Fan Bingbing is one of China’s highly paid and influential actresses and singers. She first made it big on the television serial ‘My Fair Princess’, which was produced in Taiwan. Later she started working in mainland China with Huayi Brothers and starred with them in a number of Chinese television serials. She went on to act in movies and started her own production company under the banner of Fan Bingbing Studio. She also took up the post of principal in the arts school run by her parents and became the team leader of a web movie group that produces television serials. She has participated in the reality show, ‘Challenger’s Alliance’ and has appeared as a jury in a couple of variety shows. Her debut studio album, ‘Just Begun’, was a super hit in China. She was ranked first on the ‘50 Most Beautiful People in China’ and topped the ‘Forbes Chine Celebrity List’. She is the co-founder of the project titled ‘Heart Ali’ which helps Tibetan children suffering from congenial heart disease. She has contributed huge amounts to charity from her earnings. She has a large following of fans on social media.
Childhood & Early Life
Fan Bingbing was born on 16 September 1981 in Qingdao, Shandong, China to Fan Tao and Zhang Chuanmei. She is of Han Chinese ethnicity. Her family later moved to Yantai city in North-eastern Shandong, where she was brought up.
After completing high school, she earned a degree from Shanghai Xie Jin Film and Television Arts College and went on to learn theatre from Shanghai Theatre Academy. She was interested in acting and started with minor roles at the age of 16.
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Her first major supporting role came to her in 1999 when she was recommended by the Taiwanese actress Leanne Liu to act in the Chinese television serial ‘My Fair Princess’. The serial received positive reviews and Fan started drawing attention in the Chinese Media. She signed an eight year contract with the company producing ‘My Fair Princess’ but later terminated the contract as it involved travelling to Taiwan very often.
She preferred working in mainland China and signed a six year contract with Huayi Brothers with whom she starred in a number of Chinese serials that included ‘The Proud Twins’, ‘Red Poppies’ and ‘Young Justice Bao II’.
During this period she also acted in a number of Chinese films such as ‘Feng Xiaogang’s Cell Phone’ that made the highest income in Chinese cinema in 2003 and ‘A Battle of Wits’ for which she received a Golden Bauhinia Award nomination. She also appeared in ‘The Twin Effect II’, ‘A Chinese Tall Story’ and ‘The Lion Roars’.
In 2005, she released her first album titled ‘Just Begun’. It incorporated a variety of music from a number of producers and composers with whom she worked. The following year her popularity and media coverage won her the ‘Forbes China, Star of the Year’.
She left Huayi Brothers and started her own studio under the banner of Fan Bingbing Studio on 2007. She continued acting and made award winning films like ‘The Matrimony’ and ‘Lost in Beijing’. She also produced and acted in her own first television serial called ‘Rouge Show’ the following year.
Her next venture was to take up the post of principal in the arts school run by her parents in Huairou, Beijing. She also became the team leader of a web movie group that produced television serials.
In 2009 she played her first comedy role in ‘Sophie’s Revenge’ with Zhang Ziyi and acted in ‘Bodyguards and Assassins’ that got her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Her performance in ‘Shinjuku Incident’ was praised by film critiques and her studio produced the classic movie ‘The Last Night of Madam Chin’ the same year.
She was ranked first on the ‘50 Most Beautiful People in China’ list of 2010 by Beijing News. This was the year she starred in Chen Kaige’s epic movie ‘Sacrifice’ about the courage of Princess Zhuang Ji and ‘Buddha Mountain’ that premiered on the 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival.
She attended the 64th Cannes Film Festival to promote her movie ‘My Way’ with actors Jang Dong Kang and Joe Odagiri. She was also invited to be a member of the International Competition Jury of the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival.
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She went on to be ranked third in the Forbes China Celebrity 100 List for her multiple appearances at fashion shows in Paris and the world over in 2012. She was also seen at the 65th Cannes Film Festival as a spokesperson for L’Oreal.
She topped the Forbes Chine Celebrity List the following year and was selected as the brand ambassador for ‘Champagne House’ and the Swiss watchmaker ‘Chopard’. She was honoured as the International Artist of the Year in Cannes by the Hollywood Reporter in 2013. She was also named the most valuable celebrity by the Chinese company Alibaba Groups that year.
In 2014, she signed a contract with 20th Century Fox that boosted her international market value. She launched a Fan Bingbing doll and was invited to the Barbie global celebrity hall of fame.
She went on join the ‘Amazing Chinese’ variety show as a judge and participated in the reality show, ‘Challenger’s Alliance’. By 2015 she was ranked 4th on the Forbes World’s Highest Paid Actresses list. Her name appeared in the Times 100 list of Most Influential People in 2017 and she was also named on the jury list for the 70th Cannes Film Festival the same year.
Her creative outfits worn at various red carpet events caught the public eye and made her one of the most sought after brand ambassadors. She has consistently appeared in Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed list since 2015. Many of her outfits have been auctioned and the profits donated to charity.
Her major roles in films include Princess Ping’an in ‘The Lion Roars’, Princess Xiaoshan in ‘A Chinese Tall Story’, Cheung Yung in ‘Sweet Revenge’, Liu Pingguo in ‘Lost in Beijing’, Princess Zhuang in ‘Sacrifice’ and Empress Dowager Longyu in ‘The Founding of a Party’. In her latest movie she portrays Empress Ulanara in ‘The Lady in the Portrait’.
She has appeared in the television serials ‘Powerful Woman’ (1996), ‘My Fair Princess’ (1998), ‘The Book of Love’ (2001), ‘The Great Qing Empire’ (2002), ‘Red Poppies’ (2004), ‘The Proud Twins’ (2005), ‘The Empress of China’ (2014) and ‘Win the World’ (2017).
Her debut studio album ‘Just Begun’ was released by Warner Music, Beijing in 2005.
Awards & Achievements
She won Best Actress Awards for her performance in ‘Cell Phone’, ‘Lost in Beijing’, ‘Buddha Mountain’, ‘Double Xposure’, ‘Ever Since We Love’ and ‘I Am Not Madame Bovary’.
She got the Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in ‘The Matrimony’ and ‘Skiptrace’.
She was recognised as the Most Influential Chinese Actress Overseas at the 1st China Film International Festival, London in 2013.
She has been dating Chinese actor Li Chen for awhile and recently got engaged to him on her 36th birthday. Her name was falsely linked to some senior Communist Party leaders by one Gau Wengui. She filed a lawsuit againsta the person for defamation.
She is the co-founder of the project titled ‘Heart Ali’ which helps children in Tibet who are suffering from congenial heart disease. She has made several trips to Tibet to promote her project and has been instrumental in screening over 10,000 children in the remote region.
Fan wore a ‘Dragon Robe’ for the 63rd Cannes Film Festival that was designed by herself and famous designer Laurence Hsu. The dress was later bought by Madame Tussauds museum at an auction and the money earned was gifted to support her ‘Heart Ali’ project.