Exclusive Interview with Fan Bing Bing

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Photo Courtesy of Fan’s Studio

Fan Bingbing is well known for her roles in many popular Chinese television series and blockbuster movies; she has also starred in X-Men: Days of Future Past as well as in Iron Man 3. Fan BingBing not only reached the 4th position on the Forbes list of Highest-Paid Actresses for 2015, earning 21 million dollars, but also topped the Forbes China Celebrity list for three consecutive years, a record nobody in the US has never managed.

You seem to be a very self assured and confident woman. You are an eloquent public speaker when you are on stage and speaking to the media. How do you do it?
It has a lot to do with my work experience. I started my career when I was about 16 years old. So, I have been in the entertainment industry for over a decade and a half now. As an actress, I have had the opportunity to act in a vast number of roles. I think the life experiences I absorbed from the characters played a huge part in developing my perspective about life and to a certain extent, my speaking skills. Personally, I have always been a strong character. Stepping into the workforce when I was so young meant that I had to rely on myself to face challenges and solve problems, as there was no one else that I could turn to for help. I remember I had to mature quickly, be strong and creative with the way I dealt with various challenges. These experiences or shall I say this type of “training” has strengthened my character and molded me into who I am today. That’s perhaps where I get the self-confidence from.

When you are on stage promoting your movies and giving speeches, do you ever feel afraid or nervous?
No, I do not feel afraid. I have been doing it so much, so frequently that I am very used to facing the public.

What is your advice for career women wanting to succeed in life?
I think the most important thing for a woman is to always develop and improve herself. She can do this by being present and reflective about the everyday experience; by actively absorbing lessons from relationships, from friends, mentors and everyone around. Learn from reading all kinds of book and seek every opportunity to learn and advance yourself. Do not ever stop educating yourself.

“…being likable has a lot to do with your attitude towards yourself, others and your attitude towards life”

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As a leading actress in China, your influence goes beyond the 1.2 billion people in your country, it also reaches out to the Chinese all over the world. You also played the roles of two of the most important women in the history of China in your recent films. Such roles have inspired many women to believe in themselves and to make changes. What do you think is your central message as a role model and an ambassador for women?
I believe that the roles that women play today are very different from the roles that they played in the past. Traditionally, women always played the part of a housewife or a supporting role in the family, not any more. Modern women today actively play a role in the workplace and are a very successful contributing force to the society. This leap forward has never been easy, it requires sacrifice, a lot of courage and persistence. I would continue to encourage modern women to have courage and not be afraid of following their passion.

Would you say that modern women do not need to rely on men and would function independently and happily without them?
I wouldn’t go to that extent. I think that the ideal world for a woman would be one where she could find her passion at work, pursue her dream while at the same time be fortunate enough to discover true love and have a blessed family. That to me would be the complete picture.

You possess both immaculate beauty and a high level of intelligence. Which of the two characteristics do you think is more important to help a woman succeed in her career?
I think the most important characteristic is likability. By that, I mean the ability to relate to people and work with people. It doesn’t matter if you are beautiful or smart, people need to feel comfortable around you so that they want to work with you. Therefore, you need to be likable. And being likable has a lot to do with your attitude towards yourself, others and also your attitude towards life.

Having recently worked with Wu Chun, what do you think about him as an actor?
I think that Wu Chun is a very genuine person. He has a great sense of responsibility for what he does and especially for his family. To me, he is a very well rounded person who is almost flawless in character. I have known Wu Chun to be both disciplined and hardworking. As such, I truly believe in his capability. I believe that when Wu Chun sets his mind into doing something, there is really nothing that he cannot achieve.

This article was published in the Oct-Dec 2015 Issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!