William Grimes: She Landed in a Hot TV Soap in a Cool China

From the New York Times, a review of "Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China" (Rachel DeWoskin)

Ms. DeWoskin is still trying to figure out what happened. Why did the Chinese adore a barely competent nonactress whose voice was dubbed to make her Mandarin sound even worse that it was? Why did the producers dress her in a bright-red business suit and a fur coat when she was supposed to be an exchange student? And how could it possibly be that she earned only $80 an episode on a series watched by some 600 million viewers in China?

These and other imponderables perplex Ms. DeWoskin as she recounts, in this deft, daffy comedy of errors, her improbable adventures as a soap opera queen and her fumbling journey through the new entrepreneurial China.


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