorn, she has to start from scratch. It is an eye-opening experience to see how she has wanted to give up during a practice but she manages to hold on till the end because Li Zheng, her course mate, gives her a lot of encouragement. Later, she becomes close to the men. Strangely, she opposes her brother joining modelling but has to give in when he likes it as much as her.

She is deeply in love with Li Zheng but he makes use of her most of the time. Once, she has a broken leg when being stepped on by his ex, Lian Xi, in the national modelling competition when both are among the last five. She is upset when finding out that Li Zheng doesn’t write words of encouragement on her cast but Yuan Jun does it under Li Zheng’s name. Their breakup is a deadly blow to her as she can go blind at times just by reading his name.

Later, another blow comes when Lian Xi kills herself. She is still unhappy that Li Zheng doesn’t love her despite her win in the second place. Actually Mirona expects her to be in the first place if not for her deliberate attempt to injure Jing Ling. Jing Ling is upset upon seeing that only a few models attend her funeral although both women are love rivals.

Yuan Jun nurses her back to health and they fall in love. Jing Ling now does more clothes designing than modelling a few years later. He agrees to attend her fashion show but dies before carrying it out. Jing Ling blames Li Zheng for his death. Although many persuade her to get Li Zheng as the substitute, she refuses. She is touched when Yuan Jun’s spirit turns up for the last time.

I don’t really like this actress as she has such a stuck-up look on her face all the time. As if the world owes her everything. Although her figure is impressive, I find her acting only passable. It is said that she has undergone massive plastic surgery on her face and figure to reach this effect. In my opinion, she deserves to be dumped by Li Zheng for thinking so highly of herself. I don’t know why but I was so glad that both of them are not together in the end.

4) Xiu Er – Lian Jing Er (Jang Dong Gan’s ex in real life)

Xiu Er is Yuan Jun’s ex. She ditched Yuan Jun to marry a modelling organizer because he is richer. Yuan Jun is very upset over it and it takes him a long time before he can love Jing Ling. This young mother dreams of going back to modelling after giving birth to a son. She can be despicable in order to gain success. She is successful in the end but keeps her married status from the press. She even tries to get close to Yuan Jun but Yuan Jun is no longer interested in her. When it is revealed, she pretends to be a loving mother and a good wife. She is so pretentious.

She is often at loggerheads with Jing Ling as both are equally arrogant. She deems herself as her senior and tries hard to lose weight, to the extent of being hospitalized. Both reconcile when Jing Ling visits her. She is angry when Mirona tells her that others do better than her and she has no hope to win the modeling contest. And indeed, she is out in the second round. However, she helps Jing Ling back to her feet again when she has trouble walking from the accident.

She falls for Li Zheng’s uncle but both never get together. She has breast cancer and she cuts a breast. She keeps her illness from him and returns to her husband. Her modelling career is ruined and she can only get cheap assignments from then on.

I remember a scene where Li Zheng is so desperate that he agrees to take up a low assignment because he has just come out of jail. He is astonished to find Xiu Er there. Well, prepare to see our heartthrob baring his chest and Xiu Er wearing a translucent blouse with shorts. Xiu Er is angered when the photographer wants to shoot from another angle. She blurts out that she has no more breast on the other side. Li Zheng then realizes it and feels so sorry for her. He is about to tell his uncle but she forbids him to do that as he doesn’t wish to be a burden to him.

Lian’s acting is okay although she may seem too skinny. Thus it is hard to convince others in scenes of desperation when she loses, she eats a lot in despair. I guess many will envy instead as she still looks thin after eating so much – unlike how Mirona scolds her to push her on the weighing scale to tell her how much weight she has gained. Too bad she is not as Jang’s girlfriend in the serial and this is the only scene that they are so close together. The other scenes they are together with a big crowd of people acting as extremely large lightbulbs. Sigh – what a pity!

5) Bi Shu
She is very plain-looking at first because she comes from a village. She also speaks with a village accent and Mirona needs to spend extra time to change her. She is discovered by Yuan Jun when he looks for new models to join the agency. You will laugh at her attempts to walk more demurely and doing speech therapy under Mirona. At first Xiu Er looks down on her because of her upbringing. Both of them stay in her home to receive training at the same time. But Mirona thinks that Bi Shu’s qualities are better than Xiu Er because she is tall. It is proved that Mirona is right because in the event of Jing Ling’s dropout in the national modeling competition, she comes in first. Although Jing Ling is bitterly disappointed with herself, she is still happy over Bi Shu’s win as both are good friends.

She is in love with Yuan Jun all along but she never gets the chance to tell him even till his death. Both look compatible when she keeps him company when he is down. From playing basketball, drinking wine and shopping – she is so accomodating. She is such a nice companion - what a pity!

This actress is so plain at first but I am amazed by her beauty after the makeover that Mirona tries out on her after a few days of training. Even Xiu Er is stunned and drops the packet of tidbits that she is eating. But the way she talks will send you sprawling to the ground. She doesn’t lose her innocence after staying in Seoul for a long time. I wonder why Yuan Jun chooses the unreasonable Jing Ling instead of her?

6) Han Cai Ying

She is Jing Ling’s university course mate and her closest rival in clothes designing. She walks with a limp after a car accident and has a low self-esteem. That’s why she seldom turns up at functions. But because of Li Zheng, she turns up at his modelling show and is not afraid of being ridiculed in public. She loves Li Zheng but is upset that he cheats on her all along. Can you believe that Li Zheng wants her to design clothes that follows Jing Ling’s styles so as to earn money? Even then, she bears no grudges and still wishes to help him when he is out of jail. This is a pitiful character although she tries hard to be cool.

7) Wu Li Zhu

She joins modelling because she likes to catwalk. She always daydreams about it when working as a shop assistant. But her first performance is a disaster as she trips on stage when her high heel is broken. Xiu Er is the one who broke it before she goes on stage. Li Zheng carries her and saves her from embarrassment. They even win compliments so she falls for him. But seeing him with Jing Ling together dashes her hopes.

And because of her shortcomings, she is never a popular model. She shaves herself bald out of anger and stay in a monastery. Li Zheng revives her career by getting her a commercial – she turns famous again. But Li Zheng does it only for himself and not really for her. Jing Ling is working under his uncle’s company and he wants to win him over. Although Jing Ling has wished to be the winner very much, he dashes her hopes by making Li Zhu look more pitiful and also writes special lines for her to recite in front of the judges. This makes her the winner and Jing Ling is annoyed with him.

Li Zhu even wins the third place in the national modeling contest. But like Lian Xi, she never wins Li Zheng’s love as he only treats both women as his employees as both belong to his modelling company.

She gets so upset that she starts taking nude photos. But Xiu Er steals the negatives and posts them on the net. Her future is doomed. Once she tries to warn Li Zheng that Zhao Tai Zhi is out to get him. She gets tortured by Zhao’s men and turns mad. Yuan Jun dies while trying to save her. This is also a tragic character and the actress is quite good – she resembles ex-Miss Hong Kong Leung Pui Hu who no longer acts. She appears in 2 TVB dramas opposite Ekin Cheng, if I remember correctly.

8) Mirona

She is a good friend and teacher to all the models as she is their trainer. She dotes on Jing Ling and Bi Shu the most as both are the most hardworking among the lot. I love the way she picks on Xiu Er – this woman sure needs lots of discipline. She is like Jing Ling’s manager, planning the schedules for her.

This actress is okay and she resembles Lee Yee Hung in looks. However, she can be very fierce-looking with the thick make-up.

Most favourite character

Bi Shu is my first choice for not admitting to failure easily.

Most hated character

Yuan Jun’s boss because he likes to control and ill-treat all of them. He only gives in when all threaten to go on strike. Wonder why Yuan Jun is so stupid to be so loyal to this horrible boss. Next will be Jing Ling with her terrible attitude – she doesn’t deserved to be loved by two men. Strangely, I don’t hate Li Zheng or Xiu Er so much because they are driven to use desperate measures in order to win.

Interesting scenes

The catwalk scenes – all have done a marvellous job and I wonder how much effort they put in to maintain such perfect figures. As much as I dislike Kim Nam Joo, I am impressed with the way she presents herself.

The modelling competition – no one can expect the outcome and I am impressed. Bi Shu deserves the recognition as she has worked so hard.

Yuan Jun’s funeral – all of them are so upset over it.

Interesting facts

It is rare to see Jang and his ex together in this serial, so don’t miss it. It is a pity that their roles are so evil but the producer doesn’t match them together – stupid to throw the chance away!

All spend a lot of hard work learning how to catwalk. Even Won Bin is roped in as an extra in the first scene in the first episode. He enjoys working with so many seniors. But many fans curse and swear when watching the serial because they thought that he is one of the leads! They are tricked!

It gives insight on how models work. I never know that they have to work so hard to lose weight. But the make-up on the all the ladies are terrible – is dark purple lipstick the in-thing in Korea in the 90s? All seem to adore it so much but it is a torture to me as they look like vampires!

Jang and Han become good friends after this serial. They are as close as brothers. Han even advises him to take up ‘All About Eve’ so that they can be together again. The ‘All About Eve’ producer is overjoyed but also stunned by how much both have changed in gaining weight so he changes their ages in the serial to early 30s. Both are no longer that young and thin although they try hard to lose weight.

Conclusion

It can be very boring with 40 episodes long. My patience is limited when they do a lot of talking on business and clothes design. I also dislike the sad ending. However, if you wish to look at young, pretty faces and how the popular artistes look when they are younger, this serial is still worth watching. What’s more when some actresses resemble ex-Miss Hong Kongs? And if you are curious to see how Jang’s ex looks like – this is the only rare chance to see them together in the same serial.

Sukting's Ratings :

On acting : * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : * * 1/2 (Scale of 5)


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