Actress Liu Yifei garners over 100 million views with controversial swimsuit scene

By Nhu Anh   June 14, 2024 | 05:30 am PT
Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei has stirred debate with a swimsuit scene that challenges the "thin is beautiful" ideal, garnering over 100 millions of views.

In Thursday's episode of the TV series "The Tale of Rose," Liu's character, Huang Yi Mei, is seen wearing a one-piece, open-back swimsuit while doing physical exercise.

The scene quickly became a trending topic on Weibo, attracting over 100 million views and tens of thousands of comments.

Liu received criticism for her "rough figure and wide waist," but was also praised by many for embodying a more robust form of beauty. As reported by Sina, the scene ignited conversations about beauty standards in China. Liu's unedited natural skin tone and visible imperfections, such as acne, contrast sharply with the fair and flawless portrayals often seen in media.

Actress Liu Yifei. Photo from Lius Instragram

Actress Liu Yifei. Photo from Liu's Instragram

Weibo users admired the portrayal, commenting, "The actress exudes a healthy, balanced beauty, breaking away from the conventional 'as thin as a stick' stereotype," and "It's puzzling why an actress as fit-looking as this receives criticism for being rough or chubby." Others noted a shift in Chinese films and dramas, with more female leads embracing natural physiques over rigid beauty standards.

The series, according to Zhonghua net, presents a new perspective on women's beauty, highlighting both inner and outer beauty and focusing on the characters' resilience and self-respect.

Directed by Wong Jun and based on Yi Siu's novel "The Story of Rose," "The Tale of Rose" finished filming last year and premiered on June 8. It stars Liu as Huang Yi Mei, an intelligent and beautiful art student from a wealthy family who faces various challenges, including false accusations of taking another woman’s boyfriend.

The show has topped viewership ratings in China within its time slot and boosted sales of items like yellow roses and fashion products.

In China's entertainment industry, the prevailing beauty standards of "fair, young, and slender" have dominated for a decade. Celebrities often adhere to these standards, editing photos to appear slimmer and fairer before posting on social media.

In January, Chinese film producer Yu Zheng stated that actresses in his company were required to lose weight. He had previously asked young star Zhao Qing to slim down from 46 kg to 42.5 kg, despite her height of 170 cm. Actress Xu Jiao criticized this practice on Weibo, calling it cruel to force someone to weigh only 42 kg.

Liu, 37, first appeared on TV in 2003 in the period romance drama "The Story of a Noble Family," which became the highest-rated show that year on China’s national broadcaster CCTV.

She transitioned to film in 2008 and has starred in various Chinese and Hollywood films, including the 2020 live-action adaptation of Disney’s "Mulan."

In 2009, she was recognized as one of the New Four Dan actresses, denoting the four most bankable young actresses in China.

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