||This biographical article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (February 2014)|
photo by Fadil Berisha
|Born||October 6, 1949 (age 66)
Guilin, Guangxi, China
|Other names||Queen of the Middle Kingdom|
|Alma mater||Brigham Young University in Hawaii|
|Occupation||TV personality, Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author|
Yue-Sai Kan (Chinese: 靳羽西; pinyin: Jìn Yǔxī; b. Guilin (桂林), Guangxi (广西), China) is a Chinese American Emmy-winning television host and producer, entrepreneur, bestselling author and humanitarian. People magazine named her "the most famous woman in China" and Time magazine proclaimed her "the Queen of the Middle Kingdom."
Kan was born in Guilin (桂林), in China's southern province of Guangxi (广西), and grew up in Hong Kong. She is the oldest of four sisters, and her father Kan Wing-Lin was a revered traditional Chinese painter and calligrapher. She moved to Hawaii where she studied for a degree in music at Brigham Young University in Hawaii. While studying as a piano major, Yue-Sai entered the Narcissus Flower Beauty Pageant sponsored by the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce, became the second runner-up, and as part of her duties traveled around the World. The training and life-changing experience marked the beginning of her career in fashion and beauty. She went to New York in 1972, becoming involved in public relations and television production work.
Work in television
In New York City she founded Yue-Sai Kan Productions and created her first major TV production, a weekly series called "Looking East". The program was the first of its kind to introduce Asian cultures and customs to a growing and receptive American audience. The series garnered critical acclaim and won dozens of awards. As described by the New York Times: "Few people are able to bridge the East and West, but Yue-Sai Kan can, and does it with beauty, intelligence and grace." The series stayed on the air for 12 years, the last 2 years on the Discovery Channel. Based on this and other work Yue-Sai is credited as the first TV journalist to connect the East and West.
In 1984, PBS invited Yue-Sai to host the first live broadcast of a television program from China on the occasion of the 35th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China. The program was the first ever co-production of American TV station PBS and China's CCTV network. The program brought Kan to prominence in China and led the Chinese government to offer her a new television series, One World, which was produced and hosted by Yue-Sai and aired on China’s national television network CCTV. The twice-per-week program, which exposed Chinese viewers to cultures around the world, was the first television series hosted by a Chinese American on national Chinese TV. With a weekly viewership of 300 million people, "One World" gave many Chinese their first glimpse of the outside world. Her broadcast captivated the entire nation and made her a household name. At that time with broadcasts in both China and the USA, she was the 'most watched woman in the world', proclaimed by People Magazine. The bilingual scripts and video were used as teaching materials in schools across China and her easy television style influenced a generation of TV journalists in China.
In the United States, Yue-Sai's other TV credits include the ABC documentary "China Walls and Bridges", which received a coveted Emmy award in 1989, and "Journey through a Changing China", which was syndicated across the country, was so powerful that it was entered into the United States Congressional Record, which called Yue-Sai a “citizen ambassador”. Her popular series "Mini Dragons" and "Doing Business in Asia", which Kan produced and hosted was broadcast on PBS, and fed the West's growing hunger for information on the East. A corporate version of the series was created and thousands of copies were sold to corporations and university business schools throughout the World for many years. Yue-Sai has continued to produce a variety of television shows aimed at raising the Chinese consciousness about the latest international lifestyle trends, including segments for the popular TV program "Half of the Sky" and more recently "Yue-Sai's World" and “Yue-Sai’s Expo” on which she interviews various North American and European celebrities such as Usher, Catyerine Deneuve, Robert De Niro, Henry Kissinger, Halle Berry, Cherie Blair, etc. Yue-Sai Kan has filmed in more than 25 counties, created thousands of programs, and been seen all over the globe.
Shanghai International Film Festival - for the last 10 years, Yue-Sai Kan has served as the International Ambassador of the Shanghai International Film Festival. She helped to secure the attendance of many A-list stars, including Halle Berry, Catherine Deneuve, Liam Neeson, Adrien Broody, Susan Sarandon, Quincy Jones, Robert Levinson, Andie MacDowell just to name a few. Her involvement has uplifted the status of the Festival to a true international level.
In 1992, Yue-Sai successfully transformed herself from a TV personality to an entrepreneur by creating the Yue-Sai cosmetics brand which became China’s leading Cosmetics Company, eventually selling products in more than 800 outlets through 23 regional companies in China's major markets. The company started a revolution by encouraging Chinese women to be proud of their image, and truly began the cosmetics industry in China. Forbes magazine reported that Yue-Sai “is changing the face of the Middle Kingdom, one lipstick at a time". The company was sold to L'Oréal, the world's largest cosmetics company, in May 2004, with Kan staying on as Honorary Vice Chairman of L'Oréal China. More than 90% of the Chinese population today recognizes the brand.
In 2008 Yue-Sai created a new East-meets-West lifestyle retail brand, the House of Yue-Sai, to bring style, elegance and inspiration to Chinese homes, selling a variety of fine home furnishings, bedding, tableware, lighting, decorative accessories and unique gifts, and jewelry. Yue-Sai has also designed and produced a line of Asian female dolls, known as the Yue-Sai WaWa (“doll” in Chinese). Seeing that all dolls in China had blue eyes and blonde hair, Yue-Sai created dolls with distinctive Asian features, accessories and educational facts, to help Asian children develop confidence, knowledge and pride in their heritage as well as educate children of all heritages about Chinese cultures.
Yue-Sai Kan has written 9 best-selling books in China, making her the first to dispense valuable tips about television production, beauty and etiquette to the modern Chinese. This includes: "One World", "How to Be a Beautiful, Healthy and Successful Modern Woman", and “Yue-Sai’s Guide to Asian Beauty” which provides instruction on basic makeup techniques, which instantly became a must-have handbook for the Chinese Woman. Encouraged by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, she introduced international social standards to China with her book “Etiquette for the Modern Chinese”, and “The Chinese Gentleman” and “The Complete Chinese Woman” served as virtual training manuals for volunteers at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. In 2009 she published "Exquisite Spaces, 25 Top Interior Designers of the World", a coffee table book featuring design philosophies and tips from world-class designers, and their works. It was the first time that an interior design book of such magnitude was made available in China. 2013 "Life is a competition" and 2014 "99 ways to live a Charmed Life" were published. Currently Yue-Sai is working on her 10th book.
Yue-Sai's face was featured on a Chinese stamp which was issued in 2002 the first American Chinese ever honored with one. In 2005, a new version was issued to keep up with her new hairdo.
Throughout her life Kan has been deeply involved in charitable work. Her many charitable activities include utilizing her own fund to build schools, libraries and award scholarships to outstanding underprivileged students in high schools and universities in China. She was a board member of Meals on Wheel and worked with Orbis international. In 2002, UNICEF named her, alongside other international leaders and celebrities, as its only Global Chinese “Say Yes” ambassador. She is a board member of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, one of China's biggest charitable organizations committed to improving the health of women and children.
In honor of the Miss Universe China Pageant and the charitable efforts of Yue-Sai Kan, the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation established the China Beauty Charity Fund, which will support women and children in all aspects of their lives, particularly in health and education, and in the US, the Beauty Charity Fund is to connect China and the United States, all funds raised goes to scholarship funds in America.
Since 2013, with Shanghai More Love Charity Foundation (Zeng Ai), she has used the final pageant of Miss Universe China Coronation Ball as Shanghai's most glamorous charity ball. Attended by over 700 Who's Who of China. The charity has raised millions to support orphanages, Operation Smile and scholarships for students in China's best schools.
Yue-Sai is also a member of the Committee of 100, which is composed of outstanding Chinese Americans. She is also sits on Prince Albert of Monaco's Philanthropy Round Table.
Miss Universe China
Since 2011, Yue-Sai Kan has served as the National Director of Miss Universe China. Yue-Sai has stated that the three aims of the Pageant during her administration are supporting education and charity, and creating a positive image of Chinese women. In her first year as National Director Yue-Sai created a spectacular Pageant in Beijing at the MasterCard Center with a live audience in excess of 6,000 people. The winner of the Pageant (Luo Zilin) went on to capture the 4th runner up position (out of 89 Countries) in the Miss Universe Organization Pageant held in São Paulo, Brazil on September 12, 2011.
Miss Universe China 2012 was held in Shanghai, the winner of Miss China 2012 was Xu Jidan (Diana Xu) who had won " the Best National Costume" in the Miss Universe Pageant 2012 which was held in Las Vegas. The costume was made by famous Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei, who is a close friend of Yue-Sai.
2013 Miss Universe China final pageant was held in Jing An Shangri-La hotel in Shanghai on Sep 28th. Winner was Jin Ye who went to Moscow,Russia for the global final and won " Miss Congeniality" and entered top 16 among 89 contestants from all over the world.
Miss China 2014 Karen Hu (Hu Yanliang) has represented China participated in the Miss Universe Final Pageant in Miami, USA
Miss China 2015 is Jessica Xue (Xue Yunfang) from Shenzhen, China and won the title on Aug.29th in Shanghai Pudong Shangri-la hotel, where Yue-Sai hold her fifth Miss Universe China Charity Gala.
Throughout the years, Yue-Sai received awards from both the United States and China. She received her Doctorate Degree of Humanity from the University of Massachusetts. She is a director of IMAX China, which went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange fall of 2015.
- Yue-Sai Kan's Official Website
- Yue-Sai Kan biography
- Charlie Rose Interview with Yue-Sai Kan
- Yue-Sai Kan's Official Weibo
- Miss Universe China Official Website