The secret is out and her fifteen minutes are up: yesterday, Global Voices and ESWN reported that Wang Zifei (王紫菲), more commonly known as the ‘Obama girl’ who sat behind the US President when he delivered his speech at Shanghai’s town hall, was in fact the subject of an online hoax. The story behind her overnight transition to celebrity status: her boyfriend had actually paid 100,000RMB to hire a Beijing Internet promotional strategy company to take advantage of Obama’s speech and create what became the ‘Obama girl.’
Who is (or was) the ‘Obama girl’, anyway? Wang Zifei was a business student from Jiaotong University who rose to prominence once she was filmed during Obama’s speech last month, earth-shatteringly removing her bright red jacket to reveal a stylish black number. Animated pictures of her doing so circulated online, and it didn’t take long for Chinese forums to jump on to the attentive camera angles and claim Wang was using them to hype up her own status.
But, the lady doth protest:
I never wanted to go into entertainment circle, therefore I rejected many TV stations’ offers and contracts. I feel business management is a long term path for me, therefore I study hard, my gaokao (college entrance exam) was the normal exam, not the kind for entertainers.
This didn’t stop two suspicious Internet strategists following through with their own concerns. As one of them speculated
how could a professional photographer take the time out to film a girl taking off her coat while Obama is delivering his speech? The photos appeared immediately on the Internet the next day. This was the ‘triggering point’ for the entire promotional campaign.
The same strategist also claimed another organisation contributed an additional 100,000RMB to the campaign, with the promotional team receiving 200,000RMB to help steer the sensational ship Wang Zifei was aboard.
But what now for the ‘Obama girl’? As she said so herself,
entertainment news is like drinking tea, first time is like washing tea leafs, no one really cares. Maybe 2nd or 3rd time it will have the sweet taste, but in the end it gets weaker and weaker.
We suppose this means that we could start calling her washed up.