April 2017 issue editor's letter
Chinese model Liu Wen stars on the cover of ELLE Malaysia's April 2017 issue
The very first work trip I took after joining ELLE in 2013 was to Shenzhen, China, to interview this month's cover star, Liu Wen, during the finals of the Elite model search. I can still remember how she commanded every pair of eyeballs in any given room, even one filled with other models. Apart from her incredible beauty, I was most struck by her warmth and openness. She was clearly delighted to be home in China but, ever the professional, wasn't going to see her parents because she had to get back to New York for work. Family mattered enormously to her though, and she spoke excitedly about making plans to return in a few months' time for her first Chinese New Year at home in years.
I've bumped into Liu Wen at many fashion weeks since then. These days she's usually found on the front row rather than the catwalk, but she is always just as friendly, and never without that famous smile. For someone who has done what she has, being friendly is more of an achievement than it may sound. Liu Wen is a pioneer in so many ways and it could easily have gone to her head, as it does with so many other success stories. What a joy that it hasn't.
Where Liu Wen's rise was meteoric, Solange Knowles's has been more of a slow burn. Like her big sister, she has worked since she was a child, and while her talent has always been obvious (I loved her mother Tina's recollections of Solange's very clear ideas of what did and did not constitute 'talent'), it's only with last year's A Seat at the Table album that she rocketed into the stratosphere of success. It is an era-defining album motivated by love but also by plenty of anger. And it also happens to be full of good tunes. I listen to it every day and find something new every time.
However you are moving towards your own personal success, whatever that means for you – whether it's like a rocket, like a tortoise, or a little bit of both (like most of us) – keep at it. As Liu Wen and Solange Knowles prove, if you stay true to your purpose and just don't quit, you can't help but get there in the end.