Autograph girls clean up act

Autograph girls clean up act

The book fair signing ban won't keep pseudo-models away

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Pseudo-models Rainbow Woo (left) and  Tsang Po-ling say they will dress appropriately to go to the book fair.
Pseudo-models Rainbow Woo (left) and Tsang Po-ling say they will dress appropriately to go to the book fair.
Photo: Nora Tam
One of the biggest controversies of this year's book fair is the ban on letting pseudo-models sign their photo books. The decision was made by the fair's organising and advisory board which is made up of authors, academics, and editors and producers from the media.

The board says the book fair's aim is to encourage healthy reading habits among people of all ages and that the models' autograph sessions do not fit this theme.

Although the models' photo books will be on sale at the fair again this year, they will not be officially promoting their books. Last year, several pseudo-models kissed and hugged their fans as a marketing strategy. Many visitors complained, saying this gave the fair a bad image and cheapened the supposedly cultural event.

But many of the models believe banning them from this year's fair is a very harsh decision. 'The book fair organisation has unfairly based their decision to ban pseudo-model book-signing activities purely on subjective statements made by the media,' says Rainbow Woo Sum-nok, an 18-year-old model who belongs to modelling group Donut.

Woo and her fellow models had planned to meet fans and give out doughnuts at the book fair. She believes the organisers' worries about the girls' dress and behaviour are unnecessary.

'We dress appropriately in accordance with the nature of events,' Woo says. 'We are just going to wear clothes that make us look beautiful.'

Fellow Donut model, 21-year-old Tsang Po-ling, better known as Ar Yu, believes her book promotes a healthy style of beauty.

Tsang's manager Admond Cheung admits there are pseudo-models who do wear risque outfits and make overly suggestive poses. But some are going too far in response to the book fair ban.

Some models have released text-only copies of their books. And Chrissie Chau, possibly the best-known pseudo-model, directly challenges the advisory committee in her text and photo book, by including slogans such as 'The book fair is a platform to encourage a healthy style of beauty' and 'I will take part in Hong Kong Book Fair's book-signing event every year'.

Cheung, who does not manage Chau, says this challenge to authority and desperate cry for media attention is naive and immature.

This year, the book fair advisory committee has implemented strict rules to 'clean up' the event and ensure that everyone from young children to adults can enjoy it.

Although some fans may miss the spectacle of an official pseudo-model appearance, teachers and parents will no doubt be encouraging more youngsters to visit the book fair which starts tomorrow.

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