Red Star

The controversial model

Su Zizi

Raised by her grandparents and her single-mother, Su Zizi grew up in the city of Yichang, Hubei. During her first year at Renmin University in Beijing, Su’s grandmother fell seriously ill and she was faced with the responsibility of covering part of the medical bills.

Unfamiliar with her new environment and unsure of how to make money, Su posted her profile on an online job search site. Several days later, Su received a call from a photographer, offering her Rmb500 to pose nude for pictures, thereby starting her career as a nude model.

Why is she famous?

Su’s dual identities: an undergraduate student at one of the most prestigious colleges in China, and a nude model, became highly controversial, as you can perhaps imagine. Some people think she is a strong and independent woman, while others say she is only one step away from pornography. Nevertheless, her intriguing story has earned Su the unique position of being the concurrently most searched “Individual” and most searched “Hot Topic” on the search rankings of Baidu, China’s most used search engine.

Why is she in the news?

News of her top ranking on Baidu hit headlines as did a recent art exhibit themed, “Who am I?” at the Renmin University in which she exhibited her nude photos and videos. In a new take, they were all taken by herself. “I am not afraid of expressing myself this way. I think people need to get rid of their burdens and by being naked they can know themselves better,” says the model-cum-photographer.

Still, not everyone appreciates Su’s form of physical art. “Some female students said they couldn’t accept my photos and my mother also called me ‘crazy’. But some teachers liked it and encouraged me to keep on working,” Su told the Global Times.


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