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Wei Zhao

Actor, Musician, Film Director, Singer, Spokesperson
© Chinese Aladdin
Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Zhao Wei (born 12 March 1976), also known as Vicki Zhao (or Vicky Zhao), is a Chinese actress, director and pop singer. She has been awarded the Hundred Flowers Award, Shanghai Film Critics Award, Huabiao Award, Golden Eagle TV Award, as well as the Best Actress award at the Shanghai International Film Festival. Zhao developed an interest in acting after she was first chosen to be a supporting actress in a filming session. While studying at Beijing Film Academy, she participated in various film projects. She rose to fame after portraying Xiaoyanzi ("Little Swallow") in the first two seasons of the television series Princess Pearl. In 1999, after Princess Pearl was broadcast, Zhao also began her singing career with her first album, Swallow. She is considered one of the "Four Dan actresses" in China (四大花旦), along with Xu Jinglei, Zhang Ziyi and Zhou Xun. Following the success of Princess Pearl, Zhao started acting in many major film productions, including Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer (2001), So Close (2002), Warriors of Heaven and Earth (2004), and John Woo's historical epic Red Cliff (2008-2009). For her achievements in film, television, and music, the Japanese media dubbed her "China's No.1 actress" in 2007. The United Kingdom's The Independent also described her as "China's box office darling" in 2009. --- Born and raised in Wuhu, Anhui, Zhao is the youngest of two children. Her parents are Zhao Jiahai (Chinese: 赵家海; pinyin: Zhào Jiāhǎi), an appliance designer, and Wei Qiying (Chinese: 魏启颖; pinyin:Wèi Qǐyǐng), a schoolteacher, and her brother is Zhao Jian (Chinese: 赵坚; pinyin: Zhào Jiān; born 1971). She graduated from Teachers' College Elementary School and Teachers' College High School. Zhao learnt dancing for three years and practised the piano for six years. In 1994, her performance in Tibetan dancing was shown as part of a local television spring festival celebration. Zhao has claimed that she never planned to become famous, later explaining, "I thought actresses had to be beautiful, and I thought I was ordinary." When she was 17 years old, a filming crew arrived in Wuhu, looking for extras for the film Hua Hun, starring Gong Li. After participating in the filming as an extra, Zhao decided she wanted to act, and left her hometown. She eventually enrolled in a new film arts school in Shanghai, founded by film director Xie Jin. At the age of 20, Zhao received first class results in her entrance exam to Beijing Film Academy's Performance Institute, graduating in 2000. Zhao had her first experience in front of the camera in 1990, and she was chosen to act as a support actor in Hua Hun, a film starring Gong Li. In 1995, after her high school exams, Zhao quit her job as a kindergarten teacher. The same year, she was chosen by Xie Jin, the founder of Xie Jin's Star Academy, to star in one of his movies, Penitentiary Angel. This was her first substantial acting role. Zhao did not find her own performance fulfilling, but considered it to be a valuable experience. "I was too young to understand the role," she said, "but if you've been cast in a film by a famous director, no matter how well you did, other less-famous directors will also want to cast you." She obtained the highest score in the entrance examination when she was matriculated into the acting institute of the Beijing Film Academy (BFA) in 1996. As one of the most outstanding students in the BFA, Zhao scored five yous (A) and nine youliangs (A-) out of the 14 courses. Her graduation thesis scored 90. After playing minor roles in various films and television series, Zhao received her first leading role in a series called Sisters in Beijing. She was spotted by Taiwanese novelist Chiung Yao, who was looking for actors. Chiung Yao noted that Zhao was a little chubby but talented. By 1997, however, Zhao had lost some weight and was offered one of the leading roles in the television series Princess Pearl, which was adapted from Chiung Yao's novels. The hard work of the cast yielded unexpected results. After Princess Pearl was broadcast, it enjoyed the highest ratings in China and Zhao quickly rose to prominence. In 1999, she became the youngest actress to win the Golden Eagle Awards for "Best Actress." Zhao was named one of Taiwan's "Top Ten Most Outstanding Individuals in Television Industry." After this, she continued to star in a number of successful television series and movies and released a number of commercially successful albums. --- Zhao is a practising Buddhist and vegetarian. China Daily reported that Zhao is one of few celebrities who has great handwriting in Chinese. The Chinese website Sohu.com, in its Women Section, reported that Zhao is one who loves and believes in sustaining beauty from within the body system. This article in Sohu.com also captures Zhao's experiences in living a healthy lifestyle despite her busy schedules. In 2004, Zhao ended her relationship with Wang Yu. When Wang began dating actress Huang Yi in 2005, it became a popular subject in the media, because Huang was selected to replace Zhao in her famed role as "Xiaoyanzi" in Princess Pearl 3 after Zhao rejected the offer. The media often depicted a feud between the two actresses. Zhao herself has not expressed any regret regarding her relationship with Wang Yu. "After becoming an actor, I've gained a lot, but I also lost many things. I got a job that I like; I had many opportunities, and I also received many kinds of love." On occasion, Zhao has discussed her love life with reporters. "I'm not anxious. I have several friends who are over thirty years old, and they are also unmarried. So there's really no hurry. Right now, my career comes first..." Zhao stressed that she will not give up her acting career even after she gets married, as acting is her passion. "If I stop acting, I will not have anything to focus on. Life will be so empty, and I definitely can't endure such emptiness. So, my would-be husband must understand me on this issue." Pop divas Faye Wong and Na Ying are some of Zhao's best friends and the Chinese media dubbed them together as the "Queen Club (天后团)." After a party at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, Song Hye-kyo and Zhao also became friends. Zhao married businessman Huang Youlong in 2008 in Singapore. The couple's daughter was born on 11 April 2010. In 21 December 2011, a French website reported that Zhao bought château Monlot.

Wikipedia ]

March 12, 1976 (age 48)
Actor, Musician, Film Director, Singer, Spokesperson
Huang You Long
Wei Qiying, Zhao Jiahai


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