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Chapter 19 — Schemes
The internet was very lively the first day of the new year. There were a lot of bored and idle netizens who kept sending out lists of artists who lip-synced in the Spring Festival Gala. Zhou Zhengchuan was on that list.
Due to the fierce opposition of anti-fans, these artists were called disrespectful to the work and to the audience. It didn’t matter whether it was the television station’s arrangement or the director’s. What mattered was being able to catch flaws and send the artist to his death.
It was already afternoon when Ning Xi heard the news. She called Zhou Zhengchuan and his tone seemed normal. He didn’t seem to have been stressed because of the incident
“In this circle, if you don’t have a body like a diamond, how can you move around?” Zhou Zhengchuan urged Ning Xi. “Don’t worry about me, I’m fine. I’m used to situations like this.”
Hanging up the phone, Ning Xi stared at herself in the mirror thoughtfully.
After the Spring Festival, workers began their routines, students went to school, life went on. Ning Xi had acted in the popular TV show, ‘Beautiful Red Clouds’ which had premiered on Banana TV and Tomato Satellite TV. These two major networks broadcast the show simultaneously. Under Jiuji Entertainment’s publicity, the drama had received a lot of attention since its broadcast.
The fans of Zhou Zhengchuan, in particular, were so excited that the broadcast hadn’t even begun and they had already sat before the television.
In Zhou Zhengchuan’s apartment, several big names had squeezed in to take a look at the ratings. Actually, someone had only come to get free food. Zhengchuan looked blankly at the many people standing outside his house knocking happily on the door. He couldn’t help but ask, “Do you people really care so much about me?”
“Brother Zhou, how could you buy this brand of potato chips? I heard that eating this will make us fatter!” Shi Pang, the gold medal supporting actor in the entertainment circle, said. He was famous for his comic timing, making him a good comedian.
His acting style and temperament were quite distinct. He was Zhou Zhengchuan’s classmate, so he was quite popular. He was still a great friend of Zhengchuan’s.
“You talk as if other brands of potato chips won’t make you rounder,” Ning Xi grinned, looking at his stomach. “A person who eats a meal enough for three people at a time doesn’t think about the difficult task of losing weight.”
“How can thin people like you understood the sadness of us fat people?” Shi Pang said with a depressed expression. “Little Xi, you’ve learnt bad things following Zhengchuan. When you first entered the company, you were so gentle and polite. How did your tongue turn out to be so poisonous?”
“Who said I don’t understand?” Ning Xi opened a bag of potato chips. “When I was in high school, I was almost as fat as you.”
“Tut, who will believe your words?” Shi Pang squeezed the flab on his stomach, “A stomach this fat, can I still reduce this?”
“If you spend a year or two eating less and stop sleeping so much, won’t you be able to reduce that fat?” Ning Xi shook her finger. “Of course, all this is very difficult for you.”
“Then, forget it. Let alone a year or two, I can’t stand doing that for two days.” Shi Pang patted his thigh and pointed to the TV. “Quick, the programme had begun.”
At the beginning of the program was a game of strategy. The plot was very difficult, making it easy for people to fall into it.
After that high-excitement episode, the frame was replaced by a luxurious villa. A well dressed young man appeared on the screen. His mere presence pulled people out of their nervousness.
“The director has caught a rhythm while shooting. The show will definitely be a hit,” Shi Pang looked at Ning Xi. “Little Xi, just wait, it won’t be long before you become famous.”
When Ning Xi playing the role of second female lead, Jin Youyan, Shi Pang saw that while Ning Xi’s acting was slightly less powerful than Zhou Zhengchuan, but her temperament was amazing. She was perfect for this role.
The most important thing was, although Ning Xi was only the second female lead, her screen-time was more than the female lead. With the impression Ning Xi left on the audience, they would be more picky about the female lead’s performance.
When the episode finished airing, Shi Pang understood why the company was willing to expend so much effort in keeping and nurturing Ning Xi. It was because she could hold on and was guaranteed to become popular.
‘Beautiful Red Clouds’ ratings soared as high as the sky. The fourth position it held during the first interval gradually rose to third. When the seventh interval came, the ratings soared to the first position. At the same time, the clicks and views on the internet were rising steadily. Many netizens had begun to recommend this show.
The actor looked friendly, the script was quite logical, the plot was relaxing and the costumes and sets very much aligned with the time-period they had chosen. At a time when only bad shows were being released, this show was particularly eye-catching and outstanding. So, the ratings finally burst into higher numbers and the actors became even more popular. Many reality shows invited them as guest stars and to borrow their popularity.
As the second female lead in the show, Ning Xi’s role was quite likeable. Her role was consistent with modern women’s views that girls were independent and self-reliant. So many girls online began calling her ‘husband’ on her Weibo page. Because she was so handsome while riding a horse and shooting in the drama, her whole being seemed proud and unreachable.
By the time the final episode aired, Jin Youyan, who was now old and unmarried, returned to her motherland and met the old male and female protagonists. She said goodbye to them with a friendly smile.
The audience was scolding the male lead’s eyes. The second female lead was so good. Why did he like that white rabbit of a female lead? Some people felt that the male and female leads getting together was the biggest fault of the show. If all three of them had happy endings, the plotline would be more fuller.
Regardless of what the audience thought, the show had indeed achieved great success. The number of fans Ning Xi had on Weibo crossed the 5 million mark because of it. If she casually sent out a post, she would get countless reposts and comments, which made her not post very casually.
Because of this, her fans protested, saying that they needed the goddess’ selfie and needed a post from her. Some businesses approached her, hoping she could advertise them on Weibo.
“You’re still gaining popularity. It’s best not to accept any endorsements on social media. It will be very detrimental to your future.” Zhang Qingyun told Ning Xi regarding the show business. “It seems as if you have many fans now, but if you don’t have excellent work later, they will quickly forget you.”
“So what should I do now?” Ning Xi asked.
“You just do your best in playing Fairy Qingya, leave everything else to me.” Zhang Qingyun comforted her. “No amount of publicity is comparable to doing good work. You have the strength to go really far.”
Ning Xi nodded, understanding his meaning.
Only a few months into shooting, ‘Tan Haixian Ji’ had already been shot more than half. Usually, in other drama troupes, the speed was much slower. However, for Qian Conghai, this was already really time-consuming work.
The main reason the shoot was able to go smoothly was that the funds were abundant and the actors could work hard without looking for another job.
Although Zhu Moli and Sun Yuhan weren’t on good terms, Zhu Moli didn’t dare to provoke her because of Sun Yuhan’s fame and the agency backing her. But this didn’t mean that she would simply sit back and watch a newcomer outshine her.
When she saw all the reports online talking about “Miss Jin’s grace,” “Pride like Miss Jin” and “Ning Xi’s beautiful moments”, she felt that her heart was blocked.
When she turned her eyes to Ning Xi, she saw that the latter was sitting beside Zhou Haili and eating her meals. She had already finished two-thirds of the portion and was still eating. Where was the elegance? Where was the beauty?
As an actor, who didn’t restrain herself from eating too much and maintaining her figure? She continued to eat so much, was she a pig?
When a big company held a debut, the artist received quite a bit of resources. But if someone dared to eat like this, people would want to simply burn an actor like her.
Ning Xi didn’t know that in someone’s mind, she had become a pile of firewood. She wiped her mouth clean and got up to throw her, and some others lunch boxes away.
“No arrogance and good stamina,” Shao Chong told Zhou Haili with a thumbs up. “Your eyes for people are very good.”
Zhou Haili smiled and accepted his compliment.
‘Beautiful Red Clouds’ became so popular that some supporting actors also became famous. But the fans of the heroine were not happy. Obviously, their family’s Zhu Jiafei was the heroine, but now she was outshone by a supporting actress. Their hearts were very uncomfortable.
Because Zhu Jiafei and Ning Xi usually spoke well on Weibo, though they were unhappy, they didn’t want to make it difficult for their idols, so they continued to be friendly with Ning Xi’s fans.
But recently, who knew what happened. Ning Xi’s fans stepped on the head of Zhu Jiafei and her fans. Seeing this, they could no longer sit still. A quarrel broke out between both sides.
Finally, the argument was that Ning Xi this newcomer, the moment she got a little popularity, she disrespected her seniors. Some websites gave out big headlines saying that Ning Xi was arrogant and hard to deal with.
When Zhang Qingyun called Ning Xi, she had just ended the shooting for the day. Listening to his words, she fell silent. “I haven’t received any other announcements these days. I haven’t gone anywhere but to the sets. Where would I have the opportunity to be arrogant?”
There were people who claimed that they saw her pouring hot water over her assistant. Why would she do that? She was not sadistic.
There were robbers, picky eaters and squeamish people who sometimes slashed their own face to prevent them from doing certain things, but how low an IQ should a newcomer have to damage their own reputation?
“I know you won’t do such stupid things,” Zhang Qingyun said over the phone. “Don’t bother about the rumours outside. The company will deal with them.”
Ning Xi hung up the call and looked at her phone with a smile.
These villainous means were too old-fashioned. It was impossible for such people to come up with new tricks.
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