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She's no Barbie

Updated: 2013-03-20 11:12
By Liu Wei ( China Daily)

She's no Barbie

Limelight | Tang Wei

Tang Wei is one of the nation's most celebrated actresses yet insists she is nothing like her image. Liu Wei looks behind the veil.

Special: Star talk series: Tang Wei

Tang Wei is one of the few young Chinese actresses who manages to be both popular and keep a low profile. She is a household name, largely thanks to her 2007 big screen debut in Ang Lee's Lust, Caution. But while the Golden Lion-winning film brought the then 28-year-old fame, she did not bask in the glow.

She's no Barbie

Tang Wei covers ELLE magazine

The film's nude scenes and the political issues raised instead led her to fade away from the spotlight for a year. The Central Academy of Drama graduate visited London and honed her dramatic skills further. She took two courses on theater, auditioned for a number of plays and got a role in Shakespeare's Henry V.

On her return to China she acted in five films, but seldom promoted them. She has no micro blog or obvious Web presence, yet still her every move is watched. Video clips of her English speech at an awards ceremony in South Korea and her English interview promoting the 2011 martial arts movie Dragon in Cannes, were widely viewed online.

Passersby steal pictures of the star in bookstores, small restaurants and at the theater and post them on the Internet. While her fans praise her mystery and grace, the critics say she is just a product of successful "hunger marketing".

"Stars are like Barbies," the 34-year-old says, dressed casually in a white silk shirt and deep blue slim jeans, before complaining about the 10-cm high heels. "I still can't get used to them."

"People make up their perceptions of a star, just like they put makeup on a Barbie. The 'star' Tang Wei," she says with a smile, pointing to the ceiling, "is there. She has nothing to do with the real me."


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