In 2014, Forbes listed Chinese actress Yao Chen as the 83rd most powerful woman in the world. Born in the Fujian province of China, the star of rom-coms and action flicks has been dubbed the Angelina Jolie of China. Yao Chen made her acting debut in 2005’s My Own Swordsman. She went on to play in the show, Undercover, and made her stage debut as the heroine of A Story of Lala’s Promotion in 2009. Chen won the Golden Eagle Award for Best Actress in 2010. A media darling Chen is a beautiful, young woman, wife and mother. She could settle comfortably into her own little world and simply bask in fame if she chose to do so.

Far from hiding behind her fame, Yao Chen uses it to advocate for the charities and environmental and human rights causes she supports, one of which is the United Nations Refugee Agency. She visited the Mae La refugee camp in northern Thailand as UNHCR’s Honorary Patron for China. Her trip and her social media presence sharing snippets of information and insight into the people UNHCR serves helped increase awareness of the needs of the refugees and the agency. Following her initial visit, Chen promised to make an annual return to the refugee center. The actress turned activist has created a powerful social media presence. She uses this digital engagement to raise the social consciousness of her fans and followers. By raising awareness of the needs of the people she works so tirelessly to support, she helps increase donations and contributions. She proudly serves as the Goodwill Ambassador to China for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’.

Yao Chen believes that women in the film industry are making increasingly greater contributions to Chinese filmmaking. With more than 78 million (and growing) social media followers, Yao Chen refuses to remain silent about serious issues. She is an activist for the humane treatment and civil rights of refugees. She further uses her fame and her Weibo reach to campaign for clean air and clean water in her homeland. Weibo is China’s version of Twitter and is used by this woman of influence to make changes for the greater good.

Yao Chen is an activist and actress with a purpose. Refugee care and a pollution-free environment are chief among those purposes. Other causes she fights for are food contamination and governmental censorship. Yao is a woman with a powerful voice and she is not afraid to use it. Chen’s philosophy is to “make yourself a better person before trying to make others better.” Chen is a powerful, wealthy, stylish woman and for some, that would be enough. Not for her. She’s an outstanding example of what it looks like to put others before yourself. Determined to make her beloved homeland as safe as possible for herself, her children and all Chinese people, she is a woman of power and influence. Young girls growing up in China today have an amazing role model in Miss Chen. In fact, women and girls all over the world do!


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