Lingerie? Check. Boobs look perky? Check. My ass isn’t hanging out? Double check. Heels strapped? Check.
I’m about to walk on stage in a lacey lingerie and four-inch heels. I peek out into the lively audience, and it feels like a fever dream on this sunny April 28. What if I fall over in front of the Asian-American population at Stony Brook? I don’t know what’s worse: walking out in lingerie or falling pathetically in my 4-inch heels. Once William Singe’s rendition of “Pony” starts playing, that’s my cue to go out as the first girl to step onto the stage. What in the world am I even doing? I’m walking for the Chinese Association at Stony Brook (CASB)’s China Night’s Lingerie Modeling.
With China Night 2019 preparations already underway, CASB’s biggest event has started.
One portion of the show is lingerie modeling. Yes, walking down a runway in the auditorium of the Student Activities Center (SAC) in fancy underwear and boxers.
CASB’s China Night started in 1971. The club has been around since 1969, and on their Facebook page the club describes itself as a “cultural organization that is dedicated to promoting the Chinese culture through various and exciting events across Stony Brook’s campus.”
“That’s where the money is,” Liang Bokser, an audience member who went to China Night 2018, said of lingerie modeling.
Newcomers to the China Night may be taken aback by the uniqueness of the event. It might be flashy and surprising because the last portion of the night is people walking down half-naked in their lingerie and boxers.
“When I first heard the concept [of lingerie modeling], I thought, ‘Okay, damn, this is new,’ because I’ve never really seen or been to anything like that. I heard that everyone has a lot of fun and it’s our most popular portion of China Night,” Jeffrey Zheng, junior representative for CASB, said.
Sometimes it’s hard to find people who want to participate in something as revealing as lingerie modeling. I wouldn’t blame them because walking out in underwear is bearing your whole being out to an audience.
“It made me really nervous to be walking out in lingerie in front of a huge audience,” said Joie Yee, a junior environmental design policy and planning major who participated in both formal and lingerie modeling last year. I managed to convince her to audition with me and we both did modeling.
In preparation for the event, we practiced in both the Old Computer Science building and in a lecture room in the library every week.
Aside from weekly mandatory practices, she and I would practice in our dorms in front of the mirror. We would run through our poses and practice walking in our heels, which are required to be at least three inches tall for girls.
“Culture shock — especially for Asians, because Asians are known to be more reserved and you don’t expect them to be out flaunting their bodies in lingerie. This is something new to our culture,” Xiu Ming Chen, a junior biology major who is also a sister in the Stony Brook chapter of Kappa Phi Lambda, a Asian-interest sorority. “You don’t really see that many Asian models walking down the runway in lingerie. Just think about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2017 that was in Shanghai, more people are catering to Asian models which show generational changes.”
There are other Asian organizations on campus and there’s a lot of competition to get a big turnout to events.
“I was surprised when I found out there was a lingerie portion of our biggest event, but that’s what I think sets apart CASB from the other organizations,” Winnie Wang said.
She has been with CASB since her freshman year. She is currently one of the committee chairs for this year’s lingerie modeling and a CASBfam manager. CASBfams are groups of people CASB groups together to make a “family.” In each fam group they have general body members and at least one member of their cabinet, or what they call the “CASBinet.” They have competitions against other groups to become the best CASBfam. They can earn points by going to CASB events, gaining a point from each member that shows up. They have held events like Mahjong Tournaments, CASBfam Socials (to introduce the CASBfams), Bao Night (held with the Stony Brook chapter of Nu Alpha Phi fraternity), ‘Tis the Teason (a Christmas-themed event before winter break), Bingsoo From Me to You (held with the Korean Student Association at Stony Brook) and Dim Sum Night (held with the Philippine United Student Organization at Stony Brook).
CASB is such a family-friendly club with their cultural awareness events but to host a show with risqué modeling is a game changer. They have both formal modeling, where dresses and suits are pulled from the closets of those walking on the catwalk, and lingerie modeling, when clothes are not a necessity, but confidence is needed in order to bare it all.
China Night has other segments at the event such as dancing and singing, which allows more people to showcase their talents.
“We like having representation and collaborating with all the other Asian organizations on campus, and China Night is a great way for everyone to be involved and contribute in a variety of ways,” Wang added.
Regarding auditions for modeling, Wang added, “They are completely inclusive to anyone who wants to participate. Sometimes we even have students from other campuses join us on stage, and we appreciate the effort that everyone puts in to make the show happen.”
China Night isn’t just an event made by the club board and cabinet. They have days where people come together to make props for the show.
“We have a prop-making committee that designs the props and other artwork that you see, and those are made by student volunteers,” Wang said.
I think that this experience was one of the highlights of my sophomore year last year. I had something to motivate me to eat healthier and go to the gym more regularly. I was the fittest I’ve ever been since my high school days. That freshman fifteen is no joke. I was able to partake in formal modeling in my freshman year, but I did not do lingerie. I went out of my comfort zone and by doing so, I’ve lived out some people’s worst dream of walking out in their underwear. This was my reality and it’s something I would describe as one of the craziest, best decisions I’ve ever made.
Check out CASB’s China Night 2019 on April 27, 2019! (I’m not sponsored at all but I just admire this club, their mission and their biggest event of the year.)