Champion freestyle skier Eileen Gu is shaping up to take the 2022 Winter Olympics by storm but what many are yet to realise is that the 17-year old also intends on becoming a bonafide fashionista, having recently signed to IMG as a model for the agency.
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I remind myself that I ski because I enjoy it, not to prove something to others
The skier has garnered an avalanche of praise worldwide, taking home 3 medals at the January 2021 X Gamers for superslope, slopestyle, and big air. Notably, Gu is the first Chinese competitor to win gold in the Games’ history. With multiple 1st place rankings in the World Cup, the only direction Gu is headed is up.
Accomplished in more ways than one (the 17-year old is a straight-A student and an incoming Stanford freshman on top of being a star skier), Gu has insisted that her achievements stem from simply being passionate about what she is good at. “I remind myself that I ski because I enjoy it, not to prove something to others,” Gu tells Vogue Hong Kong. “I try to focus on my own performance, rather than external expectations. That being said, I’m motivated to be a positive representation of female freeskiers and to combat the stereotypes that I’ve heard.”
Behind her impressive track record, is the cliché but true sentiment every successful athlete knows by heart – work hard, work hard, work hard. Gu learned to sleep, do homework, change in and out of clothes and even eat on car rides to and from home and Lake Tahoe, where the skier trains. During the global pandemic, because she was unable to train with her coach, Gu picked up running and insisted on doing weight exercises at home.
To the budding model, fashion and sportsmanship do not have to be mutually exclusive.”The fashion world has helped balance my training. Just like skiing, modelling requires incredible expression and personality. It requires creativity, confidence, and the ability to learn and adapt, and these are the characteristics that inspire me as a person. The transition between modelling and skiing became a break and a practice for each other that helped me eventually feel more motivated in each area.”
Yet at the end of the day, Gu is reminded that it is all flesh and blood so this is why she is so insistent on sleep. “10 hours of sleep a night is uncompromisable!”
Photographer: Greg Swales@AGPNYC
Creative & Fashion Director: Sean K
Stylist: Rafael Linares@Art Department
CGI Artist: Fergus Yip
Makeup Artist: Kelly Mc Clain
Hair Stylist: Darine Sengseevong for Art Department
Set Designer: Lucy Holt
Casting Director: Jill Demling
Producer: Alexey Galetskiy@AGPNYC