Madame Figaro Hommes Cover Story: Metamorphosis

In the summer of 2019, people remembered the name Xiaozhan. From the stage to the cinematic screen, from an idol to an actor, he has never stopped running ahead and evolving and he’s continuously given us more reasons to be moved by him. Xiaozhan’s rapid rise to fame is traceable: he is serious, kind, hardworking, understands gratitude, he doesn’t hide his desire to become better and he has high standards for his profession. Everyone who has met Xiaozhan has full reason to believe that the rise of his name is for sure not temporary, and that his character and traits will surely withstand the test of time.

About the Present:

Recently Xiaozhan is busy filming a drama adapted from a novel, “Oath of Love”. In this drama that is receiving widespread attention, he plays the role of a doctor named Gu Wei. His busy work schedule has divided Xiaozhan’s time into very precise small pieces, his quick lifestyle pace has also modeled his understanding of life. Since about a year and a half ago, Xiaozhan has almost never returned home; he only takes a short break before quickly diving into the next project. When he goes to the filming set, his luggage is usually very simple, he says that there are just a few items he really needs, but the only thing he insists on is that every time he goes to a different city, he will buy the same pillow that he’s used to sleeping on; that’s a comfort and familiarity that he can carry with him wherever he goes.

In terms of the familiarity and sense of security that the external world can provide, Xiaozhan seems to only have the most basic of necessities, “one pillow”. His sense of security originates from the determination of his dreams and the clarity of his goals, as well as the defence of his self. Work is Xiaozhan’s most important source of security; as he’s travelling to different cities, facing different people, the high intensity work and schedule not only doesn’t wear him down, but rather allows him to be more energetic. When Xiaozhan imagines himself lying at home, not doing anything, he answered without hesitation, “I might go crazy.” The love and attention of his fans is what nurtures Xiaozhan’s energy, and when he talked about the fans’ letters and messages, he actually seemed a bit shy. Such warm concern and encouragement is touching to him, but at the same time he feels an invisible responsibility. This sweet pressure quietly formed a resolution in his heart, and drives him to become a better person.

About the Past:

10 years ago Xiaozhan had just graduated from high school, he was lost to the point of not even knowing what he should be confused about, back then he never imagined that today he would be doing a job he’s extremely passionate about, while being loved by so many people. Such imagination struck a chord with him, and after thinking for a bit he replied seriously, “If I have such an opportunity to meet him, I will tell the me from 10 years ago: you can still young and prideful, even young and wild, respect yourself, respect others, really treasure every single person who loves you.” 

On the topic of whether there’s any dream he has yet to achieve, Xiaozhan said regretfully that he still hasn’t been able to take his parents to travel around the world. He didn’t find excuses for himself, but said firmly, “there will definitely be an opportunity for it to come true.”

Regarding his change these past 10 years, Xiaozhan said jokingly, “what you can see is that I lost 15kg.” When asked about what prompted such change, Xiaozhan fell silent for a moment, and replied, “because (I was) ugly.” Then he burst out laughing. As he reflects back on these past 10 years, Xiaozhan came to understand many things he didn’t understand before. Now he’s firm about his goal and direction for his path in the entertainment industry, and that is to work hard to become a qualified actor, even if he only improves a little bit each day, even if such improvement comes with greater feelings of frustration.

Every major decision Xiaozhan has made these past few years has been his own, and even if he took a wrong turn, he doesn’t regret it. Xiaozhan said he can’t go back to the past and make the supposedly “better choice”. But if time can turn back, the him in those past moments might still make the same choices. Without making the choices he did in the past, he would not be able to be so clearheaded and determined in the present. For Xiaozhan, working hard to be himself is more important than not making mistakes.

About the Future:

In such an era of idol mass production, many people rise to fame and fall to anonymity overnight, the change of generations uses months or even weeks as its units of measurement. But that doesn’t seem to affect the actor Xiaozhan much at all. 

On his path to working to become a good actor, he has his own standards and points of reference, “today I have to do better than yesterday, tomorrow I have to do better than today.” 

To Xiaozhan, this is happiness and success. When asked if 10 years later he will be satisfied with himself in the present, Xiaozhan laughed and said, “God, the 28 year old me would speak first, tell the 38 year old me to not be so extra, because I’m already trying my best.”

Xiaozhan said as he grows older, he is more and more clear about what he wants, but his uncertainty and sense of control is also increasing by the day. His determination and confidence are established by the most basic of methods, his goal is clear and he’s always looking ahead. In 10 years, when we speak the name Xiaozhan, what will it be because of? Xiaozhan said that he hopes it will be because he took part in an excellent film project, and he played a role he likes. For his ideal scenario of the future,  Xiaozhan still maintains the most basic and also the ultimate dream as an actor. He only wishes that the lives he lived out so sincerely in these stories can leave behind a tiny ripple in the washing away of time, and still be remembered by some people.

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