Singer Qu Ying is one ex-VJ whose career has taken off from the MTV launch pad, but she continues to support the channel by performing at local events. Swinging her bunched black tresses across her shoulder, Ying prepares to warm up the MTV crowd in a Shanghai club. The teen and young adult patrons of the Times Disco in downtown Shanghai are grooving to a pop tune from Qu’s second album Peacock. After a short set, she expertly trades quips with MTV Mandarin VJs Vivian Tang and Gao Yuan, before stepping off stage and letting the video monitors blast clips from the European Music Award show. Because of broadcast restrictions, the TV special cannot be televised in mainland China, so the Times Disco event is billed as a one-time peek at the award show. In order to attract more locals to the event, MTV organized a voting contest via the Internet.
In her tight leather skirt, the statuesque Qu Ying epitomizes the MTV look. Working as a young model, she joined MTV in 1996 as a stepping stone to a bigger career in film and music. After two years as a VJ, Qu reinvented herself as a singing sensation-and MTV Mandarin was there.
‘MTV launched my first album,’ says Qu backstage at the disco. Her first single hit MTV Mandarin’s MTV Chart Countdown in 1997. After getting heavy rotation on MTV, Qu’s music aired on local TV stations and the all-music net Channel [V].
Her frequent guest spots on MTV Mandarin have also helped her secure a spot on the Chinese pop charts, not to mention her new career as a film actress. Qu has starred in 20 films and television dramas since her transformation from model/VJ.
Qu is just one wannabe star who’s benefited from her MTV gig. Belinda Lee, the VJ for MTV Mandarin’s Kan Yi Kan (Take a Look), which airs in Taiwan and Hong Kong, recently played a lead part in the Singapore film The Road Less Traveled. Her Southeast Asia counterpart Donita has starred in 30 movies and now also wants to break into the recording industry.