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Thu, Dec 22, 2011
The New Paper
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Viann Zhang - Her short cut to fame?
by Tan Kee Yun

WANT a fast track to showbiz fame in Hong Kong?

As a string of small-time models have shown, just make sure you find yourself a dashing, popular Hong Kong boyfriend and have racy photos splashed in magazines and on social media platforms.

The latest cam-whoring starlet is voluptuous Chinese model-actress Viann Zhang Xinyu, who is better known as TVB actor Ron Ng's girlfriend.

She is the latest in a line of starlet wannabes who have latched on to the huge fan following of their famous boyfriends to gain prominence.

You might not remember the 24-year-old Jiangsu native for any of her film projects, but you would most likely have read about her in the gossip pages of showbiz rags.

Her express ticket to tabloid stardom: A picture of herself in bed, which she posted on Ng's Sina Weibo microblog early this month.

It proved to be an instant win for Zhang, who boasts an enviable 36F cup bra size.

She is, of course, not the first to enjoy such overnight notoriety.

Before her, there was the buxom, small-time Chinese model Mavis Pan Shuangshuang, 24, who became a household name after bedroom photos of her and her ex-flame, TVB leading man Raymond Lam, made their way to the blogosphere in April.

Pan became such a talking point that director Christopher Sun - who helmed the erotic flick 3D Sex And Zen: Extreme Ecstasy - even thought of casting her in the film's sequel.

Then, it was nubile 16-year-old Hong Kong student- model Cammi Tse's turn to raise eyebrows.

Last month, salacious pictures of her and a bare-bodied Edison Chen smooching were leaked online, creating another round of Chen-centric ruckus.

While the hype surrounding Tse and Pan has died down somewhat, Zhang has moved in to bask in the limelight.

The busty showbiz newbie has scored only small roles in movies this year. They include romantic comedy If You Are The One 2 (2011) and wuxia flick Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate, which opens here on Dec 29.

But she beats veteran actresses hands-down when it comes to the number of appearances in the media. She claimed the Weibo incident was an "honest mistake" - she was so tired, she mistakenly used Ng's account instead of her own.

But many of his fans are not convinced and believe it was a blatant stunt by Zhang to boost her profile.

Until then, Ng had been keeping their romance under wraps, but after that, he was forced to admit to reporters that he was dating Zhang.

When he was asked later if they are still together, he clammed up.


Zhang, who is working on actor-director Eric Tsang's Chinese New Year ensemble comedy, I Love Hong Kong 2012, appears to be enjoying her newfound infamy.

Days after the hoo-ha over Ng and her, risque photos of Zhang in bed with an ex-boyfriend surfaced.

Zhang swiftly confessed to being the woman in the pictures and claimed she was a victim of sabotage.

Earlier this week, she gave Hong Kong reporters a rundown of what she liked about Ng -"he's suave, filial, a very good friend (to others)".

She then let slip that they have been dating for more than a year.

When asked if she has met Ng's parents, she smiled coyly.

There is talk that Zhang has had cosmetic surgery and that she earned an unsavoury reputation while in an arts college because she was flirtatious.

One news report even claimed that she was once married and that, after her divorce, she dated a movie director so that she could snag acting roles.

She has dismissed the marriage gossip as "ridiculous". Zhang has also brushed aside comparisons between her and fellow Chinese model-actress Pan.

"We aren't close at all, let alone friends," she told the Hong Kong media curtly.

One thing's for sure: Her star is on the rise. She has four films lined up for release next year as well as a pictorial book and a music single. Do Singapore models suffer similar backlash when they date celebrities?

The New Paper New Face 2011 finalist Jayley Woo, 19, admitted that she received "negative comments" on Twitter and social Q&A site Formspring after she and rising star Edwin Goh went public with their romance in October.

Edwin, 17, shot to fame in Channel 5 drama Fighting Spiders and Channel 8's crime series On The Fringe.

But Woo takes the snide remarks in her stride.

"Most people who make such comments don't know me personally. Nor do they know Edwin.

"So long as Edwin and I know the truth, it really doesn't matter what other people say."

Her long-term aim is to be recognised as an "independent" artist and not simply as Edwin's girlfriend.

"I'm really lucky to be where I am today... I have some supporters," she said.

She said isn't worried about saucy photos leaking on the Internet as the couple "don't take intimate photos". "The shots we take are usually casual, funny ones," she said.

TNP could not reach celebrity blogger, model and part-time actress Melissa Faith Yeo, 25. She is better known as MediaCorp artist Andie Chen's girlfriend.

But Chen, 26, spoke to TNP. He said they had quietly split up in September.

"When we were together, I don't remember coming across any negative remarks about her," he said.

"But to be fair, I'm not very famous. Plus I've always been a rather unconventional celebrity... If I were (popular MediaCorp actor) Elvin (Ng), there might have been more chatter behind our backs."

Does he feel worried that his ex might use this opportunity to release intimate photographs of them?

Not at all, he replied.

He said he and Yeo had an "agreement" that they "wouldn't post lovey-dovey couple pictures" on social networking sites.

"Our split was amicable and I trust her. In fact, I still care for her," he added.

"We are still friends and both of us are old enough to talk things out if there are any issues."

This article was first published in The New Paper.


readers' comments
Well, the guys did enjoyed their companies right? So?
Posted by mystrawberry on Thu, 22 Dec 2011 at 15:36 PM

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