A Chinese social media heartthrob from New Zealand
Like many other 18-year-olds, Edison Fan was unsure about what he wanted to do in life, so he simply decided to go with his parents’ suggestion of furthering his studies in New Zealand.
Fan said that he had always been interested in the creative arts, something that stemmed from his days in primary school when he discovered he enjoyed learning traditional Chinese painting and ballet. However, he conceded that his parents, both of whom are doctors, preferred that he studied science.
As it turned out, the decision to study abroad was a somewhat fortuitous one, because it was there that he discovered how much he enjoyed being on social media. Fan had started using Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, since early 2011.
“Vanity was the initial motivation for me to post selfies online,” admitted the boyishly good-looking 30-year-old.
In just half a year, Fan managed to draw 30,000 followers despite living in a different country from most of them. When the follower numbers on his microblog hit 500,000, Fan decided it was time to pursue his real dream of being in the creative industry.
In October 2014, he was contacted about starring as one of the fashion judges in an Internet program that was a Chinese version of the popular television series Model.
This opportunity led Fan to make the decision to move back to Beijing in March 2015 and through the same Internet programming platform iQiyi, he was selected to be a debater for a popular Chinese program called You Can You Bibi. This opportunity earned him another 300,000 followers within a month.
To date, there are more than 850,000 followers on Fan’s Weibo account and more than 230,000 followers on his Instagram. He said that he gets about 600 comments for every post on his microblog and each picture he posts on Instagram garners between 5,000 and 10,000 likes. His WeChat updates are read by an average of 40,000 people.
Instead of just posting selfies, Fan tries to come up with new ideas for his posts to retain and attract followers. Some of his recent attempts include showcasing his spoken English and retouching photos.
Last September, Fan was signed by an artiste management agency and was given the opportunity to act in web dramas and movies. Although there is still a long way to go for Fan to become an A-lister, he said he is ready to take on the new challenges ahead.
“Of course I want to be a super star, but a more realistic dream of mine is to be a daddy, living in a house with my baby in New Zealand, and having enough to make this possible to sustain,” he said.
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