Ah, the lot of the fashion model. Courted by rich men and chased by gossip hounds, these young loves of Taiwan lead lives of joy and sorrow. They’re invited to the swankiest parties and paid top dollar to attend year-end weiya (尾牙) banquets in their youth, but as they close in on the age of 30, the pressure builds to bag a sugar daddy, have children and live happily ever after — the kind of fairytale story that suits their beauty.
The reality, of course, is constant media attention which ensures that many Taiwanese models enter their 30s and 40s bereft of a husband. These “ripe women” (熟女), a moniker that has the connotation of “cougar,” spend as much time dodging inane questions about marriage as they do endorsing products like anti-wrinkle cream.
So the tabloid press was foaming at the mouth when they snapped Stephanie Hsiao (蕭薔), pushing 40, out for dinner with a married man over the weekend. The Apple Daily reported that Taiwan’s former top model — she reigned supreme until Lin Chih-ling (林志玲) knocked her off her pedestal — was out eating vegetarian food, which provided the press corps with the perfect opportunity to bombard her with questions about marriage.
Speaking of Lin, some say modeling’s top dog is losing interest in her profession and wants to focus on her acting career. Nonsense! Lin, now 33, has reached “young ripe woman” age, which means … well, if her acting career doesn’t take off, at least there’s anti-wrinkle cream, air conditioners and push-up bras to advertise.
Eyeing Lin’s top slot from the flanks is Sonia Sui (隋棠).
But it isn’t all roses and riches for Sui. Next magazine reported that Taiwan’s latest yummy worked in a hostess bar a few years back. Quoting Ah Qiang (阿強), a man who works for a hostess agency (yes, they do exist in Taiwan), the rag alleges that Sui worked at the hostess bar for two days to pay off her mother’s debts.
“Total balderdash,” Sui said. “I swear I’ve never done this kind of thing before. Otherwise, my reputation would suffer.”
Really? Has Sui been living in a cave recently? Nothing gets tongues wagging and papers selling like sex. Perhaps somebody should tell her that the reputations — good and bad — of Taiwan’s starlets are built around these kinds of rumors.
In the same report, Next listed nine other celebs rumored to have graced these halls of iniquity, including convicted druggie Suzanne Hsiao (蕭淑慎) and drunk driver Shino Lin (林曉培).
Meanwhile, in other “ripe” news, the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times sister newspaper) reported that news department manager and sometimes anchor for Da Ai Television (大愛電視台) Susan Yeh (葉樹姍) spent 90 minutes in a hotel room with a mystery “mustachioed man” (鬍子男).
Photographers caught them on camera holding hands before entering the Yeh’s room. When asked for comment, the 48 year-old said, “Don’t report this as it will ruin my future prospects.”