China's Tinseltown insider

By Alywin Chew ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-10-10 09:30:50

A few years later, Zhou got to meet renowned Chinese R&B singer David Tao, who offered her a job back in China. Following this, Zhou was presented with the opportunity to front NBA coverage in her basketball-crazy country, and despite knowing nothing about the sport, she gamely took up the challenge, putting due diligence into researching the sport in order to become a credible host.

Zhou said that she has now accomplished both her ambitions, having acted in a Hollywood film and "coming full circle" in becoming an entertainment reporter and host. She also took time to count her blessings, saying that she is grateful for being able to learn from her interviewees and travel the world. As part of her work promoting the world premiere of the latest installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, Zhou got to travel to San Francisco, Vienna and Vancouver.

Besides hosting, Zhou is also helping to co-produce Talking to Hollywood because of her familiarity with the nature of Chinese audiences. Being the only Chinese on the crew, her input as to what audiences like naturally carries a lot of weight, but she's hardly fazed by the pressure. In fact, she could probably pat herself on the back for a job well done-the first episode of the show, which aired on May 29 on CCTV 6 in China, garnered more than 1 million viewers.

"This is the first time I'm a host and producer for a show so each episode is my baby. I love all of them," she said. "So far all the comments I've gotten on Weibo (China's Twitter-like service) are positive. The fans love the show and how exclusive the content is. I've had someone say that he doesn't think I'm very pretty but he likes how I interact with the stars."

Rise to fame

Despite her rapid rise to fame, Zhou is surprisingly grounded. If anything, she has demonstrated that she's more of a media professional than celebrity diva.

When her makeup artist insisted on a touch-up before the cameras started rolling for this interview, she replied: "Not too sexy, please." When the cameramen gestured their displeasure at someone in the back of the room who was creating a din during the recording, she coolly said: "It's okay. I'll do this take again."

When asked if she thinks she can be considered China's "next big thing", she waves her hands and laughs it off. Despite having joined the gilded ranks of Chinese actresses like Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi and Fan Bingbing who have starred in a Hollywood movie, Zhou doesn't view herself as a superstar in the making.

"I am not the next big thing, but I hope this show can be," she said.


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