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Chinese ex-model's life shines on in near-blindness

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-05-18 09:11
Wang Leilei (left) trains a child on her posture in Shenyang, Liaoning province on May 13. [Photo/Xinhua]

SHENYANG -- "Keep your body straight when you are walking, and remain this way when you stop at the end," said Wang Leilei, an entrepreneur and ex-model, as she demonstrates how to walk the catwalk at an art school in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province.

Currently in her forties, Wang remains elegant and graceful in her every move, making it easy to forget that she suffers from near-blindness.

Wang began her career as a model at the age of 16, but six years before that, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye illness that causes a gradual loss of eyesight.

File photo: Wang Leilei (center) poses with fellow contestants after a modeling competition in 2007. [Photo/Xinhua]

The illness did not keep Wang from choosing her dream career. "When I was in junior high school, I underwent surgery and regained some of my eyesight," said Wang. "Later I decided to study to be a model."

Wang treasured her years on the catwalk, but the worsening illness still took its toll. "Sometimes I had to clutch on the sleeves of my fellow models so not to stumble," Wang recalled. "Later it became so bad that I couldn't see myself clearly even when standing close to a mirror."

In 2004, Wang had to leave behind her beloved world of spotlights and catwalks. But luckily for her, she was then accompanied by her newly married husband Ai Shuyi, whom she met a year before.

"I knew her troubles, and I said I would be her eyes," said Ai. It was these words that touched Wang's heart.

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