Idols deviating from the traditional “picture-perfect” image of celebrities have been gaining popularity in China.
Ditching the abs: Produce Pandas, a music act touted as the country's first-ever "plus-size" boyband, made its debut in July last year, reported the BBC.
Members of Produce Pandas mostly sing about acceptance and self-confidence, as heard in one of their hits, “Stand Up,” which contains the line, "Don't hold back. If you're chubbier, you're more eye-catching."
"We can't say we represent different people. We just hope that our attitude can give out good vibes,” member Chen Dingding was quoted as saying.
Chen also talked about a “plumper” female fan who gained confidence and positivity from the group’s own story.
"I feel we can bring everyone joy and positive energy, and this is what we want to bring to everyone," he shared.
Stars that look like us: Chinese fans’ fascination with “relatable” celebrities started with online influencer Papi Jiang, who became a viral hit in 2016, according to Chinese social media specialist Manya Koetse.
Koetse said Papi Jiang was among the first women who became famous "without being covered in makeup.”
She was known for being “very straightforward in speaking out her opinion and talking in a funny way about social issues."
Plus-size filmmaker Jia Ling, who wrote and starred in the hit film “Hi, Mom,” also recently gained recognition. The drama became this year’s highest-grossing film in the world, turning Ling into the highest-grossing female filmmaker, surpassing “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins.
Fans’ newfound adoration for “non-perfect” celebrities has led to talent shows capitalizing on the trend, such as “Sisters Who Make Waves,” which features female contestants older than 30 competing to form a five-member female singing group.
Featured image via Produce Pandas
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