Billboard beauty Gong Li sets out to conquer China
Ong Chin Huat
Gong Li's latest role is literally larger than life. She is appearing on the biggest billboard in China - a 600-square-metre sign on the Bund in Shanghai for the cosmetics brand L'Oreal.
As the beauty ambassador for the brand, her image is now on every L'Oreal counter across China. Similar billboards are planned for Beijing, Chengdu and Chongqing.
Not that such exposure comes as a surprise to Gong Li. Voted one of the world's most beautiful people by People magazine in 1992, she is also the first Chinese actress to appear on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazines.
She says she keeps her complexion flawless by 'doing sports, having good sleep and using very good cosmetic products'. She recently added to her collection of acting awards when she was presented with France's highest arts award, the Officier des Arts et des Lettres. A celebratory dinner was held at the China Club in her honour - with the likes of French Consul-General Thierry Dana, T. T. Tsui, David Tang, Charles Wang, David Hong and of course her husband, Ooi Wei Ming, attending.
She has just completed the film Assassin, her third collaboration with director Chen Kaige. She plays a concubine of Emperor Qinshihuang who falls in love with killer Zhang Fengyi. What about offers from Hollywood? 'Yes I do receive offers from Hollywood, but they are not really ideal. If there is a suitable offer I would accept it,' she says.
Despite her hectic schedule - she is currently planning another movie - Gong Li says she would like to have children.