More than just a pretty face

Updated: 2013-08-06 13:51

By Raymond Zhou (China Daily)

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More than just a pretty face

A scene from Fan Bingbing's latest movie "One Night Surprise." Photo provided to China Daily

Fan Bingbing has such exquisite looks that she may have a career no matter what. But she wants it all. She has proved that she can play parts that either go along with her beauty or in spite of it, writes Raymond Zhou.

Fan Bingbing knows she is beautiful. She wants to be known for more than that. For example, when she makes an appearance outside China, she wants others to know she is Chinese.

"Whenever they see an Asian face, they would assume it's Korean or Japanese, and that makes me unhappy," says the 31-year-old actress. That's why she dons a gown that clearly states her cultural identity while walking down the red carpet at the French Riviera. For four consecutive years, she has chosen a wardrobe that featured distinctly Chinese motifs.

"The biggest difference between Asian and Western aesthetics is in the temperament," she theorizes, segueing into an explanation that the first time she went to Cannes was to promote Chongqing Blues, a film she stars in and that had got into the lineup of the prestigious festival. She was not asked if her trips to Cannes were to promote high fashion, as is the allegation widespread in China, but she subtly refuted it before this interviewer even brought it up.

In China, Fan Bingbing is widely seen as one of the most gorgeous female stars. That perception carries with it certain stigma, such as the suspicion that she is used in movies chiefly as a wallflower, that she has a limited acting range, that she has had it easy rising up on the ladder of fame.

A simple look at her schedule would debunk some of that myth. Fan works extremely hard. For one year alone, she made as many as nine movies, although some in supporting roles. In recent years, she has whittled down to one or two film projects a year, but the movies were obviously built around her persona and she appears in almost every scene.


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