Many foreigners have become fans of young Chinese female stars because of their beauty and acting skills.
Penny Walker, a 28-year-old translator from the UK, recently found herself enjoying a performance by Zhao Liying, a popular Chinese actress, when she was watching Legend of Lu Zhen, a 2013 Chinese historical romance TV drama.
She was impressed with Zhao's ability to successfully portray the intelligence and courage of Lu Zhen, the heroine she played in the program. "She has made the character come to life," she said.
It was not the first time that she was captivated by Zhao's talent. She first became a fan when she fell for Princess Qing'er, the role Zhao played in New My Fair Princess, a 2011 Chinese TV drama.
Young Chinese actresses, like Zhao, have attracted a great number of fans. Currently, Zhao has more than 47 million followers on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like micro-blogging platform, and Yang Mi, another Chinese actress, has more than 70 million followers.
These Chinese actresses are not only hot in China but also popular among foreign audiences as an increasing number of them are entering the international market.
Many foreigners like Walker, are becoming fans of young Chinese female stars, for both their looks and acting. Their popularity is also helping change how foreigners perceive Chinese women.
Walker admitted the beauty of young Chinese female stars catches her attention and helps her decide to watch the TV dramas or films they are in.
"Everyone likes beauty," she said. "I would not bother watching an actress if she is not beautiful."
According to her, she only clicked play for New My Fair Princess after she saw the stills of Zhao and felt happy with her appearance.
"Her wide, amber eyes, thin eyebrows and cherry lips, which are all perfectly aligned on her face, make her extremely beautiful," she said.
Although the drama received mostly negative reviews on social media, she surprisingly found Zhao cute and lovely.
"A friend of mine only shared the drama with me to show me how terrible a drama it was. She never thought that I would go as far as to be a fan of an actress in it," she said.
She explained that Zhao's baby face, delicate features, natural facial expressions and movements all helped shape her role as a lively and kind princess.
Hailing from the US, Joe Gill, a 26-year-old accountant, agreed that the appearance of an actress is a crucial factor as to whether he would like her or not.
He is also a fan of Zhao. He especially liked the shape of her face, which he compares to a goose egg. He pays special attention to the shape of actresses' face, which he believes could decide the delicacy of facial features.
He noted that compared with Western female stars, a good number of whom have round or square faces, many young Chinese female stars have smaller faces and thus finer features, to which he felt more attracted.
He explained that although some of his friends found square faces more beautiful, as the wide jaw line could enhance the looks and the smile, he felt that facial features look more delicate on the faces in the shape of a melon seed or a goose egg than on those in the shape of a ball or a square.
He cited that Yang Mi, another Chinese actress that he is a fan of, has a face shaped like a melon seed and her thin chin and jaw line make her look smart and endearing in his opinion.
He was first astounded by Yang's beauty when watching A Clear Midsummer Night, a 2013 TV drama that was among the first Chinese dramas he ever watched.
"I like her big and bright eyes as well as double-fold eyelids and long eyelashes," he said. "Her creamy, unblemished and white skin make her very pure."
He added that he also found Yang's body type attractive.
"Although she was slim, she was also curvy," he said.
Gill also fell for Yang because of her ability to look gorgeous in all types of outfits and styles.
He explained that when Yang was playing Xia Wanqing in A Clear Midsummer Night, she managed to look casual, smart and feminine.
"I thought it was her style, but she kept surprising me with new styles," he said.
He cited that Yang looked like a fairy, very feminine and pure, when she was playing Bai Qian in Eternal Love, a 2017 Chinese drama, but she succeeded in unveiling a cool and edgy side with leather pants and sunglasses in some of the photos she recently shot for a magazine.
"She even looked amazing when putting on a baseball cap and a pair of sneakers while wearing a formal dress," he said.