Yao Chen

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Yao Chen
China 2014 - An Insight, An Idea with Yao Chen.jpg
Born (1979-10-05) 5 October 1979 (age 39)
Shishi, Fujian, China
ResidenceBeijing, China
Alma materBeijing Film Academy
Years active2005–present
AgentHuayi Brothers
Yao Chen Studio (present)
Ling Xiaosu (m. 2004–2011)

Cao Yu (m. 2012)
ChildrenXiao Tudou (son)
Xiao Moli (daughter)
Chinese name

Yao Chen (Chinese: 姚晨, born 5 October 1979) is a Chinese actress and philanthropist.[1] In 2014, Time named Yao as one of the most influential people on their Time 100 list.[2] As of 2014, she is listed as the 83rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.[3] Several Western media outlets have nicknamed her "China's answer to Angelina Jolie."[4][5]

Li ranked 56th on Forbes China Celebrity 100 list in 2013,[6] 69th in 2014,[7] 41st in 2015,[8] and 60th in 2019.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Yao was born in Shishi City, Quanzhou, Fujian province, China on October 5, 1979 to a middle-class family, and studied Chinese folk dance at the Beijing Dance Academy from 1993 to 1997, then studied at the Beijing Film Academy from 1999 to 2003.

In 2004, Yao married Chinese actor Ling Xiaosu, but they divorced in January 2011.[10] Yao married cinematographer Cao Yu in November 2012.[11] She gave birth to their first child in 2013.[12]


Yao starred as the daughter of a powerful martial artist in a 2005 television production of My Own Swordsman. The series was especially popular and skyrocketed her to fame in China.[13] Following this, in 2008, she played the part of an iconic guerilla leader in the series Lurk.[14] The spy drama became a smash hit in China and Yao won the Best Actress award at the Huading Awards and the Golden Eagle Awards.[13][15]

In 2009, she made her theatrical debut; playing a white-collar heroine in A Story of Lala's Promotion.[16] She also had a supporting role in the romantic comedy Sophie's Revenge starring Zhang Ziyi. In a departure from her usual style, Yao's portrayal of a money-grabbing woman received acclaim from the audience.[17] Yao then starred in romantic comedy Color Me Love (2010) as an aspiring fashion magazine editor, which would go on to become one of her most famous film roles.[18][19]

In 2012, Yao starred in Chen Kaige's social drama Caught in the Web as a truth-seeking journalist.[20] She then starred alongside Andy Lau in the action thriller Firestorm, which won her the Outstanding Actress award at the Chinese Film Media Awards.[21]

Yao played a lawyer in the 2014 drama Divorce Lawyers. The drama was a huge success in China and sparked discussions online about emotion, truth, and law.[22]

Most recently, Yao starred in blockbusters Monster Hunt (2015),[23] Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (2015)[24] and Journey to the West 2 (2017).[25] Yao was nominated as Best Supporting Actress at the Hundred Flowers Awards for her performance in Monster Hunt.[26] She also starred in MBA Partners (2016), playing an ambitious young woman.[27]

In 2017, Yao served as the jury of the 23rd Shanghai Television Festival.[28]

In 2018, Yao starred in the mystery film Lost, Found alongside Ma Yili; a remake of the Korean film Missing.[29]

In 2019, Yao starred in the family drama All Is Well.[30] The series was extremely popular during its run, and Yao experienced a resurgence in popularity.[31]

Social activities[edit]

Yao was named the UNHCR’s Honorary Patron for China and has visited refugees in places including the Philippines, Thailand, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. The number of followers of her microblogging during this visit increased dramatically, won over by her sincere, fearless communication and her honest engagement with current world events.[32][33] In 2013, she was named the first UNHCR goodwill ambassador in China.[34][35][36]

Yao is among one of the most people followed on Weibo with 79 million followers.[37][38] She uses her influence and wide reach to spread awareness on issues such as refugees crisis, pollution and censorship.[39][2]

Yao was among the recipients of the 2016 Crystal Award for her work on behalf of the U.N. refugee agency in raising awareness of the world refugee crisis.[40][41] The same year, she was selected as one of the "Young Global Leaders" in 2016 by the World Economic Forum.[42] Yao was also awarded the Top Influence Award at the You Bring Charm to the World award ceremony.[43]



Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2006 Axis of War: My Long March 我的长征 Su Ma [44]
Big Movie 大电影之数百亿 Luo Qian
2007 Falling in Love 追爱总动员 Cameo
Two Stupid Eggs 大电影2.0之两个傻瓜的荒唐事 Yan Zi [45]
Crossed Lines 命运呼叫转移 Ma Ting [46]
2009 Sophie's Revenge 非常完美 Lily
All's Well, Ends Well 家有喜事2009 Xiao Yazhen [47]
Freeway 天堂凹 Jin Hong [48]
2010 If You Are the One 2 非诚勿扰2 Mango [49]
Love in Cosmo 摇摆de婚约 Wang Shunjia [50]
Color Me Love 爱出色 Wang Xiaofei
2011 My Own Swordsman 武林外传 Guo Furong [51]
2012 Caught in the Web 搜索 Chen Ruoxi
The Monkey King: Uproar in Heaven 大闹天宫 Voice-dubbed[52]
2013 My Lucky Star 非常幸运 Lily Cameo
Control 控制 Jessica [53]
Firestorm 风暴2 Yan Bing
2015 Monster Hunt 捉妖记 Cooking Master Special appearance
Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe 九层妖塔 Shirley Yang
2016 Everybody's Fine 一切都好 Guan Qing [54]
The New Year's Eve of Old Lee 过年好 Cameo
MBA Partners 梦想合伙人 Lu Zhenxi
2017 Journey to the West 2 西游伏妖篇 Jiu Gong
2018 Goddesses in the Flames of War 那些女人 [55]
Lost, Found 找到你 Li Jie
2019 The Eight Hundred 八佰 Ho Hsiang-ning [56]
Send Me to the Clouds 送我上青云 Sheng Nan [57][58]

Television series[edit]

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2003 City Girl 都市男女 Su Qingqing [59]
神鞭 Zhan Jiarong
2004 Chui Shi Ban's Story 2 炊事班的故事2 Xiao Yao
2006 Life Concern 人命关天 Meng Ting
My Own Swordsman 武林外传 Guo Furong
2007 房前屋后 Gu Lili [60]
Chui Shi Ban's Story 3 炊事班的故事3 Xiao Yao [61]
2008 Six Cities 都市六人行 Fang Fang Guest appearance
China's Volunteers 中国志愿者 Ye Meng
Lione 防火墙5788 Song Yuxiu [62]
Hundred Years Past Events 百年往事 He Jiabi [63]
2009 Health Team's Story 卫生队的故事 Xiao Yao
Lurk 潜伏 Wang Cuiping
2010 Tie Niu Han and his Daughters 牛铁汉和他的儿女们 Gu Xiaoxin [64]
Days with the Air Hostess 和空姐一起的日子 Ran Jing [65]
2013 Longmen Express 龙门镖局 Lu Qingning Cameo
2014 Wonder Lady 3 极品女士第三季 Lawyer Luo Cameo
Divorce Lawyers 离婚律师 Luo Li
2019 All Is Well 都挺好 Su Mingyu


Year English title Chinese title Album
2007 "Searching" 寻找 Fuwa OST
2014 "Don't Let Love Be Lost" 别让爱迷路 Divorce Lawyers OST
2016 "A Letter Home" 一封家书 Everybody's Fine OST
2017 "Love In A Life Time" 一生所爱 Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back OST

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Category Result Ref.
2009 Lurk 27th Flying Apsaras Awards Outstanding Actress Nominated
2010 2nd Huading Awards Best Actress Won
25th China TV Golden Eagle Award Audience's Choice for Actress Won [66]
2011 Love in Cosmo 5th Huading Awards Best Actress in Romance Film Won [67]
My Own Swordsman 18th Beijing College Student Film Festival Most Popular Actress Won [68]
N/A 13th Golden Phoenix Awards Society Award Won [69]
Color Me Love 11th Chinese Film Media Awards Outstanding Actress Nominated
2014 Firestorm 14th Chinese Film Media Awards Outstanding Actress Won [70]
2015 Divorce Lawyers 15th Huading Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
21st Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress Nominated
13th Sichuan Television Festival Best Actress Nominated
2016 Monster Hunt 33rd Hundred Flowers Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
13th Changchun Film Festival Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe
Goddesses in the Flames of War
3rd China Australia International Film Festival Special Jury Award Won [71]
2019 Lost, Found 26th Beijing College Student Film Festival Best Actress Won [72]
25th Huading Awards Best Actress Nominated [73]
21st Far East Film Festival Golden Mulberry award for outstanding achievement Won [74]
All Is Well 25th Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress Nominated [75]


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  29. ^ "姚晨马伊琍双女主飙戏!《找到你》亮相上影节". Mtime (in Chinese). 17 June 2018.
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  74. ^ "Chinese actress Yao Chen on motherhood and her career: 'I couldn't get the same roles any more'". South China Morning Post. 19 May 2019.
  75. ^ "第25届"白玉兰奖"入围名单公布 《都挺好》成夺奖热门". People's Daily (in Chinese). 23 May 2019.

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