Chapter 288 - Being the Judge

The contestants had already watched the last two seasons of the show prior to participating. There was one particularly outstanding contestant in the second season known for her charisma, leaving a deep impression etched in everyone's mind.

Naturally, the one who stood out most was none other than Jiaojiao. Despite having a very ordinary and uncouth name, her charismatic performance had given her a new identity. Now, whenever people mention the name ”Xu Jiaojiao”, they would recall her outstanding performance, and not how unsophisticated her name was.

Moreover, Jiaojiao was the most successful model to enter the acting industry, having landed the female lead role of a television drama and even garnered vast public attention. With irresistible force, she participated in commercials, movies and to television dramas; while others who had made their debut in the same period were still waiting for their opportunities, her career had already reached unattainable heights.

“As someone who had been through this before, I would like to share my experiences with you. Regardless if you have the basics, you must have sufficient confidence. If you don't believe in yourself, how would others believe in you? During your interview process, you must do your best to capture the judges’ attention. When you make eye contact, you must convey the message that you can do it.”

Sheng Jiaoyang looked at all four contestants and shared her valuable experience at Zhuo Yiyan’s favour.

Although all four contestants were quite young, they were actually all older than Sheng Jiaoyang, but no one would belittle her because of that.

In this era, people wouldn't use their age to wield power, and they wouldn't be respected just because they had made their debut earlier. It all boiled down to their capabilities.

“How do you overcome your nervousness?” a contestant blurted out her question.

“When met with a situation of utmost importance, everyone would experience a certain level of nervousness. At this moment, you must first contain your composure and avoid caring too much about the outcome. It's best if you can imagine yourself as coming for a tour, as you'll be performing in a more relaxed state, and you won't be anxious but more at ease.”

“Everyone knows of this principle, but it’s easier said than done. Jiaojiao, do you possibly have any other suggestions that can help boost self-confidence? After all, nervousness stems from lack of confidence, if there is sufficient confidence, that nervousness will be changed into excitement to welcome challenges.” Zhuo Yiyan spoke from the side.

Sheng Jiaoyang smiled, “Then allow yourself to become a narcissist.”

“A narcissist?” Everyone was shocked, after all it wasn’t nice to be called a narcissist.

“Everyone might think that narcissistic is a negative word, but anything less than blind narcissism is a sign of confidence. What is blind narcissism? Blind narcissism is when you're tasked to do something that you have no idea on where to start, but still feel that you'll perform well at it. Confidence is when you encounter something new, but try to learn and figure out a way to do it well.”

“Please don't be too affected by the results of the contest. The fact that you’ve all gone this far means you have already proven yourselves to be better than most others. I heard that you'll be auditioning for various large fashion shows soon. Here's wishing you good luck for the upcoming auditions.”

As the contestants wasted no time in heading for their auditions, Zhuo Yiyan invited Sheng Jiaoyang for an afternoon tea.

“I never would’ve imagined that you have achieved so much in just a year,” Zhuo Yiyan looked at Sheng Jiaoyang. She was now more feminine and had a set of long wavy hair.

Sheng Jiaoyang disagreed, “Achievement? I haven’t achieved much yet, it has just all begun.”

Zhuo Yiyan laughed and said, “Others who have been fighting for five, ten years or even their whole lives couldn’t even reach your current level.”

“To each with their own lives.”

Aside from hard work and persistence, success also requires quite a bit of luck. As the saying goes, everything has its own time and place, a timely opportunity is key. Being in the right place refers to one’s current physical conditions; by working hard, those with favourable conditions and luck would obtain success faster. However, those without the right conditions could only put more efforts in creating opportunities for themselves. A bit of luck is still necessary in order to obtain success.

Thus, some may have worked hard for their whole lives but accomplished nothing, while others were born winners at the starting line.

Of course, working hard does not equate to success, but unless you have some crazy luck, it is not possible to succeed without effort. Luck will not wait for you. You must keep chasing in order to gain luck. Only then will you be on the path to success.

Sheng Jiaoyang’s level of success was quite normal. She worked hard and was at the right time and place; it would be strange if she hadn’t succeeded at all.

After she had become Xu Jiaojiao, all conditions had been reset. If she hadn’t joined the supermodel contest, nor did she put in the effort to change her circumstances, she would still be living in poverty and living in a cheap rented apartment.

Her achievements could not be replicated. Many might believe her success was brought about by the media when her scandal with Gu Zhou had garnered the public’s interest. However, Gu Zhou had been around for years and other celebrities had been wanting to get into a scandal with him, but who else succeeded? Sheng Jiaoyang often appeared on the top searches list and every action she made were closely observed by the netizens, so if she made a single mistake, her name would appear on the top searches again in an instant.

To sum it up, because Sheng Jiaoyang was naturally charismatic, she never had to use the Internet Water Army. Apart from the time when Gu Zhou helped her out of goodwill to stir up a scandal of them together to help her cover up the so-called rumours of her being homosexual, she had never initiated any other scandals to maintain her popularity in the public’s eyes. As a result, she evoked a lot of jealousy from many celebrities who had used the Internet Water Army multiple times but failed.

“Who do you think will obtain the crown in this season?” Zhuo Yiyan changed the topic.

“I think you know the answer to this better than I do,” Sheng Jiaoyang replied in a watertight manner.

Zhuo Yiyan shook his head helplessly, “Jiaojiao, whenever I look at you, I feel that I’ve lived 18 years of my life in vain. You’re really suited for this industry.”

Many celebrities had suffered from saying the wrong things. As the saying goes, woe comes from the mouth. If you say the wrong things, it could lead to a fight or even darker days. Those who could overcome were popular now, whereas those who could not have ended their glory days.

“I can’t wait to see how much further you’ll go in the future,” Zhuo Yiyan added.

“Then you’ll have to wait and see,” Sheng Jiaoyang shifted her gaze and winked at the camera which had its angle turned over just in time.

The cameraman felt light-headed, he was supposed to shift the camera angle away but was reluctant to.

“Jiaojiao, are you still filming these days?”

“No, 'Double-Faced Lovers' which I recently starred in has been sent for review. Currently besides promoting the movie ‘Frost at Dawn’, I don’t have anything else scheduled. I’m planning to take a break, and uh, resume studies,” Sheng Jiaoyang would always take any opportunities to promote her new drama or movies. As for 'Empress', she would leave it to the two lead actors to promote it.

“Studies?” Zhuo Yiyan was stunned.

“Don’t forget, I’m still a student, my studies are important.”

“I thought you would stop studying and focus on filming.”

“I didn’t take a semester break from school even when I had a hectic schedule in the first half of this year. Now, it’s even more unlikely of me to take a break. Since I’ve given the opportunity to study, I’m not going to waste it. I don’t wish to leave bad impressions for my college juniors either.”

By the end of the school term, she had already finished filming her parts for 'Empress' while the new drama 'Double-Faced Lovers' was still in preparations. So, she used that free period to prepare for her exams. Not only was she the top of the class in her major, but she also did very well in her other subjects, and even obtained the first-class scholarship. But instead of keeping the scholarship, she transferred it to another classmate whose family wasn’t doing very well.

Now the school was using her as the ambassador to attract more students. Her photos were on the school’s website and they even uploaded a detailed biography of her ‘inspirational life’. It was definitely effective in attracting many fangirls and boys to apply at the school.

In the first half of the year, though she hadn’t produced any works, her popularity had been maintained quite well with the continuous trailers and occasional tabloid news. Now all that remained was to await the outbreak of a new project.

Both of them chatted a while more. Only when the directors returned to inform them of the contestants’ audition did they put their focus back on the contestants.

With an outstanding predecessor like Jiaojiao, the performance of this season’s contestants were mediocre, none of them stood out.

But for the show’s ratings, Sheng Jiaoyang couldn’t express her frustrations. Instead, she tried her best in discovering the strengths of the contestants and expanded on those.

The plain-looking contestant won the chance to walk on the runway in the bonus points segment, adding 10 points to her final score, whilst the remaining three remained status quo.

When all the contestants returned, the three contestants appeared quite dejected. The production team gave each of them a chance to audition, but they weren’t chosen, so they couldn’t blame anyone else.

The final round was coming up.

Unlike the previous years, this season’s final was located at a Chinese fashion designer’s fashion show.

The ten contestants who were eliminated from the previous rounds had returned this time to become the models for the fashion show alongside a few hired models.

Since becoming Xu Jiaojiao, it was her first time viewing the fashion show as a member of the audience. The results of the top four contestants largely relied on the scores given by the ten judging panellists’ from both domestic and foreign fashionistas. As part of the judging panel, Xu Jiaojiao had the power to add five points to a contestant’s final score.

Do not belittle those five points. The standards of the finalists were quite similar, and the current scores did not differ by a huge margin. These five points could entirely change the outcome of the competition.

The seats were slowly filling up as everyone waited for the fashion show to start.

Suddenly, the program director came over to discuss with Sheng Jiaoyang.

The designer’s finale model was rushed to the hospital with sudden abdominal pains, and the director’s team would like to invite her to be the finale model for the show. The director’s intention was obvious; he wanted to use her as the program’s stunt and increase the viewership ratings.

Furthermore, Sheng Jiaoyang was of a similar size to the original finale model, thus it was fine even if they replaced her last minute. However, it depended on whether Sheng Jiaoyang was willing to go on stage.

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TL: J.Andie | Editor: Grace | TLC: Grace