14:57 GMT25 October 2020
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    Men Jiahui grabbed third prize at the China Lingerie Model Competition in 2008 and thereafter decided to join the army upon learning that the PLA had started to okay women’s enrolment applications. She quickly rose to stardom in her new profession, acknowledging that life has become somewhat tougher, although she has no regrets about it all.

    Ahead of the China National Day on 1 October, one lady is trending with particular gusto - a Chinese model-turned guard of honour Men Jiahui, with videos of her shared on Chinese social media, and YouTube.

    Men Jiahui is an award-winning lingerie model and studied art despite her childhood dream to join the military.

    She “put it on hold” (as she put it in an interview with QQ.com) for what seemed to be indefinitely and was amazed to hear that the PLA had opened for female enrolment in her native Lianing Province – something that revived her old dream.

    Her career in the army has become no less glorious than the one on the catwalk: she was first driven to fame in 2015 after she marched with other female soldiers at a parade on China’s Victory Day.

    Ms Men, 5 feet 10 inches in height, stood out remarkably from numerous other soldiers at the ceremony, which celebrated the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II.

    There even emerged a clip of Ms Men performing in front of other PLA guards of honour, garnering millions of views and tens of thousands of comments on the short-video platform Douyin. The video was shared by newspaper the People’s Daily and shows Ms Men being introduced to the troop before she flaunts her catwalk to her comrades, generating a huge ovation.

    Ms Men, who has since the milestone parade been dubbed “the most beautiful soldier in China”, became a talking point online the other day after Beijing announced that it would hold a grand-scale military parade on 1 October to celebrate the National Day of the People's Republic of China. The move instantly stirred the Internet, with the Chinese eagerly recalling the elite good-looking guards of honour in the PLA traditionally tasked with marching in downtown Beijing.

    The former runway queen referred to both of her occupations, one of which is already a thing of the past, as having much in common:

    “Both jobs are to present yourself in front of other people and be seen”, she told China Central Television Station in an earlier interview, admitting, though, that her life had become a bit tougher with the career switch. “But I do not regret”, she rounded off.


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