Yao Chen

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Yao Chen
Chinese name 姚晨
Pinyin Yáo Chén (Mandarin)
Jyutping Jiu4 San (Cantonese)
Pe̍h-ōe-jī Iâu Sîn (Hokkien)
Born (1979-10-05) 5 October 1979 (age 38)
Shishi City, Quanzhou, Fujian, China
Alma mater Beijing Film Academy
Occupation Actress
Years active 2005–present
Label(s) Huayi Brothers
Yao Chen Studio (present)
Spouse(s) Ling Xiaosu (m. 2004–2011)
Cao Yu (cinematographer) (m. 2012)
Children Xiao Tudou (son)
Xiao Moli (daughter)
Website blog.sina.com.cn/yaochen

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]

Personal life[edit]

Yao Chen 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 Chen married Chinese actor Ling Xiao Su, but they divorced in January 2011.[6] Yao married cinematographer Cao Yu in November 2012.[7] She gave birth to their first child in 2013.[8]


Yao Chen 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.[9] Following this, in 2008, she played the part of an iconic guerilla leader in the series Lurk. 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.[9][10]

In 2009, she made her theatrical debut; playing a white-collar heroine in A Story of Lala's Promotion.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13][14]

In 2012, Yao starred in Chen Kaige's social drama Caught in the Web as a truth-seeking journalist.[15] She then starred alongside Andy Lau in the action thriller Firestorm, which won her the Outstanding Actress award at the Chinese Film Media Awards.[16]

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.[17]

Most recently, Yao starred in blockbusters Monster Hunt (2015),[18] Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (2015)[19] and Journey to the West 2 (2017).[20] Yao was nominated as Best Supporting Actress at the Hundred Flowers Awards for her performance in Monster Hunt.[21] She also starred in MBA Partners (2016), playing an ambitious young woman.[22]

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

In 2018, Yao will return to the small screen with family melodrama All Is Well, produced by Daylight Entertainment.[24]

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.[25][26] In 2013, she was named the first UNHCR goodwill ambassador in China.[27][28][29]

Yao is among one of the most people followed on Weibo with 79 million followers.[30][31] She uses her influence and wide reach to spread awareness on issues such as refugees crisis, pollution and censorship.[32][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.[33][34] The same year, she was selected as one of the "Young Global Leaders" in 2016 by the World Economic Forum.[35] Yao was also awarded the Top Influence Award at the You Bring Charm to the World award ceremony.[36]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 Axis of War: My Long March Su Ma
Big Movie Luo Qian
2007 Falling In Love Cameo
Two Stupid Eggs Yan Zi
Crossed Lines Ma Ting
2009 Sophie's Revenge Lily
All's Well, Ends Well Xiao Yazhen
Freeway Jin Hong
2010 If You Are the One 2[37] Mango
Love In Cosmo Wang Shunjia
Color Me Love Wang Xiaofei
2011 My Own Swordsman Guo Furong
2012 Caught in the Web Chen Ruoxi
2013 My Lucky Star Lily Cameo
Control Jessica
Firestorm Yan Bing
2015 Monster Hunt Cooking Master Cameo
Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe Shirley Yang
2016 Everybody's Fine Guan Qing
The New Year's Eve of Old Lee Cameo
MBA Partners Lu Zhenxi
2017 Journey to the West 2 Jiu Gong
2018 Goddesses in the Flames of War
Forever Young

Television series[edit]

Year English Title Chinese Title Role Notes
2003 City Girl 都市男女 Su Qingqing
Shen Bian 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 Fang Qian Wu Hou 房前屋后 Gu Li Li
Chui Shi Ban's Story 3 炊事班的故事3 Xiao Yao
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
Hundred Years Past Events 百年往事 He Jiabi
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 牛鐵漢和他的兒女們 Gu Xiaoxin
Days with the Air Hostess[38] 和空姐一起的日子 Ran Jing
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
2018 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

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
2011 Love in Cosmo 5th Huading Awards Best Actress in Romance Film Won [39]
My Own Swordsman 18th Beijing College Student Film Festival Most Popular Actress Won [40]
N/A 13th Golden Phoenix Awards Society Award Won [41]
Color Me Love 11th Chinese Film Media Awards Outstanding Actress Nominated
2014 Firestorm 14th Chinese Film Media Awards Outstanding Actress Won [42]
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 [43]


  1. ^ "Yao Chen". Forbes. 
  2. ^ a b "Yao Chen". Time Magazine. 23 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. 
  4. ^ "Yao Chen interview: meet China's answer to Angelina Jolie". The Telegraph. 24 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Angelina Jolie of China on Fame and Power". New York Mag. 28 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "Yao Chen, Ling Xiaosu Divorce". China Radio International. 30 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Yao Chen gets married in New Zealand". China.org.cn. 19 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Actress Yao Chen Becomes a Mother". China Radio International. 16 July 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Yao Chen". China.org.cn. 15 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "Stars shine at awarding ceremony of 2010 Huading Award". Xinhua News. 14 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Interview: Closer Look at Yao Chen". China Radio International. 3 June 2009. 
  12. ^ "Pretty actress Yao Chen". China.org.cn. 24 August 2009. 
  13. ^ "Make a date for Color Me Love". China Daily. 5 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "The Beginner's Guide to Chinese Superstar Yao Chen". Time Magazine. 24 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "Yao Chen Plays a Journalist in "Caught in the Web"". Chinese Films. 15 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "Andy Lau and Yao Chen's new film 'Firestorm' sweeps theatres". China.org.cn. 16 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "TV Drama The Divorce Lawyer Has Been A Huge Success In China". China Radio International. 5 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "姚晨《捉妖记》为戏蓬头"粉"面被虐成渣". Sina (in Chinese). 15 July 2015. 
  19. ^ "专访《九层妖塔》主演姚晨 一人分饰三角 "这部作品没来得及展示一切"". Mtime (in Chinese). 10 October 2015. 
  20. ^ "姚晨《西游伏妖》演技纯熟 被赞最萌反派". Sina (in Chinese). 31 January 2017. 
  21. ^ "姚晨提名百花奖女配 《捉妖记》女厨神展"姚式喜剧"". CCTV.com (in Chinese). 24 August 2016. 
  22. ^ "Star-studded Premiere of 'MBA Partners' Hits Beijing". China Radio International. 25 April 2016. 
  23. ^ "Yao Chen and Wallace Chung as Jury Members of TV Drama Category". Shanghai Television Festival. 28 April 2017. 
  24. ^ "《都挺好》曝首批主演阵容 姚晨倪大红首演父女". Tencent (in Chinese). 11 October 2017. 
  25. ^ Yolanda Chen (June 2011). "Passion & Fame". Glass Magazine. London (6): 25–29. ISSN 2041-6318. 
  26. ^ Kitty McKinsey (1 April 2011). "Chinese actress Yao Chen shares refugees' stories with millions of fans". UNHCR. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  27. ^ "Chinese actress Yao Chen uses huge Weibo following to help refugees". USA Today. 21 January 2016. 
  28. ^ "Yao Chen Enjoys Her Role as Chinese Honorary Patron of UNHCR". Women of China. 25 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "Ms. Yao Chen, UNHCR National Goodwill Ambassador". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 28 March 2007. 
  30. ^ "Yao Chen: '77 million Followers? It's not so much...'". PR Newswire. 6 May 2015. 
  31. ^ "Yao Chen". China Daily. 7 March 2016. 
  32. ^ "TIME 100 - YAO CHEN PUSHES THE BOUNDARIES OF CHINA'S SOCIAL MEDIA". bmore digital. 24 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "Yao Chen Honored at 22nd Annual Crystal Awards in Davos". China Radio International. 20 January 2016. 
  34. ^ "Leonardo DiCaprio, Yao Chen win WEF awards". CCTV.com. 20 January 2016. 
  35. ^ "WEF names China's Yao Chen as a 'Young Global Leader' in 2016". China Daily. 18 March 2016. 
  36. ^ "Jackie Chan, Chinese astronauts win 2016 influence awards". China Daily. 7 April 2017. 
  37. ^ "'If You Are the One 2' Starts Filming". China Radio International. 2 August 2010. 
  38. ^ "Still Photos of 'Days with the Air Hostess'". China Radio International. 30 January 2011. 
  39. ^ "华鼎电影盛典完全获奖名单". Tencent (in Chinese). 2 March 2011. 
  40. ^ "第18届北京大学生电影节落幕". enorth (in Chinese). 30 April 2011. 
  41. ^ "Film awards to be granted". Shenzhen Daily. 28 June 2011. 
  42. ^ "14th Chinese Film Media Awards held in Beijing". China Daily. 14 December 2014. 
  43. ^ "第三届中澳国际电影节10月30日在澳大利亚落幕". Tencent (in Chinese). 1 November 2016. 

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