Story Of Yanxi Palace idol Wu Jinyan 'always liked Zoe and Fann'

Chinese star Wu Jinyan arriving at the Star Awards on Sunday. She arrived in Singapore that morning and left after the ceremony, but managed to fit in local dishes such as bak kut teh and pandan cake.
Chinese star Wu Jinyan arriving at the Star Awards on Sunday. She arrived in Singapore that morning and left after the ceremony, but managed to fit in local dishes such as bak kut teh and pandan cake.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Chinese actress Wu Jinyan spent less than 24 hours in Singapore over the weekend, but she still managed to try a number of local dishes.

"I ordered a whole table of food - I had bak kut teh, chee cheong fun and, of course, the 'green cake' (pandan cake). It was all delicious," said the 28-year-old starlet, who shot to fame as the lead character, Wei Yingluo, of Story Of Yanxi Palace - the most Googled drama worldwide last year.

In town to attend Sunday's Star Awards, she arrived that morning and left for the airport after the ceremony, where she presented the Best Actor and Best Actress awards with Taiwanese actor Jerry Yan.

In a group interview backstage, Wu revealed she had taken a photo with the Queen of Caldecott Hill herself.

"I got to see Zoe Tay and Fann Wong. I've always liked them, so I was very happy," she said. " I even took a photo with Zoe just now,"

Unlike the feisty palace maid she plays in the drama, Wu - dressed in a beige floor-length gown - spoke in soft tones and is "gentler" than Wei by her own admission.

Even if people know Wei Yingluo more than me, I'm still happy because it's a role I played. I think I need to work harder to show people different sides of myself through my acting.

CHINESE ACTRESS WU JINYAN on being associated with her lead character in Story Of Yanxi Palace

When asked about the performance of her recent drama, The Legend Of Haolan, she said candidly: "I expected that it wouldn't do as well as Yanxi because Yanxi is just so immensely popular. So I was not disappointed with it."

While she has made her mark with period dramas, she said filming can be tough.

"It's too warm. When we filmed Yanxi, it was high summer and we had to be in the period costumes."

She explained that the typical costume has at least four layers.

She added: "I'm the kind who likes to mix it up. After a period drama, I'll want to do a modern-day one and vice versa."

She is set to appear in a modern-day workplace drama, where she plays a rookie trying to navigate her way in a major cosmetics company.

But her most recent activities have less to do with acting.

She said: "I've mostly been filming my first reality show. It's very young and vibrant."

She was referring to a travel-based reality show she is set to appear on with Chinese stars such as Wang Kai of Nirvana In Fire (2015) fame.

Despite her varied activities in entertainment, many fans still identify her as Wei.

"I'm quite used to it already," she said. "Even if people know Wei Yingluo more than me, I'm still happy because it's a role I played. I think I need to work harder to show people different sides of myself through my acting. "

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2019, with the headline 'Story Of Yanxi Palace idol 'always liked Zoe and Fann''. Print Edition | Subscribe