Shu Qi: Actress and occasional adult model

September 25, 2005

One of East Asia's most popular actresses, Shu Qi (a/k/a: Hsu Chi, Shu Kei, Li-Hui Lin) is a frequent star of the region's best films. In addition to being an onscreen force, she is a stunningly beautiful woman whose soft features and exotic face make us want to learn Cantonese as soon as possible.

After establishing herself as a model and soft porn actress, Shu Qi branched out into mainstream film. She is known for starring in Gorgeous with Jackie Chan and the international hit, So Close. Shu Qi is by and large an actress in Chinese films, but she impressed American audiences in her first and only English film, 2002's The Transporter.

Given China's preeminence on the world stage of many aspects of every industry, it only makes sense that we keep abreast of the important players from that part of the globe. Shu Qi represents the best of the best -- a beautiful, talented actress with a long list of accomplishments and a bright future ahead of her.

What's more, she has the personality to spur the interest of many potential fans in the West, while her background in adult films and propensity to pose near-nude are great initial selling points. All in all, it's clear that if Shu Qi ever wants to conquer Hollywood, she'd easily have a home here.

Hardened from her tough days as a youth in a poor Taiwanese neighborhood, Shu Qi may look fragile but she most certainly is not. Determined and shrewd, she usually achieves whatever she sets her mind to. Of course, that does not mean she is not affable; in fact, many of her fellow actors label her as a kind, easygoing star whose celebrity status has not affected her down-to-earth demeanor.

Shu Qi receives just as much praise for her acting abilities as she does for her personality. She has a wide range of skills and can be just as convincing in artsy martial arts films as she can in dramatic fare. This versatility bodes well for Shu Qi, as she continues to fill up her resume with interesting projects.

Shu Qi's soft features and striking face are what first impress us, but she truly is "the total package." In addition to this exotic look, Shu Qi possesses a curvaceous, petite body and a sweet pair of legs. Though she is not a traditional Chinese beauty, Shu Qi boasts a unique brand of sexiness that is unforgettable.

With over 50 Chinese titles to her credit, Shu Qi is no amateur thespian. With no other means to earn a living, Shu Qi began doing soft-core porn films in Hong Kong. Movies like Sex & Zen II and Viva Erotica highlighted her finer points (the physical ones at least), but also showed that she was comfortable in front of the camera.

She soon moved to more mainstream films and, with her beauty and grace, quickly won the hearts of Asian filmgoers. Titles like 1996's Street Angels, 1997's L-O-V-E... Love and 1998's Young & Dangerous: The Prequel kept her busy in the late 1990s. After doing an amazing 10 movies in 1998, Shu Qi starred in 1999's Gorgeous (co-starring Jackie Chan), which turned out to be her biggest hit to date.

Since that breakthrough performance, Shu Qi has done 25 more movies, including her lone Hollywood feature, The Transporter, in 2002. A slew of action films, comedies and dramas back in Hong Kong followed, and films like 2002's international hit So Close, 2003's Finding Mr. Perfect and 2005's Tokyo Raiders cemented her status as one of China's most popular actresses.

Known just as famously for her bright smile as for her talents as an actress, Shu Qi could have easily kept up her duties as a model had her foray into acting not worked out. Her ivory skin, tight little body and cute face make her highly desirable, and a true international beauty.

Thanks to a fine figure, Shu Qi can pull off nearly any type of fine attire. Thus far, she has chosen to step out in revealing and colorful spaghetti-strap dresses, a multitude of tight-fitting tops and several midriff-baring numbers. Tight jeans and funky skirts highlight the best of her casual wear, and the entire package reveals that Shu Qi is quite the stylish celebrity.

Biography

Born on April 16, 1976, in a relatively poor quarter of Taipei, Taiwan, Shu Qi (née Li-Hui Lin) and her family lived with the daily struggle of making ends meet. Independent and rebellious, Shu Qi never enjoyed the strictness of her home and as a result, she ran away several times.

At 16 years old, she left home and stayed away for six months, living with friends and taking on odd jobs to earn money. However, these jobs did not offer a significant salary, and so, when Shu Qi was approached by a modeling agency, she jumped at the opportunity. With a great figure and exotic face, she started modeling at 17 and did some very naughty photo shoots for magazines in the three years that followed.

In 1996, Shu Qi translated her still work to film, moving to the soft porn industry. Films like Sex & Zen II (Yu po tuan er zhi yu nu xia jing) and Viva Erotica (Se qing nan nu) represented her contribution to the genre and won her praise as a sexy, poised "actress." Her manager/agent Manfred Wong, who had initially noticed her on a magazine cover, sung her praises for Viva Erotica and spread the word about this budding actress.

Though the transition from adult to mainstream film is not easy to make, Shu Qi performed the feat with ease. At first, she was cast in typically subordinate female roles that are commonplace in Hong Kong cinema; see her in Growing Up, Queer Story and Till Death Do Us Laugh. Despite the redundant roles, Shu Qi became a workaholic, starring in five movies in 1997.

Impressively, Shu Qi doubled her output in 1998. With films like 1998's Portland Street Blues and City of Glass, Shu Qi was recognized as a versatile actress who could dominate the silver screen. Shu Qi emerged as China's favorite leading lady in 1999 when she appeared opposite Jackie Chan in Gorgeous (Bor lei jun).

Though she turned down the role ultimately filled by Zhang Ziyi in 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Shu Qi maintained her celebrity in the new millennium. In 2002, Shu Qi showed off her ability to satisfy an international audience in the successful The Transporter, her only appearance in an English film. That same year, Shun Qi was the feature star in So Close (Chik yeung tin sai), an extremely entertaining action hit that gained acclaim from critics around the world.

Despite Shu Qi's status as a huge star and frequent appearances in the tabloids (she had a high-profile relationship with singer-actor Leon Lai), she has slowed down her work pace. Films like 2003's Finding Mr. Perfect (Kei fung dik sau) and 2005's The Best of Our Times (Zui hao de shi guang) highlight the best of her most recent work, but rest assured that this Asian beauty is going to work hard to maintain her position atop the Hong Kong film industry.

Already the winner of a Golden Horse Award, a Golden Bauhinia and two Hong Kong Film Awards, Shu Qi should be collecting more hardware in the years to come.

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Courtesy AskMen.com. Used with permission. For syndications and reprint policies please visit AskMen.com. Photos By Reuters/AP/Sing Tao.


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