There’s a level of difficulty making it on to the international scene for stars – in fact, many of them are pretty much unknown to the average Westerner. We continue to identify older, Americanized stars such as Jackie Chan as the top Asian celebrities, because they have been playing to the international stage for years. It would be a mistake to think that Asia was still just producing kung-fu flicks and stereotypical superstars – the new era of Asian celebrities has learned how to build brands and work across multiple mediums. Here are five of the most popular Asian celebrities right now.
5. Yang Mi
Born: Beijing, China
Acting in film and television since the age of four, Mi already has dozens of movies and television shows behind her. She started on the show Tang Ming Huang in 1993, and earned accolades for her role, with the show itself winning multiple awards for Best Children’s Series.
Not satisfied with almost two decades of roles on the screen, she released her first album in 2012, winning the Beijing Pop Music Awards “Most Popular Newcomer” for her effort. With endorsement deals with Pepsi, she is poised to emerge onto the international scene.
4. Jay Chou
Born: Linkou District, New Taipei, Taiwan
While he is most recognized in the Western world thanks to his role as Kato in the 2011 remake of The Green Hornet, Chou has been a popular musician and actor in his homeland for over a decade. Particularly popular in Taiwan, Singapore, and mainland China, Chou has sold over 30 million albums since his debut in 2000.
His World Tours have included stops in London, Toronto, and Las Vegas. Successful touring plus more movie roles in the works have Chou set to be the major face in the future of Asia on the international screen.
3. Lin Chi-Ling
Born: Taipei, Taiwan
A Taiwanese model and actress, she got a late start, invited to model at age 28. Her fame came overnight, turning her into an instant celebrity, and she has served as the ambassador and spokesperson for numerous companies and products. She has also found success in television and film, most recently with the movie Say Yes!, and is often referred to as the “Face of Taiwan” for her international presence.
2. Andy Lau
Born: Tai Po, Hong Kong
The most prolific Hong Kong star ever, like many Asian stars Lau performs on the screen as well as behind the microphone. He was the top Box Office Actor for two decades, with his 108 films between 1985 and 2005 pulling in $1.8 billion in Hong Kong dollars. Some of his top roles include in Infernal Affairs, in a role later filled by Matt Damon in the Americanized version, The Departed; and in House of Flying Daggers.
On top of this, he is considered one of the top four Cantonese pop stars to ever perform, holding the Guinness World Record for Most Awards Won by a Cantopop Male Artist. Not content to slow down, he has two movies set released in 2014, and others in production.
1. Jackie Chan
Born: Victoria Peak, Hong Kong
The ageless Chan continues to be a major force in Asia as well as across the world, for the most part on the screen. He also dabbles in music – he is a classically trained opera singer, and helped to write and perform the farewell song for the 2008 Summer Olympics. In addition to his talents as an actor and martial artist, Chan has also written and produced films in recent times, with CZ12 one of his most successful films. He is set to have multiple films coming out , the same year he turns 60.