Chapter 8 — Reality Show
Ning Xi attracted a little attention through ‘My Heart Longs for You‘ and for a while, her popularity rose. There were some curious fans who went to her Weibo page. They saw that the number of fans she had was only in three digits and she had posted nothing on Weibo. Out of sympathy, they developed a favourable impression of Ning Xi and many became concerned about her.
Jiuji Entertainment’s publicity team was also quite clever. They didn’t go to grab the attention, fearing that doing so would earn them anti-fans, but during the publicity events of ‘My Heart Longs for You‘, Ning Xi joined the lead actors and gained some popularity by accompanying the stars.
The director of this movie had a good impression on Ning Xi and didn’t exclude Jiuji Entertainment from his arrangements. So, when the lead stars were going to participate in an episode of a reality show, they brought her along.
Newcomers like Ning Xi weren’t allowed to use the same dressing room as the lead artists. So before the shooting began, she and the other cast members in supporting roles came into another dressing room and lined up for makeup.
The TV station’s staff was polite and didn’t want to easily offend people. People like Ning Xi, a promising newcomer, they greeted very politely and behaved thoughtfully.
That she could participate in this reality show’s episode was a result of her strength. But, since she didn’t have the popularity of her senior actors, Ning Xi didn’t dare to grab attention from them and sat in a corner honestly.
An assistant there was worried that she would be bored and gave her glass of water along with a magazine.
After waiting for a while, it was finally Ning Xi’s turn to get her makeup done. She sat quietly on the chair and didn’t have any demands on the makeup artist. She had a smile on her face which made her seem approachable.
The makeup artist had seen many small actors and actresses, but she had rarely seen one so quiet and pleasing to the eye. The tiredness she was feeling began to dissipate and she became calm again.
After all the actors and entertainers had finished their makeup, the two makeup artists and their assistants were relieved.
“That Ning Xi, she looked so beautiful!” The makeup artist who hadn’t worked on Ning Xi sighed with emotion. She sliced the air with her hand, imitating a knife and asked, “Was there any…?”
The one who applied makeup on Ning Xi shook her head. “All natural.”
Whose appearance was real and whose was not, the makeup artists were the ones who really knew. But everyone had been a part of the entertainment circle for long and knew what to say and what not to say, so they all pretended that they were ignorant.
“No wonder Jiuji Entertainment treats her like a treasure. She looks good and easily stands out. Later, she will have no shortage of fans.” The artist began picking up her makeup tools. “Maybe this time, they really hit gold.”
The reality show was an adaptation of its Taiwanese version. But even if it was an adaptation, it only followed the general direction of the original show. The details depended on the guests of the program and their skills in drawing attention to themselves and the show.
As a newcomer, Ning Xi had a minor role to play. She couldn’t hog the limelight. Even if the lead artists didn’t mind, the fans of these artists would definitely dislike her for it.
Towards the end of the show, the host asked the male lead, Chu Heng, “We all know that in this movie, there are three girls who liked you. Tell us which one was your favourite.”
Chu Heng pretended to be afraid and looked at the male host. “Brother Jiang, you have trapped me unjustly!”
“Did you see?” The female host laughed loudly and said, “He is jealous that you are surrounded by so many beauties. He’s deliberately putting you in a spot.”
“Go, go, go! Who said? This Brother Jiang is dignified and peerless. Who won’t like me?” The male host looked at the audience. “Don’t you agree?”
But the audience didn’t give him face. They mercilessly booed him.
Brother Jiang looked wounded and pitiful, “What’s up with you guys? Before Chu Heng came, I was a male god in your eyes! The moment Chu Heng comes, no one pays attention to me. It’s quite pitiful.”
He turned to the stage and his eyes swept over the three actresses. He then brought the mic in front of Ning Xi and asked, “Ning Xi, you tell me, aren’t I more handsome than Chu Heng?”
From the time Ning Xi was on stage, she wasn’t spoken to. Since Brother Jiang and Zhang Qingyun were good friends, he must have wanted to give the latter some face.
“Brother Jiang, you want to hear the truth or lies?”
Seeing through the lens, every frown and every nibble of her lip looked enchanting; people couldn’t help but pity her in their hearts.
“What’s the lie?” Brother Jiang asked curiously.
“Chu Heng is more handsome than you.”
Brother Jiang’s eyes suddenly sparkled. “What’s the truth?”
“The truth is…” Ning Xi glanced at Chu Heng, “Chu Heng is much more handsome than you.”
When she said that, the audience laughed. Especially Chu Heng’s fans who cheered and screamed.
Brother Jiang clutched his heart and faced the director who was in the corner, “Director, help me call the ambulance. My heart is seriously injured, I need first aid.”
Ning Xi put her hand on her laughing mouth, and her shoulders shook lightly. The cameraman zoomed into her.
A beauty was a beauty – even when a close-up was shot, her features were unblemished and impeccable.
Once the program was over, the director and the team were editing the episode together. He smiled and said, “For this episode, many cameramen in the crew seem to have taken close-ups of the newcomer.”
Hou Qi gulped down his coffee and watched the close-up of Ning Xi’s features. He spoke in a shocked tone, “People always prefer looking at a beauty.”
The director thought for a moment and said, “Keep two close-ups in the episode.”
“Alright,” Hou Qi nodded and chose two shots with her most attractive features to be included in the show.
Two days later, the show was aired. Ning Xi found that her Weibo account now had 2 – 3 million fans, and the comments all asked for her selfie.
“So… these are fans of my face?” Ning Xi held a box of popcorn and sat on the sofa with Zhang Qingyun in the office, eating lazily.
“It’s already quite good to have fans for your face,” Zhang Qingyun said, looking at her lazy demeanour. “Zhou Zhengchuan just signed a contract with a major brand and the ad needs a woman in the supporting role. I’m trying to get that role for you.”
“Which brand?” Ning Xi asked curiously, eating a popcorn.
“Blue Crane Apparel.”
“The largest male clothing brand in China?” Ning Xi showed a thumbs up to him, “If you can get this endorsement deal, I’ll have to admit that Brother Zhang is really amazing!”
“With your status, if you can persuade the people at Blue Crane Apparel, then I can let you take the role.” Zhang Qingyun sighed, “But about this, don’t hold out much hope.”
Ning Xi smiled and nodded, “Ah, yes, I know. Thank you, Brother Zhang.”
Seeing her understand, Zhang Qingyun didn’t continue to speak. He began to think furiously about how he could help Ning Xi to get the supporting role in the ad.
But the surprising thing was that before he could think of a way, Blue Crane Apparel called him up. They said that they looked at Ning Xi’s resume and portfolio and thought she was very suitable for this ad. So they extended an invitation for her to take part.
They also sent her a contract quoting a price fit for second-tier artists.
Zhang Qingyun felt this was very strange. He called Zhou Zhengchuan’s agent. The other person said that the people from Blue Crane Apparel had just mentioned it in the passing and hadn’t said anything else.
“Do you know anyone in Blue Crane Apparel?” Zhang Qingyun asked Ning Xi.
Ning Xi shook her head, “I don’t know anyone.”
Zhang Qingyun carefully looked at the contract in his hands. All the terms and conditions were very transparent, there was no trap. The price they had opened with was much higher than what Ning Xi was worth at that time. This strange matter made him confused. He had experienced a lot of dirty things as a part of the entertainment circle. So seeing such an anomaly, he had to think of all possibilities.
“When you have to go for the filming, I’ll accompany you.” He told her, feeling slightly suspicious. “If someone asks you to eat or drink something after, tell me beforehand and don’t agree easily.”
Jiuji Entertainment did not take part in any other kind of dirty business.
The location of the ad shoot was in the seaside. Ning Xi was wearing such flimsy clothing for the shoot that she was almost frozen like a dog. She had to wear a thick coat and sank into the chair for the stylists to do her hair.
“Is it really that cold?” Zhou Zhengchuan gave her a cup of hot coffee. He also gave her a straw so that her lipstick wouldn’t get smudged. “Drink this, it’s very warm. You’ll feel better once we start shooting.”
“Thank you, senior brother.” Ning Xi drank a few cups of hot coffee and let the makeup artist paint her face. She felt that it wasn’t a face but a wall.
The director spoke to the both of them about the kind of effect he wanted. Ning Xi’s only role was to look beautiful.
The beauty was like water, like fire, like the snow not stained with dirt. In short, the effect he wanted was for people to be unable to look away from the ad.
Zhou Zhengchuan was the lead, so he got priority in the shooting. They began with only his shots. Ning Xi sat to the side and watched Zhou Zhengchuan interpret his role very well. It was easy to see how he could do so well in the entertainment business.
Looks, talent and behaviour – actors who had these would be able to be like fish in the sea in the entertainment circle. In fact, the qualifications for actors was much lighter than the requirement for actresses because the world was often harsh on the latter.
“Miss Ning Xi, it’s your turn.” A member of the staff ran over to her and informed her politely.
“Okay, thank you.” Ning Xi stood up, took a deep breath and took off her coat, revealing an enchanting red dress.
On the beach, a car slowly stopped. Several men and women in suits came out of the car.
“Chief Chang, a subsidiary company is shooting an ad for their new product over there.” A middle-aged man pointed towards the set. “Do you want to go take a look?”
He was actually uncertain; he knew that the big boss wasn’t interested in such things.
The man looked at the manager. As the sea breeze blew through his hair, he looked gentler than usual.
“Come, let’s go and see.” He looked away from the manager. “Blue Crane Apparel has done well in the recent years.”
Hearing this praise, the manager waved his hand, claiming that it was everyone’s credit, but he couldn’t hide the pleasure from his eyes.