Putting overachievement under the limelight

Updated: 2011-12-14 13:35

(China Daily)

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It's difficult to know which of Yue-sai Kan's identities - Emmy Award-winning TV producer, fashion icon, entrepreneur or philanthropist - are being talked about when speaking about "the most famous woman in China", as People Magazine calls her.

The daughter of acclaimed painter Wing-lin Kan was born in China. In 1972, she moved to New York, where she founded Yue-sai Kan Productions and started her own TV program, Looking East, to explain Asian cultures and customs to US audiences.

The show, which aired for 12 years - the last two years of which was on the Discovery Channel - paved the way for her to become a legendary TV personality.

PBS invited her to broadcast the 35th anniversary of New China's founding live from China in 1984.

She became a household name in China after CCTV invited her to introduce the West to Chinese audiences in the program One World.

Kan took a hiatus from the small screen in 1992 to create the cosmetics brand Yue-sai. She also has a lifestyle product line called House of Yue-sai that sells furniture, bedding, lighting and fine wine from Bordeaux.

Kan returned to television with a 52-part series called Yue-sai's World in 2005. The highly acclaimed series featured such luminaries as legendary music producer Quincy Jones, Jordan's Queen Noor, and artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

She has also established a fund that builds schools and awards scholarships to outstanding but poor students in high schools and universities in China. In 2002, UNICEF named her as its first and only Global Chinese "Say Yes" ambassador.

Kan has recently signed on as the Miss Universe China Pageant's national director.

She will provide training and assistance to contestants to prove, "Chinese women have the brains, beauty and style to be successful."