Self-Empowerment In Times Of Pause


Reading time : 4 minutes

Photographs by Hau Le
Words by Ria Chantal

Published on January 29, 2021

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Hanoi-born Trang Pham has modelled around the world for the past ten years. In her professional career, she has graced the catwalks of Saigon, Milan, London, and Melbourne, making her mark as one of the few yet growing numbers of Southeast Asians who have allowed the world to see past Western standards of beauty and grace. She finds herself returning to her native Vietnam, bringing a cosmopolitan sensibility that is empowered and inspiring.

Trang Pham
Leather Top, Sculpted Shorts and Knitted Trousers: Cuong Dam

A Continuing Process of Renovation

“I am proud of my Asian culture,” shares Trang. “This means I am proud of myself. I want to make my own choices. After seeing the world, I came back to Viet Nam with my mind changed. Here, in my ‘zone,’ which I once felt was boring and too small, I now realize that I have never tried renovating or reinventing it.”

It is with this intention of reinvention that Trang pursues her creative projects. Expressing the same eagerness as when she first started, now influenced by her experiences in the fashion industry.

“I can work as a shoot producer, stylist, model manager, catwalk director, mentor, besides working as a model. I can choose partners that respect my role in their team and quality projects that hold a model’s ability in high appreciation.” By working with new talents, Trang’s influence grows, rippling out to touch more people. “So my ‘zone’ will be larger and larger. In this way, I can survive as a model sustainably. I have never given up the career I chose, and I have never stopped fighting with myself to be better than yesterday.”

Trang Pham
Draped Jacket, Halter Top and Trousers: MT Nguyen
Vietnamese Clogs (throughout): Stylist Own

Trang Pham
Bolero Jacket, Backless Dress and Trousers: Subtle Studios

From Southeast Asia to the World

Trang is steadfast in her vision for Southeast Asia. “I believe that Southeast Asia will be a style powerhouse, like the fashion kingdoms of Europe and America,” declares Trang. “We will have more, better opportunities for Southeast Asian models to travel around our region.” Modelling is very flexible, she says. You don’t do the same thing every day. It is a chance to meet new people, improve yourself through communication and immersion in the rhythm of fashion. Therefore, an opportunity to evolve and innovate.

In her journey as a model, she has learned that she can stand out from the crowd when she doesn’t try to be different. “I just try to be the best that I can. I think it’s my positive energy on people I work with that makes all the difference.”

Much of Trang’s attitude towards life and career flows from her mother. “My mother influenced me so much. I learned independence, organization, and kindness from her. Her strength really made me. It has helped me make my own decisions, helped me appreciate the situations I am in and helped me overcome the bad ones. My experiences has helped me to understand that my value is determined by myself, not by anyone else.”

Trang Pham
Double-breasted Overcoat: Gia Studios

Trang Pham
Jacket: Jil Sander
Leather Top (worn outside): DADA X Caro Chia
Vietamese Headscarf (throughout): Stylist’s Own

A Time of Reflection

Perhaps part of Trang’s desire to renovate her life may be credited to the social upheaval brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, which has taught us to look inside ourselves in honest reflection. “Before Covid 19, I got bored with my small zone,” she says. “I wanted to travel to new and larger places. During Covid, I learned how to renovate my zone and learned how to love it.”

“Now, I am 20 years old for the fifteenth time. I still love my career as a model. I want to develop a successful business so that I can support potential models, and continue to do high-quality fashion projects. But when I get older, I just want a quiet environment that I can share with my beloved, plant trees, and take care of some pets.”

“Oh,” she smiles. “I will not be old, I will be antique. More age, more precious.”

Trang Pham
Pea Coat: Lemaire
Cotton and Leather Top: DADA X Caro Chia

Trang Pham
Cut-Out Jacket, Ao Dai and Trousers: MT Nguyen

Styled by : Minh Le
Hair and Make-up by : Ruan Dang
Model : Trang Pham

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