Li Ziqi: Chinese Youtuber Skyrockets from Farm to Fame

Feb 27, 2020 | China, CULTURE, POP, TASTE, US

Li Ziqi Biography Cover ©LiziqiShop

The moment you wake up, Li Ziqi is already on her way to tend to her plants. As you’re stuck in traffic, she is enjoying the fresh breeze on her farm. Get to know the Chinese wonder girl that captured the world with her idyllic depiction of farm life.

For centuries, city living has been so romanticized, people in rural cities leave their quiet towns to try their luck in the busy metro. However, accidental online superstar Li Ziqi shook this notion with her beautifully-made videos. 

Who is Li Ziqi?

While most internet stars rely on flashy clothes and parties to keep their status, Li Ziqi is the polar opposite of what you’d expect a social media influencer to be. Born in the ’90s in a mountainous village in Pingwu, Mianyang City, she posts captivating videos that showcase her life in the province. Since her debut in Youtube, her channel attracts a whopping 9 Million subscribers.

The vlogger now lives in the scenic town of Sichuan, China, and usually wears a modified Hanfu, a version of Chinese traditional clothing, as she showcases her expertise in farming mushrooms, and rice, among many others.  She also uses traditional tools.

For her fans, she is dubbed as a wonder woman. With her videos making furniture, she gracefully achieves what many people cannot even imagine doing. Li Ziqi beautifully highlights her adventures in the countryside and letting people stuck in the hustle and bustle of the city experience what it’s like to live a quiet and simple life.

Through her videos, people around the world can discover her amazing farming life, as she fuses key elements of traditional Chinese food production and pastoral life, with modern cinematography and editing. Not only that, she also delves into the traditional concept of man and nature.

Early Life and Influence

Li Ziqi was strongly influenced by her grandfather who worked as a cook in the countryside. Whenever there was a big ceremony such as weddings, her grandfather would take charge of the kitchen as he cooked a wide array of Chinese dishes. This is where she learned her techniques. Not only that, her grandfather was also talented and passed on practical skills such as fishing, growing vegetables, making traditional medicines, and even doing carpentry work.

While looking at her videos, it may be tempting to think that the online celebrity has always had a beautiful life. However, her journey wasn’t easy. Her parents divorced when she was still a little girl, and her father died at an early age. Although she grew up poor, she still considered it as a stable upbringing.

While most girls moved on to middle school as they entered their teenage years, Li Ziqi quit her studies to support herself by working. She has not lived an easy life – having slept under bridges, caves, worked as an electrician, DJ, and waitress, she realized the meaning of struggle.

After dedicating her life to her jobs for close to a decade, she developed a clear picture of what she wanted. When her grandmother got sick, she decided to return to her hometown to take care of her. Her life here was simple – she started to work early in the morning and earned a living through farming.

Li Ziqi’s Mesmerizing Videos

When China’s interest in videos grew in 2015, it was the same time she found out that her brother had a Meipai, a Chinese app for short videos. This inspired her to record her own videos to upload on the app to attract more people to visit her Taobao shop (similar to Amazon).

Because her videos did not gain recognition initially, she decided to stop. But after noticing her brother amassing followers on Social media, she was once again inspired to try it since she needed a new platform to help her earn money.

She decided to show off what she does best – cooking using her homegrown ingredients. Her fame grew quickly after food experts showcasing her videos on Weibo in April 2016, her follower number grew quickly, and the rest is history.

She initially shot videos from her iPhone and asked people in her village and family to help her. Now, she has a team of three people helping her make content, which includes a photographer and an assistant.  

The Epitome of Farm Life

It’s hard not to be enamored and inspired by her simple life. With videos that make you feel as if you just entered a time machine, there’s truly no stopping this charismatic lady.

Due to the cinematic quality of her videos and fast rise to stardom, people online quickly pointed out she may be an undercover-propaganda for the country. She is viewed by the Chinese government as a successful culture promoter thanks to her idealized farm life. This may be the reason why she is on YouTube, which is typically not allowed by communist leaders.