Last week American Vogue unveiled its two April covers, featuring a total of seven “superstars” from around the world, including Scarlett Johansson, Deepika Padukone from India and South Korea’s Doona Bae.
Yang Ying, who goes by the stage name Angelababy, was the first Chinese actress to land on the US cover of the fashion magazine (although Chinese model Liu Wen featured in a cover shared with Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner in 2017). But instead of celebrating the milestone, many fashion fans kicked up a stink that Yang should represent her nation.
“She has no memorable work to speak of and she’s never won any awards as an actress – I have no idea how she can represent Chinese actresses! I just feel it’s unjust for all the other actresses in the country who have worked so hard and spent so much time perfecting their craft,” one thundered.
“I don’t argue that she is stunningly beautiful, but how is she an actress?” another asked.
“Angelababy? Talent? Are you kidding me?” another wrote on Vogue’s Instagram when the cover was released.
The China Daily weighed in that the decision had “shocked many” and that Angelababy had been “mocked by netizens” for her “supposedly poor acting skills”.
In the magazine, Vogue describes Yang as an “actor, singer and businesswoman” and as “China’s Kim Kardashian” with more than seven million followers on Instagram and 98 million on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-equivalent.
Based on the ratings on Douban, the TV and film review site, almost all of Yang’s acting roles have been poorly rated. “She is certainly a busy actress. But none of her work is serious,” Southern Metropolis Daily sniped.
Indeed Yang is better known for her reality TV series Running Man, where she comes across as tenacious and charming but does not advance her thespian status.
Back in 2017 the former model revealed that she had hired an acting coach to help her with the TV drama The General and I. “Some of the criticisms [about my acting] were acceptable. After all, I didn’t come from an acting background. But this is no excuse. I want to improve my acting,” she promised at the time.
The period piece was not well received and even sparked a lively debate about how overpaid the modern generation of actors were (see WiC352).
“Why are we so against Angelababy representing Chinese actresses on the cover of Vogue? You will probably understand better once you realise who was featured in the magazine in the past: Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Joan Chen, Li Bingbing, Fan Bingbing and Tang Wei. These six actresses with extraordinary achievements in the film industry were only given a spread inside the magazine. Even Gong, who was the co-chair of the MET Ball [in 2015], wasn’t given the cover, so to think that Angelababy would land on the cover is just hard to believe… This world is crazy,” one netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.
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