To an ‘alien’ familiar with China, it is of no secret that working as a part time teacher and getting acting/modelling assignments are great ways to earn money. In the past decade, the need for English teachers in China has increased by a tremendous amount, and even more so for native English teachers. There are several advertisements, numerous agencies providing work visas, a salary from anywhere between RMB 10k to 20k, along with several other benefits.
My first photoshoot
In 2012, it was just another ordinary day as I was walking out my dorm in BLCU, Wudaokou, when a woman came up to me, took me to meet a group of quiet people she was with a few feet away and told me she wanted me to let her take pictures of my face. She added – If they needed someone with ‘my look’ they would get in touch. I let them take pictures, never actually thinking that a few days later I would be getting a call. Phone calls and emails later, next thing I know I’m getting my make-up done for a pharmaceutical photo-shoot. I had a set of foreigners with me – this being a new experience for some. But for 12 hours we were in it together and it was tiring but I have to say – pretty amazing. To be honest, now that I’m back in the city, I do feel like going for more photo-shoots. It was about 1300 RMB for 12 hours and a few days later around 500 RMB for 4 hours.
I was so unsure of getting into a van in a foreign city with a bunch people I didn’t even know. I remember telling my bestie to call the police if I didn’t pick up her calls or reply to her texts! I reckon we left around 7 in the morning and came back around dinner time, around 8 PM which is when we also got paid and signed consent forms. My make up lady was great, the shoot team were polite and respectful, and very professional, I must say.
Another experience I had was that of teaching English which was completely new to me. The following are a bunch of my personal experiences. I want to be able to share these with others in my shoes, living and earning on this side, here in China.
I met Irene through my sister. My first impression of her is my last impression of her. She is a professional, smart and polite Chinese lady who runs her own chain of English teaching classes around Beijing. She also gave us a good teaching rate per hour unlike other agencies that make it an almost never ending process for you to get to the point where you start earning what you well deserve. I don’t think I can forget how she always somehow manages to bring in “I see’, or ‘we’ll see’ in a conversation.