ELLE Feb. 2019: Uniquely Him

“I want to continuously break through and surpass myself, and become an actor everyone approves of. I want everyone to see my possibilities.”

Xiao Zhan learned how to draw from a young age, and he especially loved to draw planets and monsters. When he watched movies as a child and saw the Martian monsters, his imagination would start to run wild as he would begin to battle these monsters. Back then, he was a boy who loved outer space; he firmly believed in the existence of aliens. When he saw UFO related news, he was excited, curious, and scared: will aliens be nice to us?

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Later when he read “The Three Body Problem”, this feeling became stronger. He would exclaim about the scale of the author’s imagination and the universe, while doing research to understand the elements of physics and astronomy in the novel. Xiao Zhan would also imagine the appearanceS of the characters, “A science student, he might be wearing glasses, he definitely has a very high IQ, and has the ability to take decisive action. But he’s an idiot when it comes to life, just like Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory.”

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“Portrait” with Xiao Zhan

When he was filming in Xiangshan, Xiao Zhan went for runs in the field almost every day. The sky was so blue, and he often found himself in the midst of the paddy fields, with rolling hills of uneven heights lying in the distance. As the breeze gently blew past, he didn’t need to think about anything. His friend still has some of the videos he took in those fields, often filmed under the setting sun with only the sound of the wind and rustling leaves as the person taking the video is holding his breath. The camera would slowly pan up from over the fields, and occasionally there would be the sound of distant thunder, but the camera doesn’t waver. He is still at ease as he stands in the center of the field.

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VogueMe Cover Story: It’s Xiaozhan’s Time (Excerpts)

Currently, shooting to fame is a trend in the entertainment industry. Data guides everything – a drama, a variety show, a song…all of these can bring about the birth of a super idol, and the prestige and business value follows soon after. in 2019, the novel-adapted “The Untamed” became this window. This is a story about a young man who grabbed hold of an opportunity. Like other idols born to their generations, his fans multiplied quickly, and he radiated outwards starting from the youths, and finally he gained generational fame. Now everything is declaring, it’s Xiaozhan’s time.

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Harper’s Bazaar – Oct. 2019 Issue

Not the full article – snippets only

Q: In real life, are you also someone who likes an adventure?
Xiaozhan: Yes, you could say that.
Q: Does it excite you more if you don’t know the end results for a lot of things?
Xiaozhan: In life, if many things already have a certain result, then you ask me to do these things, there might be less novelty and uncertainty along the way. I prefer to not know the result; I can take any path and the destination is all different, that gets me more excited.
Q: So in your imagination, Abu Dhabi fits with your sense of the unknown?
Xiaozhan: Yes. It’s like a mysterious, unknown land to me. I can explore, and there’s endless treasures.

Xiaozhan says he’s not a brave person, but life makes it so he has to be brave, because only by being brave can he face all the unforeseen problems on this journey.

After The Untamed, a lot of people felt that Xiaozhan was more outgoing than before, and had more to say. Before he was a little reserved around strangers, but now he communicates with people with a proactive attitude, and in hopes of gaining more knowledge and information from the conversations.

His role not only brought him more attention, but he also gained strength and growth from the role itself.

As for plans for the future, he smiled and said that he hasn’t decided. But he loves to act, and he hopes that he can continue on the path to becoming a good actor, resolving one problem at a time and becoming braver and stronger. He says it’s not just him, a lot of his friends and young adults around him are all like that – they’re not afraid of the hardships in life’s path and become stronger and firmer along the way.

“Life has led you to this point, so just continue to walk forward with resolve. Because a lot of problems are what others who took this path have faced before, and what you will continue to face as you will also be back and forth on this path.”

Since the first script reading, Xiaozhan constantly reminded himself, “I’m Wei Wuxian, I’m Wei Wuxian, I’m lively and talkative and loveable.”

Even if that day you’re in the worst mood, if you’re going through dark times in your life, once you arrive on set, stand in front of the camera and the director yells action, from that moment you’re not yourself anymore.

Xiaozhan smiled and said, “It’s so cruel, but that’s an actor’s job.”

Xiaozhan’s father once said, “No one will just love you for no reason. If you want people to love you, you need to treasure their love.” Xiaozhan firmly believes that.

When he was young, Xiaozhan liked Stefanie Sun. He went to her concerts and fansigns. Xiaozhan just hoped he can see her from afar, see her shine on stage, lose himself in her songs, and learn from her to become better, eventually becoming a star that shines brightly in other people’s eyes. Xiaozhan says in his age, that was how people followed celebrities. Idols were really idols; they were a source of self-motivation. He treasures the love that fans have for him, and he never rejections “internet popularity”, which a lot of people shy away from discussing.

“You think internet popularity is bad, right? You think it’s a negative term? I think it’s a pretty good thing, because to me “internet popularity” means more people will come to know you, love you, and I think that’s a good thing. At least I don’t think anyone can always have massive internet popularity, the important thing is how to deal with it and face this popularity, and let it become motivation for yourself to move forward, I think that’s important.”

He hopes to turn the love of his fans into motivation for himself to move forward. An actor can quickly gain fame and attention from a popular drama, but acting itself needs professional study and accumulation.

Xiaozhan’s favorite actress is Zhou Xun. When he talked about her, Xiaozhan’s tone sounded like that of a “fanboy”: “I don’t know how she was able to become the way she is today.” our answer was simple; time and talent. You can’t be missing either one. Talent allows you to show your ability as an actor and when fate allows for it, you can seize the opportunities that come your way at certain points in your life. And time is what sharpens the knife, every minute, every second you spend on professional development will be reflected in your future performances.

“There are no small roles, only small actors.” Keep in mind your initial aspiration and determination, and work your best at your profession. Continue to plow through this field, and you will eventually come across a piece of land that belongs to you.

Xiaozhan said, “In this era of fleeting popularity, continuing to stay true to myself and being as real as possible, I think that’s the ultimate goal. But it’s also so, so difficult.”

We wish him the best.

*Internet popularity (流量) is more literally like online traffic, it is often used with a negative connotation for celebrities who have a large following, especially online, but do not necessarily have skills to back up that fame. Xiaozhan is saying that he takes that at face value – as love and attention he receives which he will work to live up to through effort and improving his skills.

Cosmo Jun. 2019 (Excerpt)

Not the full article – just one snippet

“She wrote me a letter and said she got married…” he widened his pretty eyes, as if this was touching and hard to believe. “She watched me on the survival show and liked me ever since then. Now she’s met her other half in life, got married, and she’s happy. Wow, this feels really great!”

That day he read this letter from his fan, that feeling of “companionship” was like the letter he held onto tightly – it became clear and tangible.

So even now, Xiaozhan thinks that fans are very much like his childhood friends. “In those times, we had a whole neighborhood of children, and after school we’d write our homework together, play together, and grow up together.” He raised his hand to gesture, and his smile is blinding, “now those friends’ children are already this tall.” As he lowered his hand, a gentle breeze passed over him.