5 Fast Facts About Chinese Actress and Role Model Ma Yili

By Tristin Zhang, September 10, 2019

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Sino Celeb is a monthly feature where we introduce a Chinese celebrity to our readers.

The name Ma Yili has been on the lips of Chinese gossipers, online and offline alike, as news broke of the actress’ high-profile divorce from actor Wen Zhang at the end of July. Just five years ago, reports of her husband’s infidelity were brought to light, but Ma chose to forgive him, and was subsequently lauded in Chinese press as an independent and strong woman. Here are five things you should know about the Shanghai-born actress. 

1. Early Autonomy

Ma was able to financially support herself at the young age of 15 when she became a member of a dance troupe for Shanghai TV.  

2. Role Model for Chinese Actresses

ma-yili-2.jpgImage via @马伊琍/Weibo

Acclaimed for portraying optimistic roles in Chinese TV dramas, Ma, who has a reputation as a hard worker, is seen as something of a role model within show biz. That reputation landed her an invite to meet former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at a youth forum in the Russian Embassy in Beijing. 

3. ‘Free Lunch’ Program 

Since 2011, Ma has been the spokeswoman for the ‘Free Lunch’ program, which “supports poor school children who can’t afford their lunch, with a daily donation of RMB4.”

4. UNICEF Ambassador 

ma-yili-4.jpgImage via @马伊琍/Weibo

Mother of two and enthusiastic when it comes to public welfare, Ma was appointed by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund as its Chinese advocate in 2015. 

5.High-Profile Divorce 

Ma’s Weibo post about her recent divorce made headlines in China and received over 2 million likes on the microblogging site.

For more Sino Celeb, click here.

[Cover image via @马伊琍/Weibo]

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