Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Natural Star

Tang Wei is the new ambassador for SKII
The other day I was happy to see actress Tang Wei (汤唯) is the newest spokesperson for SKII.
Pictures of her with her flawless skin (unless it's photoshopped) grace giant billboards at MTR platforms and windows of department stores.
Hopefully this ad campaign will help bolster Tang's career after a miserable past few years.
When Ang Lee's Lust, Caution came out in 2007, I was sure she would become the next darling of Chinese cinema.
But the Chinese censors were not pleased with her character Wong Chiachi who aids her lover, a collaborator with the Japanese played by Tony Leung Chiu-wai, to escape.
Hello? It's a movie!
But no, the Chinese government displayed its vehement displeasure at Tang's choice of role and the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) decided to punish her by ordering a media ban of her due to her sex scenes in the movie.

This resulted in television advertising campaigns involving her promoting Pond's cream to be called off for which she was paid 6 million RMB ($927,787). What is more outrageous is that the government should have been furious at Leung for his character or Lee for making the film.

Lee tried to plead Tang's case in a letter of protest, but it was in vain. "I am very disappointed that Tang Wei is being hurt by this decision," he said in a statement. "She gave one of the greatest performances ever in a movie that was properly produced and distributed. We will do everything we can to support her in this difficult time."

Tang's latest ad shown in HK
There was no hope of her getting anymore work on the mainland so she moved to Hong Kong

She ended up starring in a romantic comedy with Cantopop star Jacky Cheung Hok-yau called Crossing Hennessy that was set in Hong Kong. She learned Cantonese for the role and won the Best Actress award at the 11th Chinese Film Media Awards in Macau last year.

Did that signal that Tang was kosher again?

She then had a part in The Founding of a Party as an early girlfriend of Mao Zedong's, but she was then dropped after the Great Helmsman's grandson Mao Xinyu objected to the Lust, Caution star.

Hello? It's a movie!

But no, Mao's family was not happy having a controversial actress involved in the propaganda project.

Can Tang not get a break at all? She is a very talented actress and seems humbled by all the support and praise that has been showered on her. She has taken on these obstacles on her career with grace, making her even more of a star.

And so far it's starting to pay off -- she was well received in Singapore for the opening of SKII House. She joins a star-studded cast of spokespeople for the brand, including Cate Blanchett, Qi Qi and Carina Lau Ka-ling.

Hopefully the mainland will finally realize how silly its judgement has been on Tang and realize she is yet another wonderful cultural ambassador for the country, but more importantly this could propel her to Hollywood stardom and go even further than Zhang Ziyi.

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