Li Bingbing is one of China's top actresses. Her special charm comes not only from her beauty and glamour but also from the modesty and sincerity revealed by her speech and manner. Her performance in the role of a kindhearted policewoman in the movie Back Home for the New Year, directed by Zhang Yuan, is widely considered her best. Although hampered by a policewoman's heavy winter uniform all through the movie, Li turned in a stunningly vivid performance.
Another famous character of Li's is the smart, lovely little ghost she played in a television series. Thanks to Li's superb performance, the little ghost, versed in both literature and martial arts, came alive and enjoyed great popularity among viewers.
Li Bingbing did not start out as an actress. She studied at a high school for prospective elementary-school teachers, where she studied dance, accordion, and zheng, a Chinese zither with 25 strings. All through the three years at the high school, Li was among the top five students in academic performance. After graduation, she taught at a primary school, but gradually, she found it hard to tolerate the loneliness during the summer and winter holidays.
A friend who knew about her fondness for art, suggested that she take the entrance examination for the Shanghai Drama Institute. At the time, Li's family had just spent a large sum on medical expenses for her father, and Li decided to give up the idea so as not to increase the burden on her family. But her father encouraged her and eased her worries about finance. In 1993, Li entered the Shanghai Drama Institute.
Li had her acting debut in a television serial when she was a sophomore. She played a role that required a wide variety emotions and a long span of age, from 15 to 30. With the help of the experienced actors and actresses of the cast, she turned in a successful performance.
Since then, Li has acted in many films and television plays. The more the roles, she says, the more the opportunity for practice and the greater the progress. She doesn't care whether the role is major or minor. What counts for her is the personality of the character.
Li keeps a diary in spite of a tight work schedule. In her leisure time, she stays at home, tidying up her room and reading books. During her breaks from acting, she rarely puts on makeup and never goes to beauty parlors. Beauty, she says, stems from a good mood.
(China Pictorial February 26, 2002)