The recent Academy Awards minted a new star in China, Timothee Chalamet, a best actor nominee for — ironically — “Call Me By Your Name”.
He is known as “Tian Cha” or “Sweet Tea”, a play on the first syllables in his names and a nod to his heartthrob looks.
He is now among the hottest celebrities on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, the subject of posts like: “Come and drink this cup of sweet tea, until the summer.”
Yep. I sure did pop in to my pop up store unannounced today in Sydney. I think the customers just thought they were bringing in another mannequin 💁#KPPOPUP
Things are not so sweet these days, however, for “Shui Guo Jie” or “Fruit Sister”, also known as Katy Perry, so-dubbed because of the fruit-coloured costumes she is known to perform in.
In China’s hyperactive cybersphere, some names get propagated to the point where some people might find them obscure, as in the case of actress Jennifer Lawrence, or “Da Biaojie” (“Big Cousin”).
British actor Tom Hardy is known as “Tang Lao Shi”. “Lao Shi” means “always wet”, apparently because of his typically slicked-back hair.
Another hair-inspired name belongs to Benedict Cumberbatch, who sports a curly top in the “Sherlock Holmes” series and has been dubbed “Juan Fu” (“Curly blessing”).
China’s passion for flavourful food has led to “Xiao Tian Tian” (“Little Sweetie”) for Britney Spears.
“Ma La Ji” (“Little Spicy Chicken”) for sex-symbol singer Nicki Minaj. Although we’re not quite sure how she’s a chicken
Last but not least, there’s Jennifer Lopez, whose well-known posterior has earned her the designation “Luo Ba”, or “Lord of Butt”.