Shang Wenjie, who majored in French at Shanghai’s Fudan University, worked as an interpreter before gaining national fame in 2006 as the winner of the third season of Hunan TV’s reality talent contest Super Girls.
Why is she famous?
Shang has since been labelled “China’s Lady Gaga”, traipsing the red carpet in eye-catching outfits, face paint, frizzled hairstyles and even the occasional mask. Her antics have earned her another nickname — which translates as “Lady Shock”.
Not everyone appreciates her chosen style. Some say her more flamboyant attire is selected more for the publicity (surely not!). And others say she’s a copycat, or shanzhai Lady Gaga.
But Shang describes her looks as artistic creations that draw from “inspiration and the spirit of experimentalism”.
“Chinese people need more time to open up to fashion,” she says dismissively of her critics.
Why is she in the news?
In early April, Shang grabbed headlines when she transformed herself at a major music award show, appearing first on the red carpet dressed as a fresh-faced 19 year-old only to later reappear as a gnarled old woman of 91 (see photos below).
Readers will note a clever number inversion at work here.
But Shang said she had a much deeper meaning in mind, telling the Chinese press that life goes by very quickly and that everyone should reflect on what they will have accomplished on this earth.
Others were less impressed by Shang’s attempt to encapsulate the transience of the human condition.
“Did Shang piss off her stylist? Or owe him money?” one queried on weibo.
© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.
Exclusively sponsored by HSBC.
The Week in China website and the weekly magazine publications are owned and maintained by ChinTell Limited, Hong Kong. Neither HSBC nor any member of the HSBC group of companies ("HSBC") endorses the contents and/or is involved in selecting, creating or editing the contents of the Week in China website or the Week in China magazine. The views expressed in these publications are solely the views of ChinTell Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views or investment ideas of HSBC. No responsibility will therefore be assumed by HSBC for the contents of these publications or for the errors or omissions therein.