Mother Complained Little Shu Qi Was Ugly

As one of China’s highest paid actresses today, Shu Qi (舒淇) is known for her sultry looks and often graces fashion magazines. Although she started her entertainment career in the erotic film industry in 1996, the charming actress’ potential was quickly recognized. In the same year of her debut, she successfully transitioned from Category 3 films to mainstream cinema. Her career has been on an upward trend ever since.

In a recent interview, Shu Qi surprisingly revealed that when she was younger, her mother often complained about Shu Qi’s subpar looks. Her mother did not think she was pretty enough because of her extremely voluminous and coiled hair. Part of Shu Qi’s charm is her unique beauty. However, her mother believed her features were strange and did not meet the customary beauty standards. “My mother would say that I am especially ugly. She couldn’t fathom anyone as ugly as me.”

Despite the harsh words, it was also because of her mother’s constant criticisms that Shu Qi learned how to cope and deal with constant flow of negative comments with confidence. The 41-year-old actress often posts make-up free photos of herself, proudly displaying her freckles and graying hair.

Fans commented, “When [Shu Qi] was younger, she indeed did not stand out among other actresses. What made her noticeable was her disposition. Not everyone will have the aura that she exudes.”


This article is written by Huynh for

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  1. I see nothing wrong with how Shu Qi looked when she was younger. She was rather attractive. She always had a positive and sunny disposition about her too. What was her mother’s problem… The Asian community sure has a skewered way of looking at beauty. I had the pleasure of meeting Shu Qi and she is sweet, simple and down to earth. She posesses a natural, exotic beauty which is only a plus to her credit. .

    I am very ignorant so could someone please explain what the customary beauty standards are?. Inquiring minds need to know. What a nasty, mean mother.

    1. @bubbletea I did not think she was pretty when I first saw her, then got warm up to her in close up. She’s indeed not a traditional beauty, I think it’s because her mouth are very wide, while her face is quite round. And I have to agree that she looks better as she ages. Anyway, she does sultry well, and do seems to be a nice actress. Overall, I like her 🙂

    2. @bubbletea She lacks the narrow beauty standards of a white complexion, high nose and v-shape face. But that actually makes her a unique beauty without the cookie-cutter look. And shame on her mother for making such negative comments about her daughter!

      1. @msxie0714 I agree she is no Christine Kuo kind of beauty, however, Shi has a unique, exotic kind of beauty. She has a big heart and a wonderful way with people which supplements her beauty. Her mother was so cruel. Shu Qi has overcome a lot and I wish her well.

  2. I think Shu Qi has got more and more attractive as she had gotten older. The cuteness she displays onscreen is the most appealing part though.

    1. @jimmyszeto indeed I like her acting and her chemistry with Leon in the Glass City was amazing. And I loved her cuteness in that movie with Takeshi where she acted as a Beer Girl.

  3. As for a mom if your kids born with pretty or ugly face especially your kids is not pretty enough they shouldn’t say anything like that because that’s very hurtful to them. I don’t think I want to say something like this to my own kid.

    1. @cutie777 I totally agree with your comment. Even if a mother has issues with how her child looks, those issues should remain an unspoken secret. No mother should say to her child what Shu Qi’s mom said to her. Shame on her.

      1. @funnlim a lot of damage has been done to a lot of children who experienced similar verbal abuse like what Shu Qi did. They have learned to live with it, but it does not mean they have not been affected. This kind of verbal abuse is not praise, never was and never will be. Is this why Chinese parents are so cold towards their children,?. Is that why the suicide rate is so high ?. Is that why a lot of modern Chinese teens feel they can’t share their thoughts with their parents,?. It must be. You could argue that that was how it was back in the day but, abuse is abuse , no matter how you slice it.

      2. @funnlim yes it depends on how her mom treats her. some parents/children relations are like friends they just say everthing to each other. but deep in their hearts they really love their children. but to me i would rather choose encouraching words than words that could reach the opposite effect. it just depends on the character itself.

      3. @bubbletea I’m only guessing here but it could be too that maybe Shu Qi’s mother is more old-fashioned and so subscribed to alot of the superstition and ignorance embedded in the Chinese culture. I remember I used to ask my mom all the time when I was younger why all our Chinese aunts and uncles seemed to “criticize” their own children each time someone tried to praise them (like they would say their children are u-gly when someone said they are pretty or say they are d-umb when someone praised them for being smart)….at the time, the way my mom explained it was that in the Chinese culture (especially back in those days), it was actually shameful for parents to acknowledge praise of their children because it was seen as the parents being “boastful”, which would lead to them getting shunned by society….so whenever someone praised their children, the parents were supposed to either deny it or say the opposite of what was praised. Later on, when I studied Chinese culture on my own, I also learned that parents criticizing their children also had to do with superstition, as in the old days, parents believed that if their children were too pretty or too intelligent or whatnot, they would get taken away from them by the spirits/gods (to be their wives or husbands) so they would label their children with the worst words they could find (u-gly, lazy, worthless, etc.) to “keep them safe”. Of course, this type of thinking / mindset doesn’t work in modern society (especially here in the West), but it’s not surprising that many of the older, more traditional families (parents) would still hold on to these types of beliefs. Now of course, I’m not saying this is the case for sure with Shu Qi’s mom, since I really don’t know, but it honestly doesn’t surprise me whenever I heard things like this with Chinese parents.

      4. @llwy12

        I agree with you. I know someone when he was a kid and he wasn’t very healthy. He often got sick, so someone advised his parents to let him get ears pierced and wear earrings to keep him healthy. Duh! That is just silly, but back in the old days some people believe just about anything.

      5. @dramas4me is he still alive? If he ie the superstition should not be dismissed. After all it was done out of love. Why condemn something that isn’t harmful in the first place? When people are desperate they will do anything. Like how boys are given girls name, strong boys name given a weaker nickname, wearing amulet, etc. Even my own mom did all that. And she did it out of love. I can’t complain about that.

      6. @funnlim

        Yes. He is still alive. I agree that it was done out of love, but the only problem I have is that many people lack of common sense. Often time when people are more educated then they will less lightly believe in those things.

      7. @llwy12 it could be. It all depends on point of origin. If it is because of love, perfectly understandable. Generations where shu qi came from are not snowflakes. They can take criticisms. Whenever my mom said something that to her is an honest statement but to me is like shredding into my soul, I will tell her if I was younger and a korean, I would have killed myself based on that criticism alone. But I am older and I am chinese and we are made of stronger stuff. But yes families can be brutal. But they are your family.

      8. @bubbletea thanks. I think she’s pretty accept her lip are little too big otherwise she’s fine and even she’s younger she looks fine too. I don’t know what her mom is thinking calling her own daughter ugly unbelievable!! At least she’s prettier than Joey Yung, Samantha Ko, Tavia Yeung and Kate Tsui.

    2. @cutie777 It’s cruel enough when people call you ugly, but a knife in the heart when parents say the same. Such a bullying and look-shaming society contributes to many individuals with no self-esteem.

      1. @msxie0714 while I understand the sentiments, you also need to look at how your parents generally treat you. If they dote on you, but just say those things when there are guests praising you, then you should understand that your parents are trying to be modest and rein you in, so you don’t run around think you are all that. And I have to agree with Funn, it helps her grow thick skin, and so even though she didn’t do it out of love, but she still loves you, and it helps you be a strong person, then it is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it possibly helps Shu Qi a lot in trying to work hard rather than just based on her look to get roles.

        My son is gorgeous according to everyone, but I’m still saying that it will not be the case for the future as a reply after thanking them for complimenting. As I don’t want him to grow up, and have ppl say things like: you use to be so pretty, what happen now? Trust me, it hurts more lol.

      2. @littlefish
        I agree with you. It would be unfair to judge Shu Qi’s mother without knowing how she put her words across. She could be just playing it down to teach her daughter to be humble…

      3. @jimmyszeto @littlefish @funnlim Very true! I agree that it’s hard for us to judge without knowing how the words were put across and also the family environment as a whole (and also the cultural environment as pointed out earlier). It could be that Shu Qi grew up in a loving family environment so she understands the intention of her mom criticizing her like that and can therefore take it as constructive criticism to help her grow stronger. Everyone’s situation is different though….in Shu Qi’s case, it looks like no damage was done so that’s the most important part I guess….

  4. One would say she was never that attractive to begin with. Frankly I dont think she is pretty. But moms can be brutal. Asian mothers especially.

    1. @funnlim agree 🙂 it’s really depending on the angle, makeup, lighting and what facial expression she pulls. She’s a selective beauty for me, has to be certain shots, certain angle for me to find her dazzling, otherwise she’s just ok.

  5. My first impression is that she is stunningly beautiful and naturally sensual. Her looks is no cookie cutter as @mxsie said IMO. Maybe her mum’s perception on beauty are faces like Zhang Ziyi or Fan Bingbing. And yes, she ages well.

    1. @mangotango

      Yes. Some people age well and they look better and better as they age. There are also people that look very cute, pretty when they were young, but they look worst and worst as they get older.

    2. @mangotango indeed she has a very unique look not the conventional beauty but she is very attractive. She has a very sultry & sexy look. I love her accent too haha

      1. @nigel Ah yes.. her accent. I remember when I first saw her… I think was Jackie Chan movie? And her cute Cantonese accent.

  6. I think constructive criticism is a good thing. With things like looks, though, unless it’s something you can actively change (like weight, though even that is a sensitive topic), there’s no point in criticizing. But with or without family disapproval of their kids’ looks, the media has its own way of effing people’s opinions of themselves. So either way, you’re effed if you do and effed if you don’t.

    But there is some value in openly confronting these flaws. First step of acceptance is admitting there is a problem. If not fixable, then accept. It builds tolerance for criticism of these imperfections when it’s done by family over time.

    Family who voice their criticism out loud sometimes have good intentions (though most of the time I think they’re just bitter about their own lives and have nothing better to do than criticize others’ kids.)

    1. @coralie Agreed and well-said! Also, to funn’s point, the intention of the criticism is indeed important, but so is explaining why that criticism is being made because to me, criticism isn’t truly constructive unless it’s backed up and/or explained. Saying something like “you’re the ugliest child I’ve ever seen” is a straight insult and unconstructive (unless the person follows it up with further explanation or basis for that comment)….in comparisons, saying something more along the lines of “stop coiling your hair like that because it stretches your face and makes you look ugly” is more appropriate and constructive, plus less likely that it will erode the child’s confidence. At the end of the day, it boils down to having open, healthy communication lines between parent and child, which unfortunately is something most families struggle with nowadays.

  7. Parents who directly compare their children with each other or with children of their friends are the worst. It puts unnecessary pressure on them during a time when confidence is important and they are still looking to choose their path in life….

    1. @jimmyszeto
      same for constant comparisons about celebrities. netizens and entertainment media have the worst habits of asking who’s prettier or handsome, which drives up rivalry and wars between fans.

      1. @msxie0714
        I remember the days on the forums of Myolie vrs Tavia. There were a lot more supporters of Tavia’s acting even then. And also who was better looking, Raymond or Ron and most agreed it was Ron. That was before Raymond changed his face….

  8. If Shu Qi’s mom thinks she was born ugly, then she needs to look at the mirror herself or get her eyes checked since SHE is the one who chose whom to f**k.

    You don’t put the blame on your kids for being ugly or stupid. His or her genes came from yourself after all.

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