Each year, there’s always a bunch of fresh new crops replacing the older generations and more uprising rookies emerging in the showbiz industry. About 10 years ago, Ming Dao was the hottest star with The Prince Who Turns Into a Frog (王子變青蛙), The Magicians of Love (愛情魔髮師), two hit dramas under his belt. Followed by Ethan Ruan who came along and swept Taiwan with Fated to Love You (命中注定我愛你) and Defeated Queen (敗犬女王) and their co-stars, Joe Chen, Cheryl Yang became a household name. Ariel Lin, Joe Cheng, Mike He and Rainie Yang were also part of that older crop but most of them have migrated over to the big screens and to the bigger TV industry, Mainland China. Now, who will be the next biggest stars to take on the baton from them?
A research had been done by Dailyview Taiwan (Research company) to use crawler bots and search the most popular keywords on the web during the period of August 24th to November 24th, 2014. The results are out and these are mere speculations on who may be the hottest Taiwanese stars in year 2015. While I may not fully agree with these results and I don’t think it’s 100% accurate, it’s still an interesting research to read about. International fans may not be familiar with some of these names as many are from the Taiwanese movie side. Even though I may not be familiar with a few of them, I did an extensive research on them. Baseball movie set in the Japanese occupation era, KANO and rom-com by Giddens Ko (Author of You’re the Apple in my Eye), Café. Waiting. Love (等一個人咖啡) are probably the biggest blockbuster hits for this year. Enjoy the eye-candies!
(I’ll only put the detail information of top 5 rookie actors and actresses, I will just list down the names of the other 5.)
1. Akira Tsao 曹佑寧
Birthday: 1994, April, 24 (Age: 20 as of 2014)
Trivia: Won the Best New Actor in Taipei Film Festival for KANO
Comments: I haven’t watch the movie KANO but the first impression I had for him was that he look like a Japanese flower boy. He really fits the bill of the popular internet term calling young handsome guys as “鮮肉” (fresh meat), HAH! After getting recognition through KANO, there will probably more opportunities for him in the future. Plus, he got the flower boy look, I’m sure many idol drama producers will be interested to cast him.
2. Bruce Hong 洪奇翰 (布魯斯)
Birthday: 1990, September, 7 (Age: 24 as of 2014)
Works: Café. Waiting. Love
Comments: Watched Café. Waiting. Love in the theaters and thought he was pretty cute and natural. He reminds me of a younger version of Alan Ko for some reason. His look is not really my cup of tea but his off-screen personality seems so cute and bright, it’s hard to dislike him.
3. River Huang 黃河
Birthday: 1989, November, 13 (Age: 25 as of 2014)
Works: Boysitter (俏魔女搶頭婚), Dangerous Mind (危險心靈)
Trivia: He was a critically acclaimed child actor and probably one of the youngest actor to win the Best Actor Award in the Golden Bell Awards for Dangerous Mind, he was only 18 years old back then in 2007.
Comments: He’s not really considered a rookie as he made his debut in year 2006 but in the past, the works he chose are less mainstream. However, taking on the role in Boysitter means he’s probably ready to transition into a more mature role and dive into the mainstream scene. He’s been appearing on various commercial events and magazines here and there nowadays. Long hair guys are not my cup of tea but he fits that hairstyle well and his acting is very solid based on what I’ve seen from the pilot episode of Boysitter. He’ll probably shine in 2015 along with Jasper Liu, haha!
4. Jasper Liu 劉以豪
Birthday: 1986, August, 12 (Age: 28 as of 2014)
Works: Pleasantly Surprised (喜歡 . 一個人), Second Chance (逆轉勝), IUUI (我愛你愛你愛我), Amour et Pâtisserie (沒有名字的甜點店)
Trivia: Even before he made his debut as a minor role, Zhao Mei-Nan in In Time With You (我可能不會愛你), he was already relatively well-known for his various 30+ CFs and MV appearances and his trademark broccoli hair with sunny smile made himself known among Korean netizens. He haven’t even made any commercial appearance in Korea but there’s already a Korean fancafe for him. Guitarist of indie-band, Morning Call (輕晨電).
Comments: International fans are probably the most familiar with Jasper Liu (my forever bias) in this rookie actor list. He’s probably one of the fastest rising stars among the new generation because he made his first TV debut as a minor role in In Time With You in 2011, then soon after, he landed onto 2 leading roles for IUUI and Amour et Patisserie in 2013. This year’s Pleasantly Surprised doubled his exposure and popularity. Currently, I’m patiently waiting for his next drama which will air on February, My Ghost Friend (Unofficial English Title) (我的鬼基友). I personally think his acting skills still need some more polishing to do but since he’s so new, there’s still a lot of room for him to grow and it’s interesting that he’s the oldest in this list but look younger than some of the guys that are younger than him in this list. I hope in year 2015, he’ll take another SETTV drama to gain more exposure even though SETTV’s drama script quality may not be the best, it’s still a great stepping stone for rookie actors to get themselves known.
5. Lin Bo-Hong 林柏宏
Birthday: 1988, January, 27 (Age: 26 as of 2014)
Works: Endless Nights in Aurora (極光之愛), Sweet Alibis (甜蜜殺機), The Pursuit of Happiness (愛的生存之道), An Innocent Mistake (罪美麗)
Trivia: Participated in the long-running Taiwanese singing audition program, Million Star (超級星光大道).
Comments: Unlike the first 4 rookie actors listed, he hasn’t been in any lead roles until the movie, Endless Nights in Aurora whereby he play the first love of the heroine’s mom. From the trailers, it seems that it’s quite a meaty role. I got a feeling he’s gonna make it big for that role as he looks great in the trailer. He caught my attention as the handsome barista, a minor role in An Innocent Mistake. He also participated in Transformers 4: Age of Extinction as part of the Taiwanese cast. I think 2015 will be a better year for him.
6. Wang Bo-Jie 王柏傑 (Age: 25 as of 2014)
7. Matthew Wei 魏漢鼎 (Age: 17 as of 2014)
8. Zhang Ting-Hu 張庭瑚 (Age: 23 as of 2014) (Male lead for upcoming drama, The New World 新世界)
9. Huang Yuan 黃遠 (Age: 23 as of 2014)
10. Modi Chiu 邱翊橙 (Mao Di from Lollipop/JPM group) (Age: 24 as of 2014)
Overall Comments: I actually think Zhang Ting-Hu should rank higher, probably in the top 5 but that may be just me being bias. I also don’t think River Huang should be in the top 5 as the research was supposedly done in between August – November, that was before he starred in Boysitter (premiered in early December) and he’s not really mainstream at that time of point but I definitely think he got the potential to be the next big thing since he has the acting chops and his look is different and unique. I kind of agree with the first top 2 as they starred in the hit blockbusters for this year, even though I want my bias, Jasper Liu to top the list, haha!
1. Puff Kuo 郭雪芙
Birthday: 1988, June, 30 (Age: 26 as of 2014)
Works: Pleasantly Surprised (喜歡 . 一個人), Just You (就是要你愛上我), We Got Married Global Edition with Kim Hee-Chul of Super Junior
Trivia: Member of Taiwanese girl group, Dream Girls
Comments: Certainly no doubt about it, she’s one of the hottest star in year 2014 by appearing on the mega-popular international variety show, We Got Married Global Edition with Kim Hee-Chul of K-pop group, Super Junior and then starred in hit drama, Pleasantly Surprised. On top of that, she appeared on numerous CFs, magazines, events and won various popularity awards for the year. I think her acting improved over the years and I hope to see more works from her in the future.
2. Amber An 安心亞
Birthday: 1985, September, 18 (Age: 29 as of 2014)
Works: Apple in Your Eye (妹妹), Love Buffet (愛似百匯), Celebrity Imitated Show (全民最大黨)
Trivia: The original otaku goddess before Puff Kuo. She earned recognition as the fixed member of the popular variety show, Celebrity Imitated Show where they poke fun and do parodies of the current news, trends and celebrities. Purposely gained weight to shed her sexy image for Mag Hsu’s (writer of In Time With You, An Innocent Mistake, Mars and many more) drama, Apple in Your Eye (妹妹).
Comments: I changed my perception on Amber An through Apple in Your Eye, I think she did great for her first lead role. While her acting might be pale in comparison to the splendid performance by Blue Lan in that drama, she was natural enough to not distract me. I also have to commend on her bravery for purposely gaining weight for her role. While international fans might be not so familiar with her, she’s actually very famous in Taiwan (1,911,339 likes on her facebook page is not a joke!). I think she’ll probably get more acting offers in 2015 after her natural performance in Apple in Your Eye.
3. Emma Wu (Gui Gui) 吳映潔 (鬼鬼)
Birthday: 1989, August, 11 (Age: 25 as of 2014)
Works: Pi Li MIT (霹靂MIT), Incisive Great Teacher (犀利仁師), We Got Married Global Edition with Ok Taecyeon of 2PM
Trivia: Former popular member of Taiwanese Girl Group, Hey Girl (黑Girl). Earned recognition through various Taiwanese variety shows. Part of the second/third generation of Taiwanese idols with Farenheit, Lollipop, etc..
Comments: She’s focusing more on her career in Mainland China in the past few years so there’s only a few older Taiwanese works in her resume but she still appears on current Taiwanese magazine covers. I like her bubbly personality (though can be a bit overbearing at times) and she’s so baby-faced. I definitely think that she have more opportunities in Mainland China than the small entertainment industry in Taiwan. I’m just glad to see that she’s getting herself more recognition in Mainland China.
4. Amber Kuo (郭采潔)
Birthday: 1986, February, 19 (Age: 28 as of 2014)
Works: Tiny Times (小時代), Love (愛), Love Forward (向前走向愛走), Invincible Shan Bao Mei (無敵珊寶妹)
Trivia: Made her debut as a singer in 2007 but slowly transitioned into an actress, still release albums from time to time.
Comments: Another actress (also a singer) that made it big through SETTV drama and then turned to focus her career in Mainland China. She really made it HUGE through the hit Chinese movie, Tiny Times. She still makes several Taiwanese commercial appearances and she’ve an upcoming Taiwanese movie, Family in the Wind (Unofficial English title)(風中家族) that will hit the theatres in 2015. Interestingly, her real-life boyfriend, Tony Yang is also part of the leads for that movie but they’re not playing as a couple in it. I think she may surpass Puff Kuo in this list if she had focused more on her Taiwanese career in 2014.
5. Yao Yao 郭書瑤
Birthday: 1990, July, 18 (Age: 24 as of 2014)
Works: Aim High (22K夢想高飛), Mr. Right Wanted (徵婚啟事), Ti Amo Chocolate (愛上巧克力), Step Back to Glory (志氣)
Trivia: Earned recognition through a CF for an online game that went viral because of her voluminous figure and cute look.
Comments: In the early phase of her career, she’s always dubbed as the otaku goddess for her voluminous figure that contrast her cute look and voice. I’ll say that her image was a bit too overly-sexual at that point of time but slowly as she takes on more acting roles, her acting improved over the years (even earning Best New Actress Award for her movie, Step Back to Glory in Golden Horse Awards) and I think I can safely say that she’ve already shed off that otaku goddess image. I’m always happy to see stars that work hard and improve on their skills so I think she will have a bright career ahead of her.
6. Tia Lee 李毓芬 (Age: 29 as of 2014)
7. Annie Chen 陳庭妮 (Age: 25 as of 2014)
8. Summer Meng 孟耿如 (Age: 23 as of 2014)
9. Vivian Sung 宋蕓樺 (Age: 22 as of 2014) (Female lead of Café. Waiting. Love, known to resemble Kimi Hsia a lot)
10. Lorene Ren 任容萱 (Age: 26 as of 2014)
Overall Comments: International fans should probably recognize more of the names on the rookie actresses list than the rookie actors list. Some of these actresses are actually not that new but I guess these girls are all part of the new generation actresses. Lorene Ren, Annie Chen and Summer Meng should probably rank higher in the list in my opinion as Amber Kuo and Gui Gui focuses more on their China’s career and this list should restrict to the actresses that are more active in Taiwan for this year.
So what do you think? Which of these actors & actresses will shine in the year 2015 and become the next big thing?