GRAZIA: How did you enjoy your cover shoot with GRAZIA? We love that the team learned some Chinese on set with you…
Angelababy: I really enjoyed the atmosphere of teaching the team Chinese, and I am incredibly grateful that everyone was interested and willing to learn something about the Chinese culture. The team members were all ridiculously cute, and the whole shooting process was very professional. It felt like the time passed so quickly while interacting with the team, I didn’t want to leave!
GRAZIA: Your father’s work helped to shape your love of fashion. Do you have a favourite memory from when you used to visit his store as a child in Shanghai?
Angelababy: At that time, I remember seeing different customers choosing clothes and matching assorted styles and colours. This was a remarkably interesting thing. I also tried to give customers some of my own advice, as though I was a staff member in the store! It was a small seed, my earliest exposure to fashion.
GRAZIA: You moved to Hong Kong when you were 13 years old. What was your first impression of the city?
Angelababy: I was incredibly young at that time. When I first arrived in Hong Kong, people were coming and going on the streets and the neon lights were flashing, which was dazzling—it was so novel that I couldn’t help but look! It almost felt like walking onto a movie set in Hong Kong. Now, it’s a remarkably diverse and warm city, and it is my second home.
GRAZIA: What is a Chinese custom you share with friends who visit you?
Angelababy: I usually tell them about some eating habits at traditional Chinese festivals so that I can treat them to our customary delicacies. Food has a long history, such as the New Year’s Eve dinner during the Spring Festival, or the glutinous rice balls during the Lantern Festival, or the rice dumplings during the Dragon Boat Festival. China is a vast territory and people in the north and south have diverse ways of cooking for the New Year’s Eve dinner, too.
GRAZIA: Your work in fashion and film has taken you across the world. What is your favourite thing about travelling and working in a different country?
Angelababy: I find it really interesting to visit boutiques from various countries. I like all kinds of novel fashion items, which also allows me to understand the different fashion preferences in different countries.
GRAZIA: What is your favourite city to visit? Can you recall a defining memory from this place?
Angelababy: My favourite city is Shanghai. Many important moments in my life were spent in Shanghai. I grew up there and I always think of those familiar little alleys and the Shanghai cuisine cooked by my grandma. After leaving Shanghai, I didn’t even dare to eat Shanghainese food for fear of ruining the taste in my memory. Shanghai is a very modern city and perfectly blends history and modernity. After returning, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the city had not lost its old, familiar flavour.
GRAZIA: Do you have a favourite restaurant in Shanghai?
Angelababy: I like Anfu Lu, and the braised pork at Jesse Restaurant.
GRAZIA: How has seeing the world and working overseas helped evolve your perspective of, or appreciation for, different cultures?
Angelababy: It has made me more understanding and tolerant of diverse cultures and traditions, and it has also given me a deeper sense of identity and pride in the culture of my motherland. The more of the world I see, the more beauty there is, and I therefore live more mindfully.
GRAZIA: As someone who has navigated the Chinese and international entertainment scenes, what is the biggest difference between entertainment culture in China, and the rest of the world?
Angelababy: China’s entertainment culture is rooted in Chinese traditions. I think the most direct exposure for everyone abroad is Chinese film and television dramas, including a series of costume dramas and mythical tales, which are modern expressions of our country’s traditional culture. If more people can appreciate the beauty of traditional Chinese culture through my modest efforts as an actor, I will be incredibly happy.
GRAZIA: When you arrive in a foreign city, what is the first thing that you do?
Angelababy: The first thing I do is try the local food. Everyone usually starts with eating and then gets to know the country little-by-little.
GRAZIA: What’s your favourite dish to eat overseas?
Angelababy: When I travel abroad, I am eager to try many local specialties. When I come across delicious dishes, I also want to recommend them to my friends. However, sometimes after staying overseas for a long time, I miss Chinese food, mainly because I have a “Chinese stomach.”
GRAZIA: Which world city do you think has the best sense of style?
Angelababy: Every city has its own unique style, which is informed by its geography, history, culture, and the living habits of its citizens. They should not be compared with each other. I appreciate every fashion style very much.
GRAZIA: How do you decide what to wear in the morning? Does your location in the world inform how you dress?
Angelababy: The first thing is to check the weather, and the second is to check the schedule for the day. Privately, I dress more casually so long as I am comfortable. But if I need to attend an event, I will dress according to the theme of the day. When I am in other countries, I usually dress to blend into the local culture. But I have begun to incorporate Chinese elements with local styles to bring some Chinese flavour to all parts of the world. Some time ago, at Paris Fashion Week, I wore a new Chinese-style dress called the “Azure Bird Dress.”
GRAZIA: Which fashion and beauty brands are you loving at the moment and why?
Angelababy: I pay special attention to Chinese fashion brands because they contain a lot of traditional culture and national characteristics. It allows the world to understand China through fashion which makes me feel immensely proud. I really can’t choose a favourite brand. I think every voice that wants to be expressed deserves to be loved.
The more of the world I see, the more beauty there is, and I therefore live more mindfully
GRAZIA: When it comes to your career, what is the best piece of advice you’ve been given and who gave it to you?
Angelababy: The best career advice was given to me by my parents. Even though I am an adult now, my parents’ support is still extraordinarily strong. They may not understand the professional problems I encounter, but as long as they give me the same warm encouragement as they did when I was a child, my confidence is strengthened, and I continue to work hard.
GRAZIA: How do you juggle so many work commitments? And when you finish work, how do you relax and unwind?
Angelababy: In order to have a good work/life balance, you need to find a rhythm that suits you. Taking time out to relax and do some outdoor sports like surfing and skiing is especially useful for me. These sports require a high level of concentration and allow me to focus and forget my worries.
GRAZIA: What would you consider the most memorable/defining moment in your career so far?
Angelababy: The most unforgettable moment was when I decided to start acting. At 20 years old, I starred in a romantic comedy called Hot Summer Days. This was a turning point in my career.
Photography VLADIMIR MARTI
Creative direction MARNE SCHWARTZ AND DANÉ STOJANOVIC
Styling LAURA JANE BROWN
Hair JEAN LUC AMARIN
Makeup OMIX B
Videography FAYÇAL BOUHASSOUN
Producer KATHERINE HO
Fashion assistant CHARLOTTE MARSH-WILLIAMS