How Xiao Zhan, One of China’s Top Star, Hustled His Way to the Top


Korean celebrities are huge in fashion, music and drama scenes. So much so that some people are inclined to buy whitening body lotion to achieve that perfect Korean glow, or hoard face masks and Korean moisturizers to achieve that glass skin look. But Chinese celebrities are grabbing the world’s attention in fashion, music, and film as well.

There are certainly big names like Xiao Zhan, Wang Yibo, Kris Wu and Zhao Liying who are catching the eyes of international brands, like Tod’s, Louis Vuitton and Chanel, to name a few.

Six feet tall, beautiful and with a smile that captivates the audience, Xiao Zhan ranked 1st for the TCCAsia’s Most Handsome Faces of 2019. However, it hasn’t been an easy ride for this handsome 6-footer. It’s widely known that unlike most of his peers, he led a pretty normal life. After finishing college and working as a graphic designer, he decided to enter the music industry in 2015 at age 24.

So how did this seemingly normal graphic artist rise to the top of China’s most competitive industry and become one of China’s most sought-after actors today?

1. Don’t Let Others Dictate the Way You Live Your Life

Xiao Zhan graduated with a degree in graphic design from the Modern International Art Design Academy of Chongqing Technology and Business University. After that he started his own design studio where he designed logos for his clients, and some photography work.

He was 24 years old when he decided to participate in the 2015 idol reality show “X-Fire”. Here, he trained to be an idol with 15 other contestants, and finally, in 2016, he was able to debut in the idol group X NINE, snagging the main vocalist position.

A lot of controversies surround his promotional activities or lack thereof. In an industry where youth is valued, it would be difficult for a nameless 25-year-old to bag major roles. He was able to rise above those and managed to get TV series and movie projects using his own abilities.

After two years of appearing in music shows, landing supporting roles in dramas and movies, Xiao Zhan finally landed the main role of Wei Wuxian from the series “The Untamed.” The show was a resounding success. Xiao Zhan played a character that would show the world his potential and would catapult him to A-list status.

Though Xiao Zhan had experienced fame prior to “The Untamed,” the series made him a household name in China, and has attracted many fans from all over the world.

From a humble graphic designer to an in-demand A-list celebrity, Xiao Zhan shows that even when the odds are against you,  hardwork and determination will help achieve your goals.

2. Kindness and a High EQ

Some say that because he’s lived the first 25 years of his life as a normal person, he’s still not used to his mega-celebrity status, this is why when he’s among fans or staff, there seems to be no barrier at all.

His high EQ, humility and simple personality, in contrast with his popularity, talent, and celebrity status are some things that his supporters have always found endearing and irreplaceable.

It’s not just about the skill but whether you can connect well with other people that matters. With Xiao Zhan, his warm and relaxed nature make him more personable and likable.


3. Work Hard and Have Fun

XIao Zhan is known to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to acting. A lot of directors and actors praise him for his ability to understand the character, portray emotions accurately, and also cry in a way that suits the characters. He can do comedy, drama, and action — and do them beautifully. What more can you ask for?

Directors have commented about his “pure personality” that makes him very comfortable to work with. As an actor he is also very relaxed, and has always added his own creative touches in portraying roles.

Xiao Zhan also never forgets about his other skills, like his artistic talents. You can see him posting fun artworks in his social media account, his latest art post was one for his own studio.

4. Let Go of Things You Can’t Control and Improve Yourself

The controversy known as the “227 incident” would sound very harmless as it involves a fanfiction of a homosexual nature, depicting the actor scandalously. His fans found this insulting and proceeded to report the famous site to the government, which led China to ban the domain for a couple of months.

Xiao Zhan lost his endorsements, people boycotted products he advertised and he was forced to issue an apology for something he had nothing to do with. Some of his movies got canceled, and his series  were pushed to air on a later date.

Xiao Zhan stayed quiet for a while and rightfully so. The world was going through a lot in 2020, and he understood that what he was experiencing was nothing compared to what the whole world was going through.

He fought his way back though and returned for his first live appearance on December 19, 2020 on the “Tencent Video All Star Night Show.”

In just five months, he has released dozens of endorsements from brands such as Tod’s, Budweiser, OCAK, Roseonly, Zwilling, and more.

March to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Xiao Zhan is unique for his outlook in life and how he sees opportunities in all things. From stepping foot in the entertainment industry at age 24, and having limited opportunities, to people boycotting his endorsements for something he didn’t do, he was able to maintain his composure, remain calm, retain his winning mindset, and still be kind.



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