Chinese YouTube celebrity Li Ziqi was recently crowned by Guinness World Records for having the “most subscribers for a Chinese language channel on YouTube”, with some 14.2 million followers at the time of writing. The 30-year-old’s quietly thoughtful videos of rural Chinese life provide a tranquil escape from the slick, fast-paced quality of other YouTube videos, and dispense gentle lessons through honest country living. While other ultra-competitive vloggers might hawk consumerism and inflated lifestyles , Li’s videos in contrast spark simple joy with their focus on hand-crafting – whether Li is creating an elaborate Chinese pastry made with magnolia flowers from her backyard, or an entire set of furniture assembled from bamboo collected from a nearby forest. Li has been praised for transcending language and culture, as well as inspiring millions worldwide as an icon of seclusion and self-sufficiency – even before quarantine was a thing. Here are five things you might not know about the famous Chinese influencer. The real Uncle Roger: 6 things to know about comedian Nigel Ng She was born in a far-flung village Born in Mianyang, the second largest prefecture-level city of Sichuan province, Li Ziqi’s real name is actually Li Jiajia. After her parents separated, she lived with her father, who passed away when she was just six years old. Her grandparents decided to take care of her after discovering that her stepmother mistreated her. Under her grandparents’ care in the countryside, Li grew up making bamboo crafts and cooking authentic Chinese meals. Li’s grandfather passed away when she was in fifth grade, leaving her grandmother as her sole guardian. When Li turned 14 years old in 2004, she dropped out of school to travel to the city in search of work. She used to be a DJ Li spent eight difficult years in the city, earning just 300 yuan (US$47) a month as a waitress, among other professions. To send more money to her grandmother, she learned how to perform as a DJ in a bar. But in 2012, her grandmother fell ill, so Li moved back to the countryside, opening an online apparel shop on Taobao. Who are YouTube’s top 10 highest-paid stars? She filmed her first videos with her phone Li first got the idea to produce videos from her older brother, who would post guitar videos on the social media platform Meipai, which is similar to Instagram. At first, she worked with rudimentary tools – her mobile phone and a basic video editing app – before investing in a tripod camera. Now, she even has the help of a videographer and assistant, although she still directs her videos herself. She also experimented with different subjects before settling on depicting the daily lives of herself and her grandmother – which often involves cooking – in 2016. Although her video production quality might not have been so professional at first, the unique content of her videos attracted a steady following. She faced controversy over food culture Li was recently caught in a crossfire between Korean and Chinese netizens over the origin of kimchi . On January 9, 2021, she posted a video in which she prepared some pickled vegetables, tagging it with #ChineseCuisine and #ChineseFood – but some netizens recognised the dish as kimchi, and criticised Li for apparently claiming that kimchi did not, in fact, originate from Korea. But Li was involved in other food battles before that, too. One of her earlier videos, “Authentic Lanzhou Beef Noodles”, marked the beginning of her success, clocking almost 19 million views since it was published in September 2017. However, increased attention resulted in greater scrutiny and netizens began to speculate on the authenticity of her content, particularly her claims of solo production efforts. Li ultimately dismissed the rumours and released a series of outtake videos to prove that she did, in fact, film all her earlier videos herself. Sasha Obama the TikTok sensation She’s an enthusiastic philanthropist Li has also been recognised for her philanthropic efforts in recent years. Besides donating her personal items for fundraising purposes to the annual Bazaar Stars’ Charity Night in 2017, she also passionately supports rural Chinese communities. She has partnered with Sina Yangfan Charity Fund to donate books and computers to underprivileged students, and has promoted local, village-grown fruits in her widely-viewed videos. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .