Taiwanese model and blogger 蔡宜樺 Yi-Hua Tsai is best known for her work across ELLE, Vogue, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar and more. As a Wilhelmina model, she was also notably chosen to be Vogue Taiwan’s New York Fashion Week correspondent. TAP-NY spent some time chatting with her to learn about her daily life.
You’ve been in New York for over three years now – how did you first decide to come here?
At first, after I graduated from college I moved to Paris to work for a bit. Only afterwards did I decide to set my sights on the United States as I grew in my career. Part of my thinking at that time was also because I had never been to America, and so I kept an open mind.
How did you get your nickname “小花” (Little Flower)?
Throughout my school years, I rarely had teachers that liked me. However, one of the few notable exceptions was in junior high school. My chemistry teacher, Lin Shu Jun, was one of those exceptions – and it was her that created my nickname during that year and it’s stuck since.
Can you share with us what a typical day at work is like?
第二種是當天的行程，是前一天經紀人會告知，大部分會是從早上到下午，分別要去見不同的客戶，地點從Manhattan 到Brooklyn 都有。
In fact, each day is usually different than the last and it’s hard for me to generalize due to the nature of my work. However, if I’d group my days into three common types based on clients:
First are days where I’m working for a brand. These days are usually quite busy and I’ll work straight from 9 to 6.
Second are days where the day before, my agent provides me a full itinerary, and I spend most of the day traveling between Manhattan and Brooklyn visiting various clients.
Lastly are “days off” where I don’t have anything scheduled, but last minute my agent will contact me with an assignment and we’ll rush across the city to the client. Although my agent is also unwilling to take these, often there’s no choice.
Outside of work, what do you like to do in your free time?
Boxing 是我其中一項很享受的休閒娛樂，除運動之外，我算是個早起的人，閱讀心理學和哲學的相關書籍，以及聽podcast 也都是我喜歡的事情。
Boxing is one of the few activities I enjoy in my downtime. Aside from exercising and fitness, I’m a morning person, and enjoy reading psychology and philosophy related books. I also listen to similar podcasts as well.
What do you miss the most about Taiwan?
Sometimes I’ll reflect and reminisce about past experiences of mine in Taiwan, and I’ll miss my good friends back at home. Fortunately, despite the long distance between me and them, that hasn’t caused our friendship to fade away.
What do you like most about New York? Are you planning to stay here for a while?
Often I feel that it’s not necessarily people who decide to stay in New York, but it’s the city itself that decides who it lets stay.
I’m very thankful for my current life in New York – how long I’m here I do not know – though I know I’ll forever remember each and every day I spent living in this city.
Are you looking forward to anything this year?
This new year, I don’t have anything specific that I have expectations for. Every new day is fresh and exciting here in the city, filled with unlimited possibilities – and to me that’s all I can ask for.
English translation and adaptation by TAP-NY