Chapter 4 - Exemption Pass

Inside the testing area, there was a table of instruments with another queue of people standing in front of it. These instruments were used to take the weight, height, and three measurements of the applicants’. Then, the data would automatically be scanned into the computer and added to the applicants’ information form. It couldn’t be any easier.

When Sheng Jiaoyang entered the testing area, she immediately lined up to have her measurements taken. As soon as her physical data was added to her information on the computer and sent to another area for staff members to check, she was finished with this part of the application process.

Next, she was sent to the interview area, where there was another queue of people waiting. In the corridor outside the interview room, there were about ten or so people anxiously standing around. Since they were all waiting for their names to be called by a staff member, everyone was very quiet.

Sheng Jiaoyang noticed that the two girls who’d previously been in front of her were once again standing before her. The tall girl’s expression was extremely nervous, while the girl called Yang Bao was standing next to her and holding her hand.

It didn’t take too long to sort through the people waiting in the corridor, so by the time it was Sheng Jiaoyang’s turn, only around half an hour had passed.

“Xu Jiaojiao!” a staff member shouted her name from the doorway.

Sheng Jiaoyang took a deep breath before she entered the interview room.

Once inside, Sheng Jiaoyang saw that there were two interviewers in the room; a man and a woman. They were quietly whispering to each other, and when she neared them, they stopped talking and turned to look at her.

“Xu Jiaojiao?” The young male interviewer looked down at the tablet in his hands, and his voice was filled with no small amount of surprise. “Wow, you’ve changed a lot!”

Compared to the male interviewer, the female interviewer was older. But, since she was dressed in a younger style, it was difficult to tell exactly how old she was.

Sheng Jiaoyang calmly moved closer, and it was only then that she could clearly see the nameplates on the table in front of each interviewer.

Zhuo Yiyan and Jiang Yi.

She didn’t know who Jiang Yi was, but she’d heard about Zhuo Yiyan. After all, he’d only recently been dubbed as a popular fashion icon of the entertainment industry.

Jiang Yi carefully scanned Sheng Jiaoyang before she nodded in approval. The person in the ID card photo had her tied hair up into a ponytail, and had thick bangs. Also, she was wearing glasses, which gave her the appearance of a bookworm. There were absolutely no strong points about the girl in the picture. Yet the girl standing before her now was completely different! She had stylish short hair, and there was no makeup on her facial features. Although she was only wearing a cheap white t-shirt and denim shorts, the small tricks she’d used on her clothes undoubtedly revealed her slim figure and youthfulness.

“You wouldn’t usually be so dressed up, right?” Jiang Yi asked.

“Yes, my family is poor,” Sheng Jiaoyang casually answered. Her tone was flat, expressing that she didn’t feel inferior in the slightest. The two interviewers couldn’t help but raise their eyebrows in surprise.

“Today’s outfit is pretty good. Your hairstyle and clothing ensemble is rather clever; were they your own choices?” Zhuo Yiyan propped his chin up on one hand as he examined Sheng Jiaoyang from top to bottom.

Sheng Jiaoyang bent her head and glanced at her clothes. As her fingers played with the short tassels at the end of her t-shirt, she calmly replied, “Please forgive me. This was the first time I’ve used scissors, so the cut is bad!”

The clothes in her wardrobe had been unacceptable for the competition, so the clothes that she’d worn the day before had been washed and dried last night so that she could wear them again today. But, she’d made slight changes to the outfit so that it wasn’t the same. She needed more patience than what she had to wear the same pieces of clothing for two consecutive days.

Since she’d come to participate in a competition, she naturally had to find ways to enter the finals. Originally, she was referred to as quite tall, but when she’d come here, she’d discovered that her height wasn’t an advantage at all. In fact, her stature was somewhat short when it was compared to the group of people waiting outside in the corridor. If she didn’t now exhibit some other ability, perhaps it would be too difficult to pass the interview.

“The clothes you’re currently wearing were modified by yourself?” Jiang Yi looked extremely surprised.

“I couldn’t find any suitable clothes in my wardrobe, and I had no money to buy myself a new outfit. I could only use what I already had.” In truth, Sheng Jiaoyang was actually very helpless when it came down to it. She’d initially wanted to paint something interesting on the t-shirt, but she couldn’t find any paint or brushes, let alone any watercolours pens.

Both interviewers turned to look at each other with a glimmer of surprise in their eyes.

Jiang Yi continued and asked, “Xu Jiaojiao, do you know what it’s like to be a model?”

“I know a little as my best friend is a model.”

“Then, you should know that this industry isn’t as beautiful as it appears on the surface. Are you prepared to face the hardships it may bring?”

Sheng Jiaoyang slightly raised her brows when she heard that. “I only came to participate in the competition. Whether I enter the model industry or not is dependent on if I suit it.”

Of course, the most important thing to find out was if she was actually willing to join!

Hearing this somewhat unusual reply, Zhou Yiyan asked, “Can you walk on a runway?”

“I’ve never walked on one before.” Sheng Jiaoyang had only ever watched from the audience. She never thought that there’d come a day when she would enter this line of business.

“Have a go, and we’ll take a look at your body’s coordination.”

Sheng Jiaoyang moved back to the door and recalled her friend who’d once practised the process of walking on a runway in front of her. Although that memory was somewhat vague, she still remembered some of the details. As she focused on what to do, she took the first step forward.

“You can see that she’s not accustomed to the movements as her steps aren’t firm enough, but her body’s coordination is acceptable. Knowing the essentials of what to do can be counted as understanding.” Jiang Yi watched Sheng Jiaoyang walk for a little longer before leaning her head closer to Zhuo Yiyan and whispering, “Yiyan, what do you think?”

“Not bad, it’s a good start,” Zhuo Yiyan laughed. “Having never walked before it’s normal that she’s not accustomed to it. It’s okay as long as she’s coordinated. The main point is that she doesn’t seem to have stage fright. Did you notice that since she’s entered until now, she hasn’t once looked nervous? It’s like she’s taking a leisurely stroll around her garden.”

“She said that her family’s poor, so if she were to leisurely stroll around a garden, then it would be a vegetable garden!” Jiang Yi cracked a rare joke.

Sheng Jiaoyang stood still, and seeing that the two interviewers were talking and laughing, she didn’t rush them and instead just silently watched them.

“I see here that you wrote drawing as your specialty; are you an art student?” Zhuo Yiyan swiftly became serious once more, his finger tapping against the screen of the tablet.

“No, I just love drawing.”

“Are you aware that I have an exemption pass in my hands?”

“I know; I read the competition rules.”

“The other contestants all have specialty’s too, and a considerable number of them can sing and dance. What advantages do you think there are in giving this exemption pass to you, instead of another contestant?” Zhuo Yiyan waved the card in his hand.

Sheng Jiaoyang blinked her big eyes, looking unintentionally adorable as she tilted her head to ask, “You’re choosing a supermodel, not a singer. Does being able to sing and dance count as an advantage?”

Zhuo Yiyan laughed. He felt that when the girl before him blinked her eyes, it was quite like his cat, Garfield.

“Compared with singing and dancing, drawing seems even less advantageous. At least those who can sing and dance are more confident about their rhythm.”

Jiang Yi turned her head and looked at Zhuo Yiyan. The interview for this contestant has dragged on for a long time already. Zhuo Yiyan is supposed to be responsible for handling the interview time, yet it seems that he wants to continue talking! This won’t do as there are still many more contestants waiting outside!

“I can judge what does or doesn’t count as an advantage? Everyone’s specialties were written down, so as for mine, we’ll just have to wait and see. This way, it’ll be a surprise once it’s discovered, isn’t that so?” Sheng Jiaoyang rolled her eyes and cleverly replied to Zhuo Yiyan.

“It’ll be a surprise once it’s discovered,” Zhuo Yiyan repeated. “Ahh, you’ve won.”

Zhuo Yiyan gave the exemption pass to Sheng Jiaoyang.

“Take this exemption pass and go home. At a scheduled time, the staff will inform you and the other contestants about who’s passed, the training time, and the address you’ll need to go to.”

“Thank you!” With regards to being able to pass the interview, Sheng Jiaoyang was ecstatic. It had been a long time since she’d experienced the feeling of accomplishing something with her abilities.

Seeing Zhuo Yiyan add Xu Jiaojiao’s name onto the list of contestants who’d passed, Jiang Yi curiously asked, “You only have one exemption pass left now. What about Xu Jiaojiao made you give one to her?”

There were only four exemption pass’; Zhuo Yiyan had two, while the other two were in the hands of the person conducting the video interviews. They were there to send the contestants the judges fancied straight to the final competition segment, and to avoid the contestants who didn’t pass during the exemption pass segment from having a behind-the-scenes-supporter.

“I have a premonition that she’ll go to the finals,” Zhuo Yiyan lightly laughed. Although he was young, he’d been around entertainment circles for several years now and had met all kinds of people. During that time, he’d developed good insight. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have the type of reputation that he currently had.

The finals? Jiang Yi decided to decline on commenting, but she wasn’t at all convinced. Throughout this competition, she’d met many outstanding contestants; some of them had international features, while others had great physical conditions. Xu Jiaojiao’s outward appearance was a delicate body which contrasted well with her personality, yet it was unable to leave a deep impression on Jiang Yi. She felt that such a contestant, when entered into a large group of people, would disappear without any sense of existence.

Zhuo Yiyan glanced at Jiang Yi, a corner of his mouth slightly raising. You don’t believe me? Then, just wait and see.

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