Premiering on April 17, Ace Actress <我是女演員> is a reality show where rookie actresses compete to win the leading role in Youku’s new historical drama. Though the idea is novel and aims to introduce new capable actresses to viewers, the mentor lineup was criticized for being skewed with little female representation with the exception of actress Liu Tao (劉濤).
Ace Actress received backlash for having six men for their mentorship panel, including Zhang Xiaolong (張曉龍), Yan Yikuan (嚴屹寬), Joseph Cheng (鄭元暢), Aarif Rahman (李治廷), Barkley (百克力). Not only are netizens angry at the imbalance, but many questioned the qualifications of these actors and were skeptical on whether or not they would be good judges.
Besides Zhang Xiaolong who graduated from Bejing Dance Academy and Jilin College of the Arts, and is currently serving as a professor at The Central Academy of Drama, the remaining male mentors have reached only modest success in their acting careers. For example, Joseph has only appeared in Taiwanese idol dramas in the 2000s, and Aarif’s only notable series was The Empress of China <武媚娘傳奇> despite being in the industry for a decade.
Even guest stars were male. In the premiere episode, Word of Honor <山河令> stars Zhang Zhehan (張哲瀚) and Gong Jun (龔俊) were invited as special guests to share their filming experiences with the rookie actresses.
As the gender imbalance in the entertainment industry is already glaring with many powerful executives and investors being men, viewers feel the producers of Ace Actress should have selected more female mentors. Viewers left critical comments such as, “Do actresses really need so many male mentors? Are they even qualified to be teachers?”; “I feel uncomfortable just watching it” and “Why is it always men telling women what to do? I don’t like it – it’s like a concubine selection process.”
Perhaps the quality of the contestants will draw in viewership, but many viewers do not have high hopes for the integrity of the reality show.
This article is written by Su for JayneStars.com.