Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China

Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China

Rachel DeWoskin

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0393328597

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“For a real insider’s look at life in modern China, readers should turn to Rachel DeWoskin.”―Sophie Beach, The Economist

Determined to broaden her cultural horizons and live a “fiery” life, twenty-one-year-old Rachel DeWoskin hops on a plane to Beijing to work for an American PR firm based in the busy capital. Before she knows it, she is not just exploring Chinese culture but also creating it as the sexy, aggressive, fearless Jiexi, the starring femme fatale in a wildly successful Chinese soap opera. Experiencing the cultural clashes in real life while performing a fictional version onscreen, DeWoskin forms a group of friends with whom she witnesses the vast changes sweeping through China as the country pursues the new maxim, “to get rich is glorious.” In only a few years, China’s capital is transformed. With “considerable cultural and linguistic resources” (The New Yorker), DeWoskin captures Beijing at this pivotal juncture in her “intelligent, funny memoir” (People), and “readers will feel lucky to have sharp-eyed, yet sisterly, DeWoskin sitting in the driver’s seat”(Elle).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pants and dropped them to the floor. He, too, wore bikini briefs. I wondered whether they sold boxers in China. “Xie xie, Yao Daoyan,” I said. Thank you, Director Yao. “Let’s try the scene again.” “No problem,” he said. “I can understand this request. Now we are dou yiyang.” All the same. I waited until he said, “Action,” and then tried to redeem myself by grabbing Wang Ling and clawing his back with enthusiasm. The director of photography whispered to the assistant director: “You see what I

concession, really, since when we watched the show there was a scene mysteriously close to the one they had promised to cut. Yet neither Sophie nor I was in it, and the actors who were burning “used” clothes did not mention the origin or infection of the clothes. After they sleep together, Tianming tells Jiexi, “I want your opinion on something.” His face is a map of worry. “My opinion? Is it important to you?” “Yes, of course it’s important. If I get divorced, will you marry me?” She stares

struggling to get rich. Their families were farmers from rural Chongqing. And the two of them were painters, living a wildly unorthodox life they could never have pulled off before China opened up. Neither Zhou Wen nor Zheng Yi had received formal training; both were self-taught and proud of it. In the early 1980s they had formed the Chinese Anonymous Painters Association in their hometown of Chongqing and held an exhibition of their paintings. Afterward, they moved to Beijing, the center of

acknowledging the ludicrousness of the show. Cat-walking in hot pants, I might have been a deer, slamming toward the headlights. I grinned nervously. None of the other models moved her face at all on the runway. Chinese models bring out the opposite side of Chinese performance from the “hot emotion” of television actors. The cold modeling drama played like a parody. The components of the show were Chinese: the makeup echoed that of Peking Opera, the clothes were “traditional,” the hairstyles

I’ve ever been. When Kate came over, she was crying. “I’m furious,” she said. I pulled her into the apartment, where she slumped onto the couch. Her posture reminded me of the night Shi Wei had died; the couch behind her reminded me of the way he had looked the day he told me he wanted to write a book. “Are you okay? Why are you so unhappy?” “Guess who I just ran into at the protests? Zhou Wen and Cui Jian and his whole band. All my friends. I can’t believe it.” Cui Jian had remained her

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