This is How Chinese Internet Celebrities Understand the “Power of Youth”

8 min read 

Niu HongHong, Bruce Zhang (Old Tomato), Wang Yibo, are some of the most popular young people on Chinese social media. They have been doing what they loved since they were in school. With the power of the Internet, they are today some of the most well-known cartoonists, content creators and photographers. They are playing a creative role in different fields, bravely pursuing their dreams, and have accomplished remarkable achievements. Let’s take a look at their interpretation on “the power of youth.”

Produced by Pandaily

Niu HongHong: To believe in the power of youth is to believe you have the power to create

Growing up in a poor family, Niu HongHong struggled to pay her tuition fees for her studies in animation. After finally graduating, she plunged herself into the cartoon illustration and production industry. After facing countless rejections and struggling to make a living due to financial difficulties, she continued to pursue her dreams and illustrated day in and day out. Finally, her works garnered attention and became a big hit on Weibo, and she moved to Beijing to explore more possibilities. From drawing by herself, to publishing books, to starting a company with a group of people, Niu HongHong has been trying things beyond drawing. Eventually, she became the type of person she has always dreamed of becoming—brave, hardworking, and always in pursuit of one’s own dreams.
(P:Pandaily NHH:Niu HongHong)

P:Is the character Niu HongHong based on you?

  • NHH: Niu HongHong is more like the kind of person that I wanted to become from my earlier days. I hoped to be independent; to be someone who dares to love or hate and can express herself bravely. Now I have gone further than my character, but the essence is the same.

P:How could you keep on drawing under poor family condition?

  • NHH: It’s precisely because of my poor living conditions that made me like drawing even more. Drawing is a low-cost spiritual consumption. You only need a piece of paper and a pen to feel fulfilling spiritually.

P:Where does your inspiration come from?

  • NHH: I’m easily touched by people around me. For example, my friend’s ten-year long distance relationship with her boyfriend was turned into comics by me. There’s a sentence I wrote, “A lot of times, it’s not because of hope that we persevere, but because we persevere that we have hope.” Lots of people have resonated with the details in their relationship and are moved to tears after reading it.

P:How would you interpret the phrase “believe in the power of youth”?

  • NHH: To believe in the power of youth is to believe you have the power to create, to create a painting, a song, an article, a design. Dare to do different things and make different choices.

P:What do you want to say to young people who want to be cartoonists?

  • NHH: Not only for people who want to be cartoonists, if you want to be the person you want to be, stick to your mission and dreams, then you’ll definitely go on the right path.

Bruce Zhang: being young means being unafraid of making mistakes and greeting new possibilities

Bruce Zhang (Old Tomato) is a senior at Fudan University, and also a popular video game content creator on Bilibili. He started to make videos on games since middle school because he likes games and believes that “gaming is the easiest way to express oneself.” In the future, he wants to continue to be a content creator, a student, and “someone who attempts to fight against boredom.”

(P:Pandaily Bruce:Bruce Zhang)

P:Why did you name yourself “Old Tomato”?

  • Bruce: I was very shy when I was a little boy. I would blush when talking to girls. My face would blush up like a tomato. And red is considered lucky in Chinese culture. Also, I like to eat tomatoes. When people ask, I usually pick one reason from the three.

P:Do you remember the first gaming video you made?

  • Bruce: The first video I made was about Pokemon. My parents were very strict when I was a kid and wouldn’t allow me to play video games. One day when my parents were away from home, I secretly made a video at home and uploaded it to the Internet. It was a pretty thrilling experience.

P: What kind of game content is usually selected for your videos?

  • Bruce: Some videos I made are about popular games the audience likes, some are about games I like. And there are some less popular games that I particularly like and hope more people would come to know about them.

P: As a busy finance major, how do you balance the two identities of a content creator and a student?

  • Bruce: It’s hard because I only have so much time. It’s impossible to have everything unaffected. I think the most important thing is to know your priorities.
  • The reason I can keep good grades is that during finals I would leave everything related to the videos behind and only focus on studying. It’s very painful, but as long as I make the effort, I can still pick things up.

P: How would you interpret the phrase “believe in the power of youth”?

  • Bruce: Being young means that your possibilities are infinite. It doesn’t matter if the thing you’re doing will be successful, or recognized by the world. But as long as it’s something I like, I think it’s right and should give it a try. The worst you can do is make a mistake. But so what? You’ll have other choices afterwards. That’s the greatest power of youth.

P: Have you ever thought about your future?

  • Bruce: I think no matter what job I do in the future, finance or videos, no matter what kind of life I’ll have, I hope I can always have time to do things I like and have the passion to pursue them. I hope I’ll stay young and passionate and be an interesting person.

Wang Yibo: To believe in youth is to constantly explore new things

Once a campus photography enthusiast to the most popular photographer in variety show shooting, Wang Yibo has turned his hobby into a career. He runs his own photography studio in Beijing and is busy around various variety shows. He went out to shoot almost everyday in college, and became famous on social media for a series of photos of girls in school uniforms. He then got out of his comfort zone and started shooting photos for variety shows. “Photography is my hobby, then it became my career. It has brought me light and glory.”

(P: Pandaily WYB:Wang Yibo)

P: Under what circumstances did you become a photographer?

  • WYB: I was once asked to pose for photos in college, at the time I felt photography could turn the dust into glory, so I bought my first DSLR camera. Because I was popular in school, I asked all the good-looking boys and girls to pose for me. Then my work gradually gained popularity on the Internet.

P: What do you think are the differences between variety show photography and photo shoots?

  • WYB: I’m more like a director in photo shoots. I have to arrange everything. But you can’t control everything during variety shows, they are more like documentaries where you have to capture people’s actions, reactions, facial expressions and emotions. To have a good photo, no matter what’s it for, you must have solid basic skills.

P: What do you think is the key to your success in the field of photography?

  • WYB: To just be a well rounded person I guess. To be excellent in any field requires not only the specific skills pertaining to that field, but also good EQ, connections, social skills, coordination skills, etc,. To run a studio well also requires all sorts of skills and experience.

P: Are you more motivated to create now or in your early 20s?

  • WYB: I’m always motivated. As long as you’re young at heart, you’ll be motivated. I might open a hot pot restaurant tomorrow, or write a book the day after, but as long as I’m doing something, I feel like I’m back in my 20s again. I feel I can be 20 years old for countless times.

P: How would you interpret the phrase “believe in the power of youth”?

  • WYB: There’s a quote that impresses me very much, “When all the people around me are having kids and getting old, there’s no single gray hair in my soul.” I think it’s really good. Only when you believe you’re young, you can always have the power and constantly explore new things.

This summer, OPPO Campus will launch and host the Global Emerging Artists Project – Reno-vators, inviting young artists and art lovers from top art schools around the globe to contribute their own interpretations of “what is creating/what is Reno” through online creation via various media outlets.

Reno-vators will invite Mr. Li Zhenhua, the Swiss curator of “Light and Shadow” project at the 2019 Art Basel Hong Kong, to be the artistic advisor, and several young artists to be mentors, to communicate with participants from all over the world through the project’s website. Anyone with an online submission has a chance to win the Renovators Award, a trip to Royal College of Art, an exhibition spot at the 2019 Manchester Arts Festival, an artist fund of $7,500, and an internship at the OPPO global headquarters.

There’s no limit to creating; everyone is a creator in his/her own life. OPPO Campus encourages young people to carry their spirit of exploration to develop creativity in fields they love, and cooperate on cross-border art projects. Through the project, OPPO hopes to inspire artistic power of talented young people around the world.

Reno-vators website can be found here: http://reno-vators.com/

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