Wu Yifan Interview for TRENDSHEALTH Magazine 2015 November Issue

Born in the earliest year of the post-90s, this November you will already be 25 years old, how does this age feel to you?

A brand new stage of my life has just begun, young people are full of passion and dreams.

At 25 years old do you have any dreams which you may worry that others will say are unrealistic?

At any point in time one must not give up on their dreams and their initial hopes, or there would be no joy in life.

What is your current dream?

To do every task at hand well, have a life philosophy that “Tomorrow must be a step better than today” and think this way every day, and work hard.

People born in the 90s are the generation which has faced the harshest types of criticism all around, for example having labels such as “brainless”, “irresponsible”, “rebellious”, “internet generation”, what do you think of people born in the 90s? What do you think is the most outstanding characteristic post-90s trait that you possess?

As someone born in the 90s, I have to say that the post-90s are a new and brave generation. There’s nothing bad about being mischievous when you’re young, even if you are a little rebellious during the process. But because I’m the first of the 90s, there’s some difference in thinking with others born post-1995. It is understood that youths frequent the internet, the internet has changed the lives of people. There are good and bad points, but the internet just gives people access to information, and all the wrong cannot be entirely blamed on it. Speaking from personal experience, through the internet I can perhaps gain a large amount of followers, but these followers can disappear overnight too, it’s very fair, there will never only be positive things forever, and the negative things will also not be all that there is. The most outstanding post-90s characteristic I have? Dare to do things and bear the responsibility.

What do you have to say to the 30 year old you 5 years from now? What’s your 25th birthday wish?

Don’t forget my initial intentions. Don’t let age be an obstacle for myself to progress, at any time I must have the courage to break through. Don’t be afraid of being older, look forward to and cherish the coming of every part in life. Birthday wish: For family and friends to be happy, hope that everyone will be able to find their dream.

Do your current results meet your expectations? Are there any that are unexpected?

That’s not the case, there are many parts that are actually unexpected, including being an artiste. Entering the entertainment industry could be said to be the most unexpected thing to happen in my life so far, so I particularly hope that I’m able to improve myself even further, present even better works, so as to make all the support [I’ve received] worthwhile.

Do you feel that you’re not satisfied with anything at the moment, or rather, right now which parts are you not satisfied with?

I constantly maintain a contented attitude, which is why right now I’ve benefited a lot from it. If I have to say something I’m not satisfied is, is the lack of quality rest. As an elderly homebody, sleep is one of the few hobbies I have, so I hope that my team will be able to give me a little more sleep time.

Although you’re merely 25 years old, yet you have encountered rich life experiences: Migrating to Vancouver at 10, going back to Guangzhou for third year of middle school at 15, and then returning to Canada to continue schooling, getting a high school education in Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School etc. Why did you suddenly return to China in your third year of middle school? And then return to Canada very soon after?

At that time my mother needed to return to China for work, I was still young and my mother had to work in China for quite a long period of time, and she would definitely not feel at ease leaving me in Canada alone. I returned to Guangzhou for a year and half and fell in love with basketball, which was my first aspiration in my life. By chance I was recruited into a Guangzhou Sports School, and started to play in semi-professional basketball competitions, and once the results were quite good.

So why did you give that up?

The first reason was because later on my mother had to go back to Canada for work, the second reason was because after doing a bone test I found out that I could only grow to 188cm and could not reach 190cm.

Why did you have to reach 190cm?

190cm was something me and my mother had bet on, if the bone test showed that I could grow up to 190cm, my mother would agree to let me stay in Guangzhou to pursue a professional basketball career, if not, I would follow her back to Canada. My mother had her own concerns, the job of a basketballer was very tough, competition season would be even more intense, there was reason behind her concerns. So it was an agreement, and the results showed that my mother won, but in the very end I didn’t grow up to 190cm, not even 188cm, I stopped at 187cm, hahaha.

Are you the type who concedes defeat willingly?

There was more or less some unhappiness, there are moments where one is rebellious in their lifetime, thinking about how much time and effort my mother has invested into taking care of me and letting me have an education overseas, I do not wish to let her down too. At 15 years old I was roughly the same height as I am now, so many years have passed yet I only grew a couple of centimeters, I was a kid who had an early growth spurt. I had thought that I still had several years left and could reach 190cm easily, who knew the final result was like this.

At 10 years old you still didn’t know much, and suddenly had to experience a complete change in lifestyle, during that time what was the most difficult challenge you faced in Canada?

When I was 10 I already had a group of good friends I was able to have fun with in Guangzhou. Leaving was the hardest thing. Language difficulties, along with my extremely introverted personality at that time, made it very hard to make friends in Canada. A lot of people didn’t know that when I was overseas (in Canada) I also kept on transferring schools non-stop, going back and forth roughly four, five different middle schools. In Canada we kept on renting houses, when the rental lease was up we had to move to another house. In Canada, the law was that a student’s school must be within a certain distance from their residence. Therefore every time we changed address, I was unable to continue studying at the previous school, so just as I was getting used to an area I would have to face another change, continuously transferring schools. I also did not like taking the initiative to start conversations with others. I would constantly walk around the school by myself. It was especially pitiful during lunch break as everyone would have their own friends but no one would be willing to eat at the same table with a stranger.

You were (Guangzhou) No. 7 middle school’s basketball captain, and participated in the Chinese Youth NBA tournament which your team won first place in the southern region, so is basketball your favourite hobby?

Yes totally. Right now I’m still continuing, whenever I’m free I’ll meet with friends to have a couple of rounds of 3×3 street basketball matches.

In your opinion, while playing basketball, are there any pointers or safety measures one needs to take heed of?

Before the match you definitely have to do stretches, you have to do stretching exercises which target the specific parts of the body. Once your body is thoroughly warmed up, you will not get injured easily. It is the easiest for basketballers to injure their angles, during the course of the match they have to continuously jump, and when they land it’s very easy to step on someone’s foot. It’s most dangerous for the ankles when the landing is unstable, so ankle warm-ups are the most important exercise which should not be left out.

Have you ever twisted your ankle?

Of course, the most serious time was when I twisted my bone, only after resting for almost a year did the doctor allow me onto the court again. The most important thing in basketball is the basic training, dribbling and shooting require continuous practice over and over again, more than ten thousand times.

Other than basketball do you have any sports hobbies?

Water sports and snowboarding, I’m very happy that Beijing will be hosting the Winter Olympics in the future. When I was young I picked up snowboarding in Canada, it is a very common sport over there. A sport which pretty much everyone does.

<Mr Six>, <Never Gone> and <L.O.R.D> are three of your works to be shown on the silver screen, please tell us what you think of Feng Xiaogang, Li Yifei, Fan Bingbing and Guo Jingming?

Feng Xiaogang: I address Director Feng as Mentor Xiaogang, Mentor Xiaogang really has the aura of a teacher, he really likes giving opportunities to juniors, giving new people many opportunities. At the start I was extremely nervous when shooting scenes with Mentor Xiaogang, and he could see that immediately, as well as Director Guan Hu too, I’d like to thank them for being patient enough with me, I’m a little kid in their eyes.
Li Yifei: We two have many common topics to talk about, and have both grown up overseas, I’ve always felt that we have a never-ending amount of things to talk about. We can also communicate in English, off-camera “Celestial being Jiejie” is actually a very down to earth and silly person.
Fan Bingbing: We have very few shared scenes in <L.O.R.D>, in total [our shared scenes] was finished in about a day or two. When we really got to know each other was during Zhejiang TV’s reality program <Challengers Union> filming. It was actually very fun filming a reality program, Fan Ye (Fan Bingbing) really did not hold back in the program, everyone can look forward to it.
Guo Jingming: Director Guo is very clear on what he wants, during breaks he can be very silly and interesting, but once the cameras are on he immediately becomes very strict. He has two different personalities at work and play. While working he has extremely high expectations, he has a set of standards for the cast and himself, if it’s not good enough he will request for it to be done again, until it is up to his standard, he’s very dedicated.

From these three completely different genres of films, which is the character you portrayed which has the personality the most different from yours?

Every role is very different from me. <Mr Six>’s Xiao Fei is a bad guy who’s rather ruthless; <Never Gone>’s Cheng Zheng has an outgoing personality while I am more introverted and don’t really express myself; <L.O.R.D> is a fantasy story with many fictional characters which don’t exist in real life, the lines are very powerful and definitely have to acted out in a more entertaining manner.

<Challengers Union> is the first reality program you’ve participated in, did you have fun?

In <Challengers Union> we took on the challenges of different jobs, one job per episode and a variety of jobs throughout, for the first season of 13 episodes there are 13 different jobs. For the first episode I took on the challenge of being a taxi driver, right now the show has already wrapped up recording, in total we took on the challenge of over ten jobs. While recording for the first episode we already picked a “punishment” – my car was not a normal taxi and many jokes were made from that.

So on camera did you reveal your personality, as if there were completely no cameras at all?

It was revealed, after watching the program you will realise that I’m a little crazy.

Recommend a movie, a book, a song and a place to travel to.

Movie <Comedy King>, book <Summer Trees in Paradise>, my new song which has yet to be released, and a place to travel to would be New York. The place that captivates me the most is New York, the fashion scene is flourishing, my favourite hip hop music, it has the richest hip hop culture in the world, and every two streets or so there will be a basketball court, it’s not just for show, you can actually see people on every basketball court. New York is a city that I really want to live in, it suits what I dream of in a city, thus I’m recommending it to everyone.

What’s your 11.11 Singles’ Day message?

I’m not single, I have Meigeni.

As you are your fans’ Male God, who is your Male God?

Basketballer Kobe Bryant, Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Carprio, and fashion and music icon Pharrell Williams.

Why is your new family member called Rourou?

Rourou is a nickname my mother gave me when I was young. My mother said that when I was born I was chubby at that time, and my hands were especially large and thick, like meat.

Finally, a sentence to describe yourself?

I’ve always wanted to become a calm and steady Wu Yi Fan.

English Trans Becca