Born in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, Zhang Zilin moved to Beijing when she was 12. She later completed her studies at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing and obtained a degree in business administration.
But Zhang then found her calling in modelling, entering a beauty pageant organised by New Silk Road Modelling Agency in 2003. She made it into the top 10 and began her career as a fashion model.
Why is she famous?
Zhang won Miss World in 2007, the first Chinese contestant to bring home the title. Her popularity has since skyrocketed. “I had never dreamed of winning this title and I want to share my story of going from average-looking girl to Miss World,” she told the South China Morning Post. “I know many girls in China have the same potential in them but don’t realise it,” Zhang confided, in a message of hope to millions of Clearasil-wearers across the country.
Why is she in the news?
Zhang is appearing in the sequel to action comedy Underdog Knight, which was released in China’s cinemas last week. It is the beauty queen’s debut film role. “This is my first time and I wasn’t professionally trained in acting,” Zhang admits.
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