Hailed as the “Queen of Heaven”, Faye Wong is one of the most famous female vocalists in Asia. Originally named Xia Lin, the Beijing-born singer (who took her mother’s maiden name because her paternal family was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution) started her career in Hong Kong. Since then Wong has extended her fan base to Taiwan, China, and even Japan.
Wong has not released any new material since 2003. And after her marriage to mainland television actor Li Yaping in 2005, she has stepped further out of the limelight to concentrate on her family. She still makes ocassional appearances at fundraising events for her Smile Angel Foundation, a charity founded to help children born with cleft lip, an affliction suffered by her second child.
Why is she famous?
Wong can be described as a trendsetter in more ways than one. Often compared to Bjork, the Icelandic singer, she is known for a quirky sense of fashion and her on-stage antics. Her most famous album, Restless, released in 1996, also featured many songs written by Wong herself. Her personal favourite, that album incorporates Buddhist philosophy (she is a devout Buddhist).
Any other talents?
She can act too. Wong starred in Wong Kar Wai’s internationally acclaimed Chungking Express (earning herself a Best Actress Award at the Swedish Film Festival). She also starred in 2046, by the same director.
Why is she in the news at the moment?
Bawang, a shampoo brand, is rumoured to be paying her Rmb20 million ($2.9 million) to endorse its product in its latest commercial. If confirmed, Wong will be receiving Rmb6 million more than action movie star Jackie Chan for promoting the same shampoo. Wong must have argued she has longer hair.
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