Yang Zi Talks About How Xianxia aka Fantasy Genre Saved Her Career

Yang Zi Fantasy Genre

Hailed as one of the Four Dan actresses in 2016, Yang Zi is an actress who rose to fame as a child star in Home with Kids, earned praise for Battle of Changsha and starred in notable dramas like Ode to Joy. Yang Zi is at the peak of her career after the success of Ashes of Love that it seems hard to imagine that she experienced many lows before getting to where she is now. 

Yang Zi Fantasy Genre Legend of Chusen
During an interview, Yang Zi reveals that she is not ashamed to star in a xianxia (仙俠). For those who don't know, it's a sub-genre of period/costume dramas which tackle themes around mythical or immortal heroes. It's the fantasy genre for short. Although it's a moneymaker, starring in a xianxia can come with negative connotations that the actor or actress is selling out. 

Yang Zi xianxia saved her career
Yang Zi explains the reason that she's not ashamed of being in a xianxia. For a time, she reveals that no offers were coming in and the types of work that she could find were limited to war dramas and rural dramas. She feels that people often wonder why she choses xianxia but she shares that if she hadn't taken the role of second lead in Noble Aspirations, she would have disappeared from the limelight completely. This is the current situation in the industry today where productions are looking for highly commercial stars with big fan bases. 

Yang Zi xianxia saved her career
Yang Zi didn't have a choice but to change because if not, she says that she probably would have had to keep on waiting without finding work forever. It really has paid off in the best way possible because of the praise she has received from Ashes of Love. It might be a xianxia, but she put on a memorable performance as the lead actress. 

Yang Zi also shares that it's not easy filming a xianxia and that everybody involved in the production is very hardworking.  

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21 comments:

  1. Can someone please explain why an actress/actor might be ridiculed as being a sell-out if they star in xianxia dramas. I've always thought being in a xianxia drama is a good thing considering how popular the dramas are. I didn't realize that it could be something that's embarrassing. They're my favorite type of dramas.

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    1. They are considered idol dramas. With low quality acting and plot. People think that celebs that go for these dramas just want to make fast money and are not serious actors. However, a lot of popular celebs rose to huge popularity by being in a hit xianxia or wuxia. Then they were able to pick more serious work, e.g. HuGe, Wallace Huo, Zhao Liying, etc.

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    2. I think Chinese Paladin was probably one of the first Xianxia to come out?
      The quality was not low at all, and plot was very interesting. They did not drag out the storyline as bad as what I see today. I also did not get the feeling that technology was overtaking everything by 80% like today. It makes sense to use a technology background for heavens and hells, but it's ridiculous that today where some places are just normal houses, palaces, outdoor places like lakes, gardens, etc but they are all fake now.

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    3. Popularity doesn't equal quality in acting and xianxia genre doesn't push them very much in acting skills, it's more about good looks than acting paired with decent romance plot. Also once idol drama is stuck to u its hard to get other types of roles so they're stuck playing the same characters. Look at Hu Ge, took almost his entire career to get outta idol roles.

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    4. Kind of weird that I never see him as an idol. He's not the most handsome nor cutest, his acting was just good. Being a fun spunk trouble maker, then totally changed into a sweet potato. I was only amazed by his acting but not his looks. Doesn't matter what genre he play, he got into really good roles and story plots. And paired with good looking actresses.

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  2. Before Ashes of Love, I hadn't even heard of or seen Yang Zi before. I'm now a fan and am glad she starred as the main actress. I don't understand the shame in starring in xianxia dramas either so an explanation would be helpful. I personally love this genre and it's what keeps me watching Chinese dramas.

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    1. Same here. I know dilreba first and likedlher first before Yang Zi. But, my like to dilreba is just so so. Not like how I like
      Yang Zi. Goshh, I just so rooting in Yang Zi. She is not only cute, silly, and fun to be around but her acting skills is just so awesome!! Compare to dilreba, I think YZ is the one who supposed to deserve the awards based on acting performance. Popularity award without skills, its just a lame award.

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  3. Same question as Angelia. Zhao Liying ranked 4th on the Forbes list and became one of the richest actresses ever. If she had not taken the Xian Xia role of Hua Qian Gu she would not have gotten this much success. Yang Mi was also getting less and less famous until her Xian Xia Ten Miles came out and she rise back up again. Yang Zi is more famous now but still not quite getting as much hype as them in the past, maybe Xian Xia dramas is reaching its dying out stage already?

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  4. If she doesn't want to star in war dramas and rural dramas and has "no choice" but to star in xianxia dramas, then what dramas does she want to take?

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    1. Maybe these stars have restrictions by their studio or company, so they can't just star in any drama out there that they're interest in.
      There are not that many genres out there, Wuxia is a good one but rare, and, today, they are always the biggest flops. Not good like the past anymore. Sometimes there are a variety of genres (very good genres) but still doesn't mean or guarantee anything.

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    2. It sounded like she wanted something different from Battle of Changsha. So anything different from that would have been ok other than xianxia.

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  5. I do not mind her doing xianxias, my problem with her roles is that she has sadly gotten stuck with really ditzy roles. She has a good range but keeps getting casted to play silly characters. I am hoping now that she is a bit more popular, she will be able to break free of that. It is a shame that she is actually one of the few post-90 TV actress that can act but got type casted.

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    1. I wouldn't mind 1000 same ditzy roles if all the dramas will turn out great with good storylines. Like Jackie Chan. Sadly most of her dramalines are so ridiculous, but not her fault.

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  6. Xian xias are a good way for up and coming actors to break into the limelight because they are usually always commercially successful. However, it’s almost like viewers do not have the same amount of respect for the efforts it takes to create a xian xia vs more serious dramas because it’s seen as more of a platform to grow one’s fan base rather than showcase one’s acting talents. A lot popular celebs today got their start in xian xia dramas so it’s definitely effective. Yang Zi’s just in a difficult situation because she grew up as a child actress. She’s technically an industry veteran and is well known but didn’t have a hit drama to call her own. Battle of Changsha was great critically but still a very niche genre. I think all it did was raise people’s expectations of her only to be disappointed when she went on to take xian xia roles. It’s understandable that she took on these idol dramas because these will create more opportunities for better roles in the future. Even she’s acknowledged that good acting does not equal success/job opportunities in this industry. She’s got to build up her worth as a marketable actress first and that means growing her fan base.

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  7. I don’t care is something is xianxia and I don’t care about the unreasonable hate, every other genres are basically idol shows as well. But I only care when a storyline is stupid, for example JoF story was so bad to me but I’m not dislike it bc it’s xianxia.

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  8. I think the industry has changed alot in China. There are no longer stars like Sun Li, Liu Tao or Ma Yili who became a top TV actress through "proper dramas". The younger actresses all got popular through xianxia or ancient costume dramas. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

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  9. Regardless, she did a stellar job with Ashes of Love. I will forever remember the adorable but love clueless Jinmi. Whats interesting is that we saw different personas in this drama where in her trials as a human we witnessed a more composed, wise, and witty version. And it seemed so diff from the "ditzy" jinmi. She is so very talented and I hope she does more fantasy :). Its endearing. Regardless of its "bad" reputation fantasy dramas have in china, great acting, coupled with beautiful story telling and actors is bound to debunk its "bad" name :).

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  10. I never knew that the xianxia genre was looked down upon in China. It's my favorite to be honest. The fantasy elements are interesting, and the scenery, props, clothes, all may be gaudy in a way but the bright colors are pleasing to the eye. Yang Zi shouldn't have to feel any shame for picking it up. Watching the BTS, they all worked very hard, so I'm glad it paid off for them. I became her fan through Ashes of Love and have been watching all her dramas and they have all been really good.

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