Perfection in Motion: How I Fell in Love with China’s Super Girl

It was a story that if an aspiring Hollywood screenwriter had brought it to a major studio it would have been rejected in no time. Some hard-nosed, cynical producer would probably have read over it and handed it back saying, “That’s a nice fairytale kid, but we stopped making these kind of ‘sweet, innocent girl from nowhere becomes rich and famous, happy-ending’ movies about 50 years ago. They don’t happen in real life — everybody knows that. Why don’t you try this on the people over at Disney?

Nevertheless, here I was sitting at the table with this phenomenon that is not supposed to exist – someone who literally is the definition of an overnight sensation. I marveled at her understated and unassuming demeanor, her natural and completely unmanufactured beauty, and endlessly charming shyness.

When performing her style of dress changes from one situation to another — and many of her outfits show the limitless and unique sense of creativity that is seen in all of her performances. However, on this day we were having lunch in a nice, quiet place with no fans or paparazzi about, so she was the picture of how to spend a casual afternoon.

She was wearing one of her usual simple, but artistic, t-shirts, blue sporty pants, white tennis shoes and a pair of her signature glasses. The glasses are so much a part of her image that during part of her concert [1] she is lowered onto the stage while sitting inside a huge set of eyeglass frames that might have come from the set of the late 1960s TV series, Land of the Giants.

The only hint of any celebrity-like trappings is a small, 18kt white gold turnscrew-style LOVE pendant made by Cartier around her neck that she almost never goes anywhere without . It looks almost like a spent shell casing from the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun, but has special meaning for her. The Cartier website says the pendant is a “provocative talisman, a rallying cry for modern love, totally free from convention.

A “rallying cry for love” is probably the best description of the effect she has on her fans and admirers. This army of her followers, called Biqin (笔亲) — roughly translated to “related through Bi(Bi),” — exhibit a beyond-manic affection for both her and her music, yet this love is kind, gentle and worshipful.

It is not manifested in wild, uncontrolled screaming at the volume of a jet engine like that seen during the concerts of the Beatles, which is about the only group ever that has spawned fandom on a scale anywhere close to hers. Many times when I speak with the fans I am told “we are all family – those of us who love her,” and I humbly count myself among them.

15 Responses

  1. ghost says:

    One learns something new everyday. That was a very moving letter – video clip too, thank you for sharing that.

  2. Mia says:

    I just bought her album Black. Choice White from yesasia.com ! Great Voice~! Thank you for sharing videos, Mr. Johnson~!

  3. sarahxu says:

    BiBi is so charming ,i love her beautiful voice and natural.
    New album is so good, sharing with you

  4. Julyssa says:

    Reuben! What a lovely article! Such a pleasure of having you post it via us. Really touching!

  5. xiao says:

    I have some problems to read English,but I know you are one of our family Biqin. BiBi is worthy loved forever!!!her new record 【黑择明】which means Selecting light in the dark has been published.

  6. xiao says:

    bibi Chou is an angel ! I love her

  7. Flora says:

    Bibi is really great, thank you for sharing your story with us and wish you all the best~

  8. Mandy Jean says:

    If there is one thing I must do before my time on this earth ends, it is to see Bibi perform. She never fails to move me to tears, and it is only the work of a true artist that can stir such emotions within a person, especially when they do not speak a mutual language. Only a small handful of artists have done this to me, and Bibi is the number-one “perpetrator.”

    I am honored to be a part of this family of Biqin.

    • amy says:

      @Mandy Jean, how do you find the non-Chinese speaking Bibi community?

      • Mandy Jean says:

        @amy, I believe I found the English-speaking community – or at least some members of it – by doing some research on Zero Chou’s films ‘Spider Lilies’ and ‘Drifting Flowers.’ I had seen both films and was reading an article that described the two as being part of a series in which, sometime in the near-future, Zero Chou said she would like to add a third installment.

        Upon further research, I came across a thread in the AfterEllen community discussing Asian entertainment in general, and among the list of artists whose names I recognized, I found Bibi’s name. It took all of two seconds to look up her music videos on YouTube.

        Since then, I really haven’t found other fans. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve ever found any of Bibi’s English-speaking fans. I’ve just been recommending her music to people I know would appreciate it.

        • Julyssa says:

          @Mandy Jean, Yay! Another English-speaking fan! Welcome to our small yet passionate group!

        • amy says:

          @Mandy Jean, Zero Chou? We got the three of her films in the database xD Splendid Float (I think it was called, the first one in her 7 color series), Spider Lilies and Drifting Flowers. xD Flowers is actually her third installment (Float is yellow, Spider is green and Flowers is red), but I heard the idea is to make that a series and complete the color of the rainbow.

          Though… I read she’s making another film with some idols, I can’t remember haha – something to do with pirates or something?

          Anyway, stick around to talk about Bibi and other LGBT-related things. LOL

  9. Mandy Jean says:

    @Julyssa, Thanks for the warm welcome!

    @amy, As you can see, it’s been a long time since I did that kind of research, but now that you mention it, I think I DID hear something to that effect. But pirates? Wow, haha.

    And oh, if you haven’t noticed, I’m very splendiferously gay. ;)

    • amy says:

      @Mandy Jean, I found the post:
      “Hua Yang’s time of story is set on ancient, which is rare in TW movies in the recent years.

      After 8 years, Jerry Yan Cheng Xu will once again film a movie, playing a chivalrous pirate. In the movie, there will be a lot of action scenes.”
      Source.

      And… I don’t know if you can tell by some of our writers posts, but our writers are not fully 100% straight either LOL, and if they are- the YAM Magazine family is super gay-friendly. And we cover a lot of Asian media too.

      Anyway, these comments have gotten out of control.

      we all just love Bibi.

  10. Angel says:

    Wow! Nice to see this post… A very touching story! the most fabulous story in English I have ever seen.
    I used to think that I could use English to write a story about Bibi.
    But it is still a problem for me as English as Second Language.
    I can read and understand it. But I think I will never write like this.
    There are many more little stories between Biqin and Bi.
    I hope I can learn much more English writing skills to write about it.

    Thank you for everyone who loves Bibi and her music!

    Happy Chinese New Year! Year of Dragon! Woo…

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