Name: Cinzia Chang
Profession: Sales Advisor for Acne Studios
Currently: Model for Boob spring/summer collection 2019 together with baby Erling
Tell us a bit about your journey and how you came to be the person you are today.
I was born and raised in a small town in central Taiwan called Caotun. My elder brother and I were brought up by my parents. I have also always been very close with my grandmother since she took care of us while my mom was working. At the age of 17, I moved to Taipei for four years to study at the university. I started running every day during the summer break and kept it up as my routine.
That was how I met my husband Björn. He was a visiting student at my university. One day he saw me running on the track while he was playing football and came up to talk to me. We started dating. In the same year that I took part in a beauty pageant. I was lucky to win the title Miss Republic of China and later I took part in Miss World 2013. Taking part in such a big and stressful competition really made me see so many sides of myself: the ambitious, confident, and competitive, as well as the vulnerable, insecure and weak sides. It helped me better to understand myself and to be able to face many things in life later on.
I moved to Sweden in December 2013, and two months later, I was very lucky to get a job at Hollister as an assistant store manager. In 2015, Björn and I moved to Boston for one year due to his studies. In 2016, we had our wedding in Taiwan and then moved back to Stockholm. I started working for Acne Studios for one year before we got our kid on February 1st. I am happy about the journeys I took in my life. Today, I see myself as a strong, independent, positive and out-going woman.
What’s most on your mind lately?
My son’s well-being, his development. He started walking a few days ago. He is only 10 months and 11 days old! As a mother, I hope it is okay to feel a little bit proud. I am also starting to plan his one-year-old birthday party. Time flies! Before I know it, he will become a boy! However, he will always be my sweet baby.
With a background in beauty pageants as a former Miss Republic of China, you’re a pro in front of the camera. How was it to do the Boob shoot together with your baby son Erling?
Doing the Boob photoshoot was a unique and memorable day for both of us. But there were also a lot of thoughts on my mind: “Did my body look good enough for a photoshoot?” “Was my belly still looking like a deflated balloon?” “How do I look in front of the camera now?” However, when I kept in mind that my body just created and delivered a human being, and Boob is a brand that really embraces motherhood, there were no reasons for self-doubt. Having my son next to me also made me feel strong, proud and confident.
I was also a bit worried how Erling would react to such a different environment, but then I realized that my presence made him calm. I had such a good time and he always senses my mood and responds accordingly. He understood that we were doing something fun. I still remember how happy he was in front of the camera that day.
Cinzia and Erling
You were born and raised in Taiwan but live in Sweden today with your Swedish husband. What would you say differs the most for being pregnant and a parent in these two places?
In Taiwan, people look upon having a child as an obligation to carry on the next generation. People thus take it more or less for granted that you will get a child once you get married. The welfare system is not that developed in Taiwan, so it is quite expensive to raise a child. Many mothers choose to go back to work only three months after childbirth. The grandparents or a babysitter often takes care of the child during the first few years. It is normal to start kindergarten at the age of four. Some working parents even have their babies living with their grandparents and only meet them on the weekends. Comparing to Sweden, being a parent in Taiwan is less of a “full-time” task. Raising my son in Sweden, I really appreciate that I have been able to spend every day with him and take care of him by myself since he was born. It is a big blessing to see him grow and learn every day.
When Erling was eight months, we went to stay with my family in Taiwan for six months. My mother is still working, but is helping a lot in the evenings. It has been really nice to take a little break now and then. Erling is now ten months old, so he just wants to go everywhere and move around every second that he is awake. One thing I like about Taiwan is that our neighbours love babies. As soon as we step out the door, there will always be neighbours greeting him and wanting to hold him. There is also kid coming by to knock on our door and wanting to play with Erling.
Are there any Taiwanese traditions or other specialities that you do not want you son to grow up without?
I would not want Erling to miss out celebrating Chinese New Year. It is like celebrating Christmas for Swedish people. We have a big feast with the whole family, and put up red drawings on the doors that ask for good luck and well-being. As kids, we always got “lucky money” in red envelopes from the adults. It is the highlight of the year in Taiwan and I cannot wait to spend it with Erling for the first time next year.
I also do not want him to miss out a traditional ritual called “zhuazhou”. When he turns one year old, he should be dressed in a traditional outfit, and pick one from a bunch of objects that each represents a different type of career. The first object he picks will indicate what kind of career he will take one in the future. Of course, we do not take the result seriously but it is a fun event for all parents. One last tradition that I think is important is the ancient Chinese tradition of paying homage to your ancestors and visiting temples. I would like my son always to be grateful about his origins and life itself.
Cinzia in Amelia jumpsuit
Name three things you do not want to be without in your everyday life as a parent.
Water, lotion, and lip-gloss. Since becoming a mother, I am constantly thirsty from breast-feeding, and I have to wash my hands so often when taking care of my son so my hands get very dry. I still do not find any time to put on make-up properly. Wearing some lip-gloss is the only thing I have time for and it makes me feel more presentable... So these are the three things that I will always have for myself in my diaper bag admit a bagful of Erling’s stuff.
Where are you most happy?
Right now anywhere where I can be with my Taiwanese family. I have been waiting for them to get the chance to meet Erling. Now that we are in Taiwan, it brings me so much joy and love to see him bringing smiles to all my family. Seeing him laughing in my mother or grandmother’s arms make me feel so warm in my heart. Happiness became so simple since Björn and I became parents. It is amazing. We always used to look out for fun stuff to do in the weekends. Since Erling arrived, happiness is just being home and watching him. Or going to the “open kindergarten” to watch him play with toys and other little kids. Or just taking good long nap together with him. Seeing him having fun gives me so much joy, it is as if I am at harmony with everything and my son is literally my whole world.
Cinzia and Erling
As a family that likes to spend time hiking in nature. Do you have any tips or favourite spots you like to share?
In Stockholm, we love going to Nacka nature reserve whenever we feel like a bit of nature. It is easy to get there even without a car and you can decide the distance you wish to walk. In the summer when Erling was five months old, we took a boat to Äpplarö in the archipelago. It was the first time going camping with Erling. It was an unforgettable and cosy experience sleeping in a tent together in the nature. Another place that we really like is Gömmaren nature reserve just south of Kungens kurva, a great place for a swim and a half-day excursion in the summer.
What do you hope to pass on to your son?
I think the most important thing to pass on to him is my mother tongue. I want him to learn Chinese and understand the culture in which I grew up.
What do you want the world your child grows up in to look like?
I would say an embracing, including, and non-judgemental environment. An environment in which everyone can be as one really is and know that everyone is an unique individual. When I think back on how my generation grew up in Taiwan, it was an environment where there were too much comparison about school grades and other kinds of performance. I want my son to grow up in an environment that is free, like Sweden! One more thing, I also want him to grow up close to nature!
What’s at the top of your wish list?
It would be nice to get the chance to go to the opera or a ballet show or a concert. A weekend retreat at a nice spa center would also be nice. Because you know… after becoming a mother, one can need a little relaxation anytime!