Summer may be over, but the memories are not! We caught up with two of our jet-setting Nous girls, Tori and Grace, to speak on their recent adventures overseas. Here’s what they had to say ~
Tori Bass spotted in the Clapham district of London photographed by Shonay.
First and foremost, Where did you girls travel to?
Tori: I travelled around London and made a quick visit to Cologne (Germany).
Grace: Hong Kong with occasional visits to Guangzhou.
What brought you there?:
Tori: A mix of a vacation and work.
Grace: A few months prior, Nous spoke about sending me somewhere in Asia after I graduated from High School, but I wasn’t sure as to where at the time. Then in August, I got an email making sure that my passports were current, and to prepare to leave for Hong Kong; few days had passed when I got an email saying that I’d be leaving the next day! 24 hours later, I was on a plane to begin a new journey in my modeling career!
Where have you stayed or are staying for the majority of your trip?
Grace: I’m staying in a neighborhood on Hong Kong Island called Kennedy Town, which is an area where a lot of families live. It has only recently started to become more connected to the rest of the island because of its MTR station that was added in January. Because of this, the area is a more “hipster” part of Hong Kong, and it’s not as modernized as the more downtown areas such as Central.
Tori: I stayed in Greenwich, London. It has some of the best views of the city.
City views in Greenwich, London.
Did you girls get to visit any cool historical landmarks that you can now cross off your bucket list?
Tori: I went just about everywhere. Being the history nerd that I am, we visited Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Hever Castle in Kent, Kensington Palace, Churchill’s War Rooms, and a whole lot more! I was so happy to finally cross them off my list of places to visit.
What is the fashion like where you two visited?:
Grace: The fashion is pretty similar to that in the states, due to the western influence in Hong Kong. I’ve noticed that people tend to look ‘on-trend’ and put together, and I’ve seen more people carrying designer handbags than in Los Angeles (although maybe some of them are awesome knockoffs, who knows?).
Tori: Everyone is London seems to dress super fashionable. A sort of “elegant but comfortable” vibe.
What’s something you packed that’s not absolutely essential, but you like having it?
Grace: Probably a journal. It’s been a good way for me to reflect on what I’ve learned throughout this trip in Hong Kong. I’ve also been making a list of lessons in it to take away from this experience, ranging from simple ones like never leaving the apartment without a portable charger, to more personal ones!
Out of all of the foreign cities that you have visited recently, which place stuck out the most?:
Grace: Out of the two cities, definitely Hong Kong. I love how everything is super connected and easy to get to, and how it has several cool places in nature that you can go to if you want to escape the city.
Tori: Probably Cologne. I had never been to a German country before so I didn’t know what to expect! It was so beautiful and the weather was perfect!
A street view of Cologne, Germany’s sensational architecture.
How neat! That’s great that you found a easy way to get around the city. This brings me to my next question – What did you find to be the most effective form of transportation (walking, car, bus, train, etc) in the city or cities that you visited?
Grace: In HK, I usually take the subway system, called the MTR, and then walk the rest of the way. But when I’m in Guangzhou, we go to castings and jobs in taxis and vans, which makes for great book reading time.
Tori: I did a little bit of everything, but mostly stuck to the ‘Tube’ (London’s underground public rapid transit system). It makes it so easy to get practically anywhere in London.
Grace scanning her options at the Ladies Market in Hong Kong.
Thank you for your advice! Both sound like great tools to use when navigating through London and Hong Kong. Yet, while venturing through each city, did either of you guys discover any ‘hidden gems’ that most people have not heard of?
Tori: Greenwich Palace is fairly popular, but if you’re into history like me, then it’s definitely a good place to stop. It holds a lot of history that I had no idea about.
Grace: The Ladies Market in Mong Kok is great for finding cheap items, and for a bargaining, too (although my friend I went with did most of that for me haha).
Both of those places sound interesting! Now- let’s talk about people. Did either of you meet an interesting person while traveling that you felt has positively impacted your life?
Grace: Yes, just recently I had a conversation with a new friend at dinner, while I was feeling a little homesick. I asked her if she ever felt that way, and she told me that while she does miss home, she uses those feelings to motivate her to go even further in her modeling because she knows that she’ll always be supported by her loved ones. This caused me to think about homesickness in a new way, and it also motivates me to work harder as I continue to model in HK, because I want my family to be proud of me when I return.
Tori taking the summer sunshine in while working in London.
I love that you shared this with our readers, as it broadens the perspective for those that fear that modeling would disconnect them from their loved ones (by traveling so frequently). Moving forward, what time of the year do you believe would be the best time to visit the city that you traveled to?
Grace: Probably in the fall. I arrived in August, and it’s been really humid and hot here so far. In the fall, it’s supposed to cool down and become less humid, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.
Tori: Visiting London in the Summer was the best decision. Since it tends to be rainy and cold (during a large portion of the year), it was nice being able to experience the city while the weather was still beautiful! However, I’ve heard London is stunning during the Christmas time too, so I’ll have to visit again soon.
Now, I’m sure while visiting these cities you two also had some pretty spectacular meals. If someone was planning to travel to the cities that you visited, what’s the one meal they shouldn’t miss?
Tori: If you visit Cologne, you have to visit Freddy Schilling! I’ve never had a better veggie burger in my life!
Grace: If you visit Hong Kong, Dim Sum! You order a bunch of small plates and it’s especially good for a weekend brunch.
Dim Sum, a famous meal local to Hong Kong, spread out in all it’s yummy glory.
Oh my- both of these dishes sound delicious. I am sure with all tasty options near by, it can be hard to focus on health. What do you do to stay healthy/fit while you travel?
Tori: I found that finding healthier vegan options in London was a lot easier than I would have imagined. I never had a problem finding something to stay within my dietary preferences.
Grace: There’s this unsweetened Jasmine Green Tea that’s sold in almost every convenience and grocery store that has been one of my go-to drinks. I’m going to miss it when I arrive back in the states.
Tori’s passport ready to embark on her adventure with her to London and Cologne.
Thank you both for sharing. Both sound like solid ways to stay fit while abroad. Now, in a more generalized sense, I am sure our readers would love to know: what was the most exciting thing about modeling abroad?
Tori: Traveling has always been a passion of mine, so having the opportunity at all is amazing! I love having the chance to meet different people that I maybe wouldn’t cross paths with back home.
Grace: Probably having the experience of living on my own for the first time, and being nearly halfway around the world from home too! Also getting to experience the culture and lifestyle of Hong Kong has been wonderful for me.
Did either of you find any differences between modeling in the United States VS. abroad?
Grace: Yes. In the US, I would do mostly editorial style modeling. But in HK and Asia in general, modeling is much more commercial, and I had to learn to adapt to this style (I didn’t have much experience with it prior to coming to Asia). But I feel that it has only helped me grow as a model, because I’ve learned to be more familiar with this style.
Tori Bass working her magic for ASOS in London.
Tori: Yeah definitely. It’s hard to point out any single difference between working in the U.S. and U.K., but I really did love working for ASOS. They’re a massive company so there’s lots of going on/people on staff, but they still manage to put out a very relaxed, and easy going vibe to keep everyone motivated.
Are there any social norms or practices that you’ve encountered on your travels that you wish were more common in the USA?
Grace: I’ve noticed that people who are sick tend to wear face masks. I wish that was a thing in the US, especially at schools, because I feel that fewer people would catch colds here.
Do you have any additional advice for others that wish to travel to this city?:
Tori: When it comes to traveling around London, be sure to visit as many markets as you can! I loved seeing all the different types of foods, crafts, and clothes that all of them had to offer.
Grace: Be prepared for the humidity and high temperatures! It does get cooler in late September (as I’ve been told). Also, living space is much smaller in HK than it is in the US, so don’t overpack.
Love what you see so far? Check out this video of Grace opening FFIXXED STUDIOS‘ SS18 Runway show!:
View Grace’s portfolio and follow her on Instagram.
& also, take a peek at Tori working her magic in London during a shoot by Shonay:
View Tori’s portfolio and follow her on Instagram.