Ever since the Internet has spread like wildfire in China, people have become famous through the Internet, sometimes unintentionally. In Chinese netizen-speak, this is known as being “red” (more of a reference to fire or vibrance than the usual Communist connotation) which can be translated as being “hot,” or maybe “the rage.” Now that 2009 is coming to an end (also the year where the number of Internet users in China has surpassed the US population), there are various tallies on who the “hottest” Internet celebrities are. It doesn’t seem there has been any sort of official vote yet, but there seems to be a general consensus among all the forums and websites who the “red” people are. I chose 11 that seem to appear in all the lists and show the variety. If you want to see the original Chinese sites, check out this and this.
The point of this post is not to necessarily be an official ranking, but to give you an idea of the grassroots nature of how Internet fame is manifest in China, the disproportionate emphasis placed on pretty girls, and the seemingly complete randomness of who becomes “red.”
1. The most handsome traffic policeman of Chongqing (重庆最帅交警): The host of a TV show called “Transportation for Everyone” has been deemed “the most handsome traffic policeman” by netizens based on his classic good looks, bright demeanor, and a winning smile.
2. Candied Haws Beauty (糖葫芦西施): 19-year old vendor of candied haws (see ChinaHush post here) at Tiaotong University in Xi’an. Her real name is Kang Xiaohan (康晓菡) but local male students gave her the name “Tanghulu Xishi” (Xishi is one of the Four Beauties of ancient China).
After October of this year, China media reported her entrepreneurial story, she quickly became famous on the internet and this incident also helped her business greatly. Now candied Haws Beauty no longer have to sell her candied haws on the street with her tricycles, she had opened up a shop and also registered her own trademarks – “Kang Xiaohan Tanghulu Xishi”.
3. Long-legged Meimei (长腿妹妹): Meimei (netizens will sometimes just use MM) is what Chinese call beautiful girls that have a touch of the “girl next-door” feel. Her real name is Kong Yansong (孔燕松) and her legs are 1.17 meters (3.84 feet) long. As one netizens says, “Her legs are just too much.”
And she has a twin sister named Kong Yaozu (孔瑶竹) who is 1.78 meters tall.
More on her from chinaSMACK: Long-Legged Beauty Kong Yansong, Can Legs Be Too Long?
4. Little Sister Linjia (林家小妹): Her real name is Lin Yi (林依). Twenty-year old singer and actress who became famous through her songs and “scary” (funny) movies on the Internet. Also known as the “the neighborhood’s little sister” using a phonetic play on the first character (邻家小妹). Her more popular series are “The Case of Meeting a Ghost”and “The Chapter on Talent.”One netizens says, “She is not only my sister, she is your sister, his sister, her sister, she is everyone’s little sister!”
5. The Xidan Girl (西单女孩): Her real name is Ren Liyue (任月丽), she was born in Hebei and due to her parents being sick since she was young, she was mostly raised by her grandmother. So that her family would be less economically burdened, she came to Beijing alone at the age of 16. A netizen who passed her in Xidan (a popular shopping district in Beijing) recorded her singing a song called “The Wings of an Angel” and uploaded it to the Internet, the video immediately became incredibly popular all over the web. Her singing is moving and heartfelt – some people also call her “The Angel in Xidan.”
Here is her singing the original song that made her famous.
(If you cannot see YouTube videos in China, try use VPN software : Freedur, and use coupon code CHINAHUSH to get 10% off.)
6. The Yunnan Nude (云南裸体): Her real name is Peng Chunping (彭春平) and she is 21-years old. She likes to wear wide white-collar dresses or white t-shirts and hot pants. In 2008, she posted naked pictures of herself on the Internet in order to voice her grievances and to find her mother who had gone away to find work. Recently, she was again in the spotlight. A dwarf named Beibei had posted an advertisement seeking a marriage partner and she responded and agreed to marry him.
More on her from ESWN: Yunnan Naked Girl Looks For Mother
7. The coolest male student specialist in history (史上最牛专科男生): Real name Yang Rui (杨锐) He is an entrepreneur who makes “Singles T-shirts” for people who are single. They have already sold thousands of t-shirts and made over 400,000 RMB. He says, “Perhaps we will encounter difficulties, but you should express your personality when you are young, do what you want, the end is not important, what I care about is the process.”
8. Hibiscus II (芙蓉二代): Her real name is Xu Qingqing (徐情情) and was born in Wenzhou province. She is now attending college in Zhejiang. She posted pictures on the Internet revealing her outspoken personality and outrageous expressions. She claims that “I want to show the most beautiful part of myself to everyone.” Chinese netizens have varying reactions to her, some sarcastically call her “the representative of the new economy,” some admire her for her outspokenness, some say she is the typical example of what comes out of the Internet in this day and age, and some call for increased surveillance of the Internet in order to prevent people like her from “rising again.”
9. The Academic Cat of Peking University (北大学术校猫): A student from Peking University posted on the school’s forum a post entitled “A cat worth respecting from Peking University,” claiming that the cat would listen to class along with students.
10. The Shanghainese Ticket Vendor (上海售票妹妹): She sells bus tickets on bus line 934 in Shanghai. Her real name is Gujia Wen (顾佳雯), she has colorful nails, purple contacts, hair down to her shoulders. She, along with 27 other young ticket vendors in Shanghai, are used to display a youthful image of Shanghai for the World Expo.
More on her from chinaSMACK: Young Post-90s Pretty Girl Sells Bus Tickets In Shanghai
11. The Pirate Copy of Cecilia Cheung (翻版张柏芝) Her real name is Gong Mi (贡米), she is currently a student at Beijing Film School, and she is multi-talented and beautiful. Upon entering a singing contest in Zhengzhou, she received a lot of attention because she looks like Zhang Bozhi (known as Cecilia Cheung in English), a famous actress and singer. However, due to illness, she later had to drop out of the competition.