Red Star

Annie Yi

The diva in the headlines

Annie Yi-w

When singer-actress-writer Annie Yi was announced as one of the contestants in reality show Sisters Who Make Waves, in which 30 mid-career female celebrities try to win a place in a new pop group, her odds of winning looked good (see WiC500). After all, the 52 year-old artist is a household name with 23 albums under her belt.

Singer in need of some interview prep

But her popularity took a nosedive last week when she appeared on a talk show called Meaning. During the interview, Yi talked about juggling her career and family life (she has two children), but added a far less welcome sprinkling of trash-talk about other stars.

First, Yi said that two of her teammates on Sisters Who Make Waves – Wang Likun and Wang Zhi – were tone deaf (“I can’t say they were not into it. In fact, they were very into it. Maybe they just don’t have the ability,” she dismissively told the interviewer of their vocal skills). She also claimed that she had lost her voice because she spent so much time coaching the other two.

Making news for the wrong reasons

However, it was the way that she compared herself to the late Hong Kong singer Anita Mui that drew the most controversy.

In the interview, Yi claimed that she had managed to find love and self-respect, unlike the unmarried Mui. “If you don’t find your self-worth, it will be very tragic as you will end up like Anita Mui,” she told the host. “Anita looked for love her entire life. Even when she was at her thinnest [shortly before she died], she wore a wedding dress on stage.”

Yi was referring to Mui’s concert in 2003, one of her final performances. She succumbed to cervical cancer in December that year.

The comments infuriated many that heard them. “She represents all the married people who derive so much joy picking on those who are still single,” one netizen fumed.

Others lamented Yi’s arrogant tone: “I think what she’s trying to say is that of all the women in the world, she’s the most successful.”

The PR fiasco has become one of main items of chat in the entertainment industry in recent days. Some wonder if it will hurt her ranking on Sisters, which chooses the winners based on popular votes.

© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.

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.