Queen of the small screen — at just 22

China Daily (Canada) - - PEOPLE -

cheny­ingqun@chi­nadaily. com.cn

Sit­ting at a com­puter, turn­ing on the cam­era and click­ing on the mi­cro­phone, Xia Keke, 22, smiles, chats, sings and some­times stands up and dances in­side a pink room filled with dolls.

Flow­ers, stick­ers and other vir­tual gifts con­stantly ap­pear on her com­puter screen.

Twice a day, about two to three hours at a time, she com­mu­ni­cates with her fans this way.

“The key to be­ing a host is to innovate, other­wise fans will leave you. And the most dif­fi­cult time is when you reach a bot­tle­neck and you do not know how to im­prove your­self,” said Xia, a pre­sen­ter on the live we­b­caster YY.com.

Xia joined YY.com in June 2014. Her V-shaped face, sexy fig­ure and funny, bold and straight­for­ward per­son­al­ity helped at­tract fol­low­ers, who now num­ber more than 6 mil­lion, and helped her earn more than 5 mil­lion yuan ($767,000) last year.

Born into a white-col­lar fam­ily in Ji­nan, Shan­dong prov­ince, her mother is a judge and her fa­ther is an en­gi­neer. Xia said she be­gan learn­ing to sing and dance when she was a child.

“But when I told my par­ents I wanted to be a movie star when I was in mid­dle school, they re­fused and wanted me to do some or­di­nary job,” she said.

Af­ter high school she be­came a flight at­ten­dant, but her hobby of play­ing on­line games made her want to do live broad­casts of such games, and she be­came an en­ter­tain­ment host in­stead.

She hit it just right. On­line stream­ing has a very low-en­try thresh­old, as long as you have a com­puter, you can reg­is­ter with a web­site and start broad­cast­ing, and the on­line stream­ing in­dus­try is grow­ing fast.

Yet those fac­tors also have given Xia’s cho­sen ca­reer field some grow­ing pains.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port from iRe­search Con­sult­ing Group of Bei­jing, the pub­lic is likely to con­nect live broad­cast­ing with pornog­ra­phy, and on­line stream­ing scan­dals are fre­quent.

The re­port said that about 77 per­cent of China’s ne­ti­zens think on­line live stream­ing plat­forms have vul­gar con­tent.

But Xia does not see way.

“Some peo­ple do not re­spect live broad­cast hosts, think­ing we do not have much tal­ent. Some in the au­di­ence also say some ugly words to us. But for me, it is per­form­ing my tal­ent for oth­ers, just re­al­iz­ing my dream to be a star. My par­ents also watch my live broad­casts and give me some ad­vice.”

Xia said that she likes to project her own per­son­al­ity on live broad­casts, and she also makes fun of her­self and cracks jokes, to get closer to her au­di­ence.

“My style of live stream­ing is joy­ous, be­cause I think the au­di­ence comes seek­ing hap­pi­ness and to get rid of fa­tigue and the un­happy things in daily life,” she said.

Although many peo­ple think the ca­reer of a live on­line broad­cast host must be very short, she dis­agrees and has just signed a four-year con­tract, she said.

“There are many hosts on YY.com who are mar­ried, and some have even done broad­casts with their ba­bies. So the length of this ca­reer de­pends only on your ef­forts to im­prove and your pop­u­lar­ity with the au­di­ence.”

She said the key is to un­der­stand what the fans like, and stick to that. So in her spare time she trains in singing and danc­ing, and pre­pares new styles of cos­play wear­ing cos­tumes to rep­re­sent char­ac­ters or checks out on­line games to play with her fol­low­ers.

Xia re­cently had to have surgery to treat a vo­cal cord tu­mor, and had to stop broad­cast­ing for more than a month. While un­able to talk to fans much, she recorded short videos to say hello to her fans on her mo­bile phone.

“It seems that this year, the num­ber of hosts has at least dou­bled. The com­pe­ti­tion will be fierce, and I will need to make more ef­fort to im­prove my­self,” she said.

To im­prove her ca­reer prospects, Xia signed with an agency late last year. For ev­ery 100 yuan she makes, the web­site takes 40 yuan and the agent gets 20 yuan. But she thinks it is im­por­tant to have a sup­port team to help keep her ca­reer go­ing for the long term.

She said she wants to try act­ing in movie and TV. This year the agency she signed plans to pro­duce an on­line tele­vi­sion pro­gram, and she ex­pects to have a role in it. it that

PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Xia Keke, who has more than 6 mil­lion fans on­line, earned more than 5 mil­lion yuan last year.

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