In fact, it was another change of skin-color that put an end to her early
I used to go to the beach a lot when I was a kid. In fact I used to tell my
mom that I was going to church on Sunday, and I would wear my swimsuit
under the muumu and then go to the beach with friends. I'd spend the
whole day at the beach, then put my muumu back on and go home. My mom
couldn't understand why I was getting so dark. My mother would go nuts
because she's Chinese and she didn't want me to get dark. Chinese think
that fair skin is more beautiful, but then I didn't care."
Hu started to care at the age of 13 when she started looking for modeling
jobs. "The first thing the agent asked me was 'Is that your natural skin
color?' My mom jumped in and said, 'No, it's not!' The agent told me I had
to lose my tan."
It took over a year for Hu's tan to fade. Then she signed up for the only
modeling class she could afford. "My mom pretty much raised me by
herself, and she didn't really have a lot of money. She sent me to the
cheapest one around, the Sears Charm School." It paid off. "I know it sounds
stupid, but I learned a lot. I think it was because I wanted to learn so
much, I was like a sponge. I worked on it a lot."
Her career got its start thanks to a strong demand in Japan for
eurasian models. "They were recruiting a lot of girls to spend summers
there." When she was 15, Hu decided she would follow in the footsteps of
fellow Hawaii native Malia Yamamura who had won first runner up in the
national competition the year before and went on to achieve spectacular
success in Japan. Hu succeeded too well.
"I won the national title and wasn't even allowed to model for a whole year,
which defeated the purpose of entering in the first place. But of course it
opened a lot of doors for me."