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China Doll Ai Wan (1)
    2007-06-18 15:24:57     CRIENGLISH.com


This is downtown Beijing, Sanlitun Bar street, one of the busiest areas when night falls.

More and more people gather in China Doll, a uniquely designed club, featuring an individual style and artistic music. Some models dressed like Barbie Dolls are at the entrance, handling glow sticks to customers.

Then a beautiful woman shows up. She is busy saying hi to everyone. It seems people know her quite well.

She is Ai Wan, the owner of China Doll, a charming, confident and extraordinary woman.

The former Miss Chinese International U.S.A. winner, has also done 15 movies, a bunch of TV work and hundreds of commercials. In 2006, she was heralded as '"the new rising creative class of Beijing", by innovative Outlook Magazine in China. She's also well known for her insightful and progressive column in the magazine Modern Weekly.

Her book "The Madness of Appetite" stayed on the top of China's best sellers list from 2005 to 2006.

Ai Wan is multi-faceted. Angie Zou who works for Ai Wan recalls the first time she saw her.

"I've been working with her for six months. She is actually quite an extrovert. The first day I saw her, I felt her sharpness. Then when we got more acquainted, I saw her tenderness. The more time you spend with her, the more you know her, the more facets you will discover about her. She will be more solid as a woman."

Ai Wan is an actress, a screen-writer, a film producer, a designer and a club owner. On top of many other outstanding achievements, it would be a hard task to pinpoint what she can do best. But one thing is for sureshe is an artist in the true sense, an artist so creative and so free that she can transcend any medium.

Ai Wan was born in Shanghai. Her father is a classical music composer. Ai Wan's mother eloped with her lover because Ai Wan's grandmother disagreed with the marriage. The romantic couple started their life in a piano room. Ai Wan thinks she inherited her free spirit from her parents.

"They have different passions. My dad's passion is always his music. My mom is a very free-spirited person. She just loves life and likes to always be very daring. She's very progressive to experience life and passion. Actually she has been divorced and re-married four times. She's definitely a champion when it comes to experiencing the passions of life."

However, the glamorous couple divorced when Ai Wan was only one year old.

She hence grew up with her grandparents. As to the lack of company from her parents, Ai Wan seems to have handled it quite well.

"If you never tried it before, you don't know what you are missing, just like if you never had ice cream before, so you don't know what ice cream tastes like."
More than that, Ai Wan did get a lot of good things out of it: she learned how to be independent, to make her own decisions, to listen to her inner voice and to follow her intuition.

A teenage Ai Wan loved writing and Chinese literature. She dreamed of becoming a newscaster in the future.

However, in 1987, she moved to America to live with her Aunt. She had to replan her future. It was quite theatrical that she turned out to be a beauty queen in the U.S.
With her innate glamour carried with her, she was discovered by a beauty scout.

"One day when I was 18, somebody walked up to me and said "Hi, do you want to attend a Miss Pola Beauty Contest. Pola is a cosmetics brand in Japan. It's very famous. They are looking for cover girls. I said 'ok'. So they sponsored me and I won the contest. That was my first beauty contest experience."

Soon after, she became Miss China Town, Los Angeles and Miss Chinese International U.S.A.

"I never thought I wanted to be a beauty queen. But somehow it just happened."

Ai Wan loves theatrical things. Her life is similarly one. After winning several beauty contests, she was approached by an agent and thus started her acting career in Hollywood.

Just how did her career go in the US? Why did she give up her career in America and start anew in China? And how did she end up opening a club instead of continuing with acting? We'll find out more next time.



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