Asian Models on Their Way to Becoming the New Gisele Bundchens and Heidi Klums

Model Liu Wen

The fashion industry is embracing a wave of Asian models, including rising star Liu Wen, as it looks toward rising markets in China.

Asian women are climbing the rank of the modeling world as names like Liu Wen, Tao Okamoto and Shu Pei win high-profile runway spots and ad campaigns.

Twenty-three year-old Wen, born in China's Hunan province, is the first of East Asian descent to walk a Victoria's Secret fashion show. Last year, she became the first Asian face of cosmetics giant Estee Lauder.

And, as ABC News reports, Wen was the most-booked model of color at this fall's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York.

Last December, Vogue featured Wen along with seven other Chinese, South Korean and Japanese models, in a fashion spread.

But as  blogger Jen Weng of told ABC, "They said a new crop of Asian models from China, South Korea and Japan is redefining traditional concepts of beauty. That's a little bit like Vogue saying, 'It's 2011 and we finally think Asian women are beautiful.' "

Chinese model Pei has become a face of Maybelline. Japanese-born Okamoto has appeared in ad campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Zac Posen and Kenneth Cole.

Some observers see the embrace of Asian models as a strategy toward tapping into the booming Chinese retail markets. According to ABC, the Asian cosmetics sector is poised to become the world's largest.

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