They’re no bimbos

China's rising star Chrissie Chau

CHINA - They have flawless skin, shapely legs and curvaceous bodies - the stuff men fantasise about.

But before you call them bimbos, these actresses would have you know that they are not just pretty faces and empty heads.

Meet three of China's rising stars in film and television, who are exhibit more than just sex appeal.

CHRISSIE CHAU

AGE: 28

HOW HER BIMBO IMAGE CAME ABOUT

She posed for lad mags FHM and GQ, released a life-size inflatable bikini-clad doll of herself, produced eye-popping pictorial books, and donned cleavage-baring outfits in films such as Men Suddenly In Love (2011), Beach Spike (2012). Her latest raunchy comedy Mr & Mrs Player (R21) opens here on Jan 16.

IN REALITY

Chau's unpretentious demeanour and business acumen have paved the way for her rise to the top echelons in Hong Kong's movie industry.

Eschewing high-brow material for mainstream slapstick fare that appeals to the masses, this self-confessed "huge Stephen Chow fan" gladly embraces the fact that her famed 32D chest size is what makes her the centre of attention.

In an interview with Chinese entertainment portal Tencent in February, she even dissects her sexuality, describing it as "consisting of several layers".

"Hearing audiences call me a sex symbol, I'm very thankful and happy. Sexuality is an element that will always exist in films, it's about how you express it," said the Hong Konger.

"I hope that my sexuality will evolve with time. My fans should be able to feel that I'm a different sexual creature at different phases of my career.

"Now, most people think I'm just outwardly sexy. In the future, hopefully, I'd be able to convey sexiness on a deeper, more subtle and emotional level."

Perhaps she is slowly getting there.

In Mr & Mrs Player, her character Chi-Ling is complex. A serial dater who enjoys sex with no strings attached, Chi-Ling finds herself drawn towards rotund, comical-looking Carson (Chapman To) over a rich, handsome suitor.

Away from the silver screen, Chau has unleashed her entrepreneurial side. Last year, she spent nearly 1 million yuan (S$200,000) to launch her lingerie line, ShowNa Collection, as part of a joint venture with La Miu, which is billed as China's Victoria's Secret.

According to news website Sina.com, the ShowNa Collection was so popular that it "sold out within a month" and Chau swiftly launched another collection, The Little Devil Series.

And she is not stopping there. Her daily life inspires her to keep designing. She told Sina.com: "I injured my arm a while ago and had a tough time hooking my bra (from the back). I thought, hey, why not a bra collection that has the hook in front? I've informed our factory to do up a few samples. If all goes well, it'll be my next product."

In February this year, Chau also released a new book, Montage, which differs from her past nosebleed-inducing pictorial books.

Montage carries the bachelorette's thoughts on her ups and down in her five-year career. She also touched on her failed romantic relationships.

At the book's launch, she reportedly told the Hong Kong press with a grin: "My saddest days are already over. Guys, please feel free to come and woo me."

YAO DI

AGE: 31

HOW HER BIMBO IMAGE CAME ABOUT

She released a series of steamy, risque shots with Hong Kong veteran actor Francis Ng for horror flick Midnight Beating (2010), she became the cover girl of FHM China last year, where she posed seductively in a bikini and flaunted her porcelain bare back.

IN REALITY

Yao, who made public her romance with fellow Chinese actor Ren Zhong in May, is hands down, one of China's finest young female stars with solid acting calibre.

A Beijing Film Academy graduate, she took on the highly challenging role of crafty, manipulative housekeeper Wang Xi Feng in the 2008 television remake of Chinese literary classic, Dream of The Red Chamber.

The Zhejiang native became a household name in China after her natural performance in ratings winner Naked Wedding, a 2011 social drama which touched a chord with many young couples through its honest reflection of rising property prices and the astronomical cost of urban living.

XU DONGDONG

AGE: 23

HOW HER BIMBO IMAGE CAME ABOUT

It started with the Chinese media nicknaming her E-cup assets "China's Number 1 Beautiful Breasts". Then, her sexy pictorial books became a hit in Japan.

She was embroiled in a nude pictures scandal, where she was reportedly secretly photographed having sex with Taiwanese music producer Tino Pao.

Pao later clarified that those pictures were film stills for a movie he shot with Xu.

IN REALITY

The Heilongjiang native is made of sterner stuff than many would imagine.

Not only has she received training at China's prestigious Central Dance Academy before she entered showbiz, she also graduated with a performing degree from the People's Liberation Army drama faculty. It has been a good year for Xu. She scored rave reviews for her performances in two Chinese TV drama productions, Glamorous Working Professionals, co-starring with Taiwan's Ken Chu; and Fun Arch Rivals, co-starring as Raymond Lam's squeeze, Karena Ng.

She sings, acts, models and now has plans to venture into film-making.

Xu told Hunan TV in September that she is directing her first microfilm, Contented, as a visual accompaniment to her latest pop single of the same name.


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