Back in 2015, Angelababy, one of China’s most prominent actresses and showbiz celebrities, sued a hospital in Beijing for defamation after it claimed that she had undergone plastic surgery there. To prove it, she went to another hospital for a facial examination to prove that she hadn’t had cosmetic treatment. Nevertheless, over the years, debate about the star, whose real name is Yang Ying, never seems to stray too far from her looks. Wanting to prove that she has more depth than the press has given her credit for, she signed on for the reality TV series Adventure Life.
The documentary-travel show, which is exclusive to Tencent Video, talks about revealing the true personality of celebrities as they jet to remote parts of the world. In one episode, model Liu Wen travels to the Arctic Circle by boat. And in Angelababy’s case, she spends six days cycling in Canada with the goal of reaching Vancouver in British Columbia from the city of Kamloops (a journey of roughly 420 kilometres). Travelling with her is a 72 year-old male cyclist, who acts as the guide, and the show’s host Aya Liu.
But instead of winning admiration for the ride, what most viewers saw was how easily Angelababy gave up in the face of adversity.
Indeed, by the second day, she is complaining about fatigue and hailing a cab to take her the remaining distance. In the following days, she shows up late and has to catch up with the rest of the crew by car.
Even the director of the show gives her a dressing-down, saying that her behaviour is defeating the purpose of the show. In response, Angelababy claimed her tardiness is owing to the fact that she needs two hours to put on her make-up in the morning to be “respectful to viewers”.
She also throws in some cod philosophy for why she has been giving up so easily. “In the first two days when we took the car I didn’t think it was wrong. That’s because we don’t know what is right and what is wrong,” she explained.
Her musings attracted a torrent of criticism.
“The problem is that she didn’t even try to wake up on time in the morning. She starts and then she stops, never arriving at the final destination Vancouver. And then just like that, the trip is over,” one viewer fumed.
“If she really wants to talk about respecting audiences maybe she should start by improving her acting?” another wrote on weibo.
When she isn’t complaining about physical exhaustion on the show, the actress grumbles that people focus on tabloid gossip about her and that no one pays attention to how hard she works.
“Does anyone care what I really am? Audiences are only attracted to the entertaining stories and shocking headlines,” she protested. “Of course I don’t want people to only remember the gossip headlines about me. People always ask, what do you want most in life? I say I want to do something so outstanding that it would make people remember.”
That confession only sparked more vitriol online.
“Every celebrity wants to be remembered for their work, but some people actually work hard at it. Others, like Angelababy, think that dreaming about it will make it come true,” one wrote.
Liu Wen, the supermodel guest in the next episode, got much more complimentary reviews on the whole.
Viewers tend to notice the smaller things about the participants, like good manners. Despite feeling seasick for the majority of her journey to the Arctic Circle, Liu apologised to the producer time and time again for causing trouble for the crew.
“ ‘I am sorry’ is the most used phrase in this episode. Liu Wen says sorry when she is feeling seasick; she says sorry when she needs help going through a muddy road; she says it again when she is bad at shooting a gun. She just doesn’t want to cause any trouble for people,” one applauded.
Still, there were a few who came to Angelababy’s defence.
“How many of us are like Angelababy that when we face adversity, we waver and try to look for short cuts? In the workplace, even though we know we haven’t worked hard, when the boss expresses disappointment, we make up all sorts of explanations and excuses instead of just accepting the criticism,” one blogger wrote. “The problem is, if we are always in our comfort zone, we will never progress. For someone who has any ambition, that is very dangerous.”
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