Meet Lou Demetroulakos: The NYU Shanghai Portal Student who Thinks the Twenty-First Century is 'China’s Century' 

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Maisha: How would you describe your style?

Lou: I would describe my style as “Shanghai.” To me this means deeply cosmopolitan and yet edgy and brand new. I try and be clean and tailored in the office and relaxed and sporty the rest of the time. My friends would say, “Lou’s style is a fusion of untamed and unpredictable, so it’s always fun to guess how he will surprise us each day.”

Maisha: Are there any designers whose style you resonate with most?

Lou: Tom Ford. Tom Ford. And Tom Ford.

Maisha: What would you say is the best style piece in your closet?

Lou: I have a Lanificio Cerruti Bespoke Tailored suit. I call it my superhero outfit because when I wear it I seriously feel like I can do anything.

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Maisha: If you were to buy one item tomorrow, what would it be?

Lou: I always tell my friends, “No matter what happens today, DO NOT let me go to Zara.” I spend a healthy average of 1.72 hours per week browsing the massive Zara-s here in Shanghai and I am deeply in love. So to answer the question, I would go to Zara, look around, and then talk myself in and out of buying something. Sometimes this process gets very intense, but Zara always finds a way back to my heart.

Maisha: What are currently studying?

Lou: I’m a Global China Studies major.

Maisha: I know you’re an NYU Shanghai portal student. When people think NYU, they mostly associate it with New York City. I think it’s quite interesting that your idea of NYU is in Shanghai, so I gotta ask, why Shanghai?

Lou: I truly believe that the Twenty-First Century is “China’s Century.” The innovation and excitement here caught my eye and I wanted to see it first hand. The last couple years have completely changed my life as well as my perceptions of China. I absolutely love it here and am excited to call this city home after graduation.

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Maisha: So how did you come to your decision to go to China?

Lou: I did not want a traditional college experience. I felt that going to China was a great opportunity to put myself out there and challenge myself to adapt to life in this part of the world. On a more basic level, I saw a picture of the Shanghai skyline on Google and I’ve been in love ever since. I highly recommend everyone to come pay a visit to Shanghai and I am more than happy to be your tourguide.

Maisha: What is it about the Chinese culture that is most intriguing to you?

Lou: The balance between thousand year old traditions and cutting edge creativity. There is an amazing balance here between the old and the new. You can have a traditional Chinese tea ceremony and walk outside and look up at the second tallest skyscraper in the world. There is something unnerving about this striking contrast and yet freeing at the same time.

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Photo By: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Maisha: What’s your take on U.S. China relationships? Assuming you’ve somewhat seen and experienced both sides, would you prefer one over another?

Lou: The success of the U.S. China relationship is entirely dependent on both side’s ability to follow and respect historic precedents. In spite of increasing uncertainty on the American side, I am confident in the relationship going forward–especially given the continued reliance and exchange happening between the two sides. NYU is playing a crucial role in securing the future of this relationship with its establishment of the first Sino-US joint venture university here at NYU Shanghai. It is thrilling to be part of this experiment in higher education and so far it has been a tremendous success.

After having lived here for two years, I have become increasingly critical of America and do prefer living in China. That being said, I am a strong believer that the two countries can and should work closely together, as the U.S. has a lot to learn from China and China has a lot to learn from the U.S.

Interviewee: Lou Demetroulakos

Photographed by: Jackie, Wenqian Hu

Interviewed by: Maisha Kabir