Belarusian Iryna Yang, who also goes by her Vietnamese name as Tường Vy, is a popular face on the modelling scene in Việt Nam.
With a BA in Intercultural Communication from Minsk State Linguistic University, Iryna first came to Việt Nam five years ago for an educational exchange. She studied at Hà Nội University for a semester.
“I enjoyed studying and living in Hà Nội, so I decided to move here after my graduation,” she told Việt Nam News.
“It wasn’t very difficult for me to adapt to living here,” she said. “I think partially it is because I am pretty easy-going and open to trying new things. However, I also received enormous support from my Vïetnamese friends who helped me to settle in here.”
Iryna said the most challenging part was getting used to Hà Nội’s weather, particularly in the summer and winter.
“I was surprised that in the winter it feels as cold as in Belarus, although the temperate never drops below zero,” she revealed.
In general, her lifestyle here is much more relaxed.
“I could slow down here and enjoy doing simple things, like going out for a morning coffee or taking care of my dog. One more thing I like about living in Việt Nam is that it gives me many opportunities to travel around the country,” she said.
Iryna said Việt Nam’s landscape is very varied, so there are a lot of beautiful places to visit.
“I often think that I’ve already visited quite a few, but then I keep discovering new and new places. Moreover, travelling around Việt Nam isn’t very expensive, so it is possible to explore lots of nice locations on a relatively small budget.
Iryna said she has been to a number of places like Đà Nẵng, Đà Lạt, Hội An, Sa Pa, Buôn Ma Thuột, Hồ Chí Minh City and Hạ Long Bay. Yet her absolute favourite is Phú Yên.
“To me, it is a place where I can emotionally recharge and take a good rest from the big city life,” she said. “It is a peaceful place with scenic beaches and tasty seafood. I was also pleasantly surprised by how welcoming and friendly people in Phú Yên are.”
Iryna said her life in Việt Nam has been very eventful. One of the most interesting things she has done so far is being a guest on a travel show.
“I participated in the programme called Bản Đồ Ẩm Thực Việt Nam,” she said. “Our episode was shot in Cần Thơ, a lovely city in the Mekong Delta. We went to a nice farm and had a chance to try famous local food. I also got to make some Belarusian dishes. It was a fun and memorable experience.”
Fond of cuisine, Iryna said Việt Nam is a paradise of tasty dishes to her. She thinks Vietnamese food is well balanced and good for her health.
She likes popular dishes like bún đậu mắm tôm (vermicelli with fried tofu dipped in shrimp paste), phở (beef noodle), xôi cá rô đồng (steamed sticky rice with perca fish) and nem nướng Nha Trang (grilled fermented pork roll). She can eat steamed sticky rice the whole day.
Iryna has studied the Vietnamese language to ease her life here. She said learning Vietnamese is very difficult.
“I always admire foreigners who managed to master speaking Vietnamese. The most challenging part for me is pronouncing the tones correctly because it seems I don’t have an ear for tones,” she said.
Iryna said it’s always adorable to see people’s reactions when they find out she can speak some Vietnamese.
“I’m really tall, so whenever I go in a lift with a group of people, they will be surprised about my height and start guessing it,” she said. “So I usually just listen to the conversation and then suddenly reply in Vietnamese. Usually, they are genuinely shocked, but after that, we will laugh it off and have a small talk in Vietnamese.”
Iryna said she works as a model and English language teacher. She is also currently developing her social media channels. She usually teaches in the evening and at the weekend, so mostly I have free time in the daytime.
“Every day is different and I am happy to have the freedom to build my day the way I want,” she said. “In my free time, I enjoy travelling, working out and doing pilates, watching movies and training my dog.”
Her younger sister, Palina Yang, a professional model, has just come to Việt Nam to stay with her. Palina has performed for some noted brand names like Giorgio Armani and Christophe Josse. She has worked in Italy, France and China for some years.
Mentioning her plan, Iryna said she likes to travel to some places in Việt Nam that she hasn’t visited yet, like Côn Đảo and Nha Trang, with her sister.
“I also want to keep developing my social media and create content about my experience living and travelling in Việt Nam,” she said.
Iryna said Việt Nam to her is “fun, tasty and unpredictable (but in a good way).”
“The fashion industry in Việt Nam is developing pretty fast. I remember that even a couple of years ago there weren’t as many brands and fashion events as there are now,” she said. “I think it’s possible to develop your career as a model here, as long as you meet the industry standards.” VNS