Following her insanely adorable reaction to her incredible performance in the women’s 100-meter backstroke, Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui has endeared herself to not only China, but the entire world, becoming the shining and genuine star of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Since her breakout interview, Fu’s fame has exploded online. She has gone from 100,000 followers on Weibo to 5 million in less than a week. On Wednesday, the adorable Olympian chatted with 10 million of new fans on an hour live stream.
According to Sina, Fu began live-streaming at 8 p.m. Beijing time. After the first 30 minutes, 8 million people were watching her, that number grew to 10.5 million by the end. In that hour, Fu received virtual gifts from her adoring fans worth 100,000 yuan, even as Fu begged them dozens of times to stop giving their money away because it made her feel guilty.
During the live stream, Fu showed off the bubbling personality and endearing candor that has made her such a refreshing star in China, chowing down on some cupcakes and even burping like no one was watching her.
A newbie to the world of live streaming, Fu apparently was a bit lost at the beginning and didn’t know what to say. Thankfully, a female reporter joined the stream and interviewed Fu. Here are some highlights:
Reporter: “What do you think about being famous for your funny facial expressions?”
Fu: “That was an accident, I did them unconsciously. I never thought that people would actually like my reactions.”
Reporter: “So can you show your fans another one of your famous expressions?”
Fu: “Hmmm… I can’t. If I did it would definitely be fake. [Fu winks and smiles]. Just like right now.”
Reporter: “A lot of netizens want to know if you have anyone in mind.”
Fu: “Nope, not really at the moment.”
Reporter: “You mentioned that your ‘national lover’ Ning Zetao is not your cup of tea, is that true?”
Fu: “Well, I didn’t mean that I don’t like him, it’s just because he is so popular that I don’t have a chance with him.”
Reporter: “Can you describe the image of your ideal Mr. Right then?”
Fu: “Hard to say, I’ve never fallen in love before.”
Reporter: “Sun Yang and Ning Zetao, who is more gentle?”
Fu: “I guess Ning Zetao? Because Yang is really outgoing. Ning is more easy-going.”
Reporter: “Why did you say that ‘I have used all my prehistoric powers to swin?'”
Fu: “That saying comes from a novel I read, I just wanted to say that I tried my best.”
Reporter: “What do you think about Mack Horton calling Sun Yang a ‘drug cheat?'”
Fu: “I was very angry to hear that. Sun is a hard-working swimmer, Horton shouldn’t have said that.”
Reporter: “How does it feel to hug Sun Yang?”
Fu: “It feels good, but it’s weird to touch his muscles. LOL.”
It didn’t seem like Fu enjoyed the live stream all that much and was relieved when it finished one hour later. She also brought up several times the fact that the stream was sponsored by ingkee.com and was scheduled several months in advance of the Olympics; it wasn’t held to capitalize on her overnight fame and she had no interest in showing off and becoming a webstar.
You can check out the full live stream below:
Or here for those without VPNs:
Before the live stream, Fu actually implied on Weibo that she didn’t really want to be “commercialized,” but the national team had arranged it for her. Netizens have replied that this kind of frankness and sincerity is why they like Fu so much.
So, what does the future hold for Fu Yuanhui, will she become a reluctant superstar or will she shrink into obscurity to eat more cupcakes?
— Shanghaiist.com (@shanghaiist) August 9, 2016
We’re rooting for her either way.
By Sophie Wang
[Images via Sina News]