Naomi Chin Wing was just 15 when she won the Coco Velvet International Top Model in 2015. Too young to fly out of Trinidad to work, she finished school at Holy Name Convent and put more time into mastering the runway and learning about the modelling world from Coco Velvet’s Christopher Nathan and icons like Meiling, Claudia Pegus and Sharon Imbert. By the time she left Trinidad in 2016, she was signed with IMG Model Management in all their offices: Sydney, Milan, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles. In September 2017, Chin Wing walked for six houses during fashion week in Paris.
After her Paris debut, she completed January and February editorials for British Vogueand a Harper Bazaar’s India beauty shoot. The fashion world has seen her in Dior Haute Couture Fall 2018 Show; Dundas Resort 2019 collection; Redemption Couture show Fall 2018; Elie Saab Couture Fall 2108; Alexandre Vauthier Couture Fall 2018; and Fendi and Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2018. She was grabbed by Versace for their fall/winter 2018 campaign. She also copped a fashion cover on 10 magazine in Australia, a Vogue Korea editorial and a 14-page editorial in Vogue España. No model has ever been given 14 pages in any one magazine.
At just 18, Chin Wing has walked in 14 shows and been ranked #1 in the runway rankings among 500 models for January to May 2018. “She is one of the models most anticipated to become successful,” says Christopher Nathan. Her manager at IMG Models, Levi Asher, says, “When we discovered Naomi, we knew we had a star on our hands.” He told Bazaar magazine, “I can’t wait to see what next season holds for her.” She has already modelled for Rochas Paris; Altuzarra; Giambattista Valli; John Galliano; Alexander McQueen; Christian Dior; Givenchy; Jean Paul Gaultier; Maison Valentino; and Miu Miu, even closing Carolina Herrera’s New York Fashion Week showcase in February, a high honour.
I wondered who she enjoyed working for most, and her response was, “Valentino and Fendi for the couture shows, because of how great the designers are and how well put-together their collections were.” At the moment, her favourite designer is Pierpaolo Piccioli, a designer for Valentino. “He is one of the kindest, most hardworking, caring designers I know.” Her favourite photographer so far is Txema Yeste. “He did an amazing job with me when we shot in Jamaica for my Vogue España editorial.”
Chin Wing seems knowledgeable about the fashion world, the top names, houses and models. The person she admires coming out of our region is Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls, one of the highest paid models at the moment. She will soon move from London to New York, where there is consistent work. Slim and 5’ 11” tall, she rarely has issues with sizing. “The odd time I do have a problem, it would be because the garment is too small.” She maintains her slight frame by jogging whenever she can find the time, and eating well.
Her biggest challenge is the lack of diversity in the industry. “It’s hard knowing you didn’t get a show because of your skin colour.” She is alarmed that this should still be an issue in this century, but still sees modelling as her career for a long time to come. “I love it. The most difficult thing, though, is not being able to eat or sleep on time. Often, you don’t get time to sit and have a proper lunch, and sometimes you don’t get to sleep for a full eight hours, so it is a lot of sacrifice.”
Chin Wing returned to Trinidad in August for the current Coco Velvet International workshop, to encourage and motivate the new model trainees as they prepare for Top Model Trinidad and Tobago 2018. “It’s great to be able to give back, since I was in their position not too long ago and needed all the help I could get. I would advise them that it is a lot of hard work. You can’t go to a casting hoping you get the show every time, because you set yourself up for disappointment. You have to go with an open mind, and let it go when you don’t get it. Most times you just don’t have the look for the collection being showcased, so just strive on!”