From Actress to Ambassador
42-year-old Zhou Xun was born in Quzhou, Zhejiang province and graduated from the Zhejiang Arts Institute. She made her screen debut in the 1991 film Strange Tales Amongst Old and Desolate Tombs while still a teenager. However it was not until 2000 when Zhou Xun starred in Lou Ye’s neo-noir love story Suzhou River that she gained international recognition, winning Best Actress at the 15th Festival du Film de Paris. She was designated one of the "Four Dan Actresses" alongside Zhang Ziyi, Zhao Wei and Xu Jinglei. The "Four Dan" is a Chinese term that refers to the bankable star quality of the actresses – all are famous and charismatic enough to guarantee box-office success.
From 2006 to 2009 Zhou Xun was the only actor to receive the full suite of Asian film honours, scoring best actress at the Golden Horse Awards, Hong Kong Film Awards, Hundred Flowers Awards and Asian Film Awards.
In 2008 Zhou Xun was named as the united Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador for China. In 2010 Zhou Xun was the laureate of the united Nations Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth award in recognition of her contributions to promoting environmental protection and sustainable living. She was the first entertainer in the world to receive this honour and only the second Chinese prize-winner.
Since 2010 Zhou Xun started working with a number of international brands and labels, including as an ambassador for GAP, Shiseido, Chanel, Infiniti cars, H&M and IWC watches.