Fenfen Huang

Fenfen Huang is an actress, dancer and Director of China Pearl, a non -profit arts & culture organisation based in Liverpool.

Fenfen recently co-starred in a Chinese blockbuster ‘Operation Red Sea’, one of China’s most successful box office hits from 2018. Her other acting credits include 2018 National Geographic TV  hit show ‘Mars 2’ and 2016 Hollywood film ‘Now You See ME 2’.

She received training in some of the top dance institutes around the world, including Beijing Dance Academy, for which she was awarded scholarships and Arts Council England funding several times, The Place and Laban in London, Broadway Studio in New York, LIPA in Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Community College.

Despite her late start to be a professional dancer, her drive, enthusiasm and experiences made her a unique dance artist.

She was nominated for 2015 Asian Women of Achievements and 2014 Women of the Future Award, and was runner up for 2013 Merseyside Women of the Year.

Please tell us about your childhood

I was born in the city of Linhai in Zhejiang province on the eastern coast of China. My family is traditional, I have an older sister and nephew whom am very close to.

My Dad was strict growing up especially with my studies but a real softie on the inside. My mum is very loving and selfless. My family is close and my greatest support system, without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. My Dad worked in the police force and mum used to run a convenience store.

The city I grew up in Linhai is a beautiful historic and cultural, It has an ancient city wall or Southern Great Wall which was the blueprint for the famous Great Wall in North China during  the Ming dynasty. It is also the longest and best preserved ancient commercial street in China.


Though the city is scenic with lakes, parks, and mountains it is also a modern city with the country’s leading private enterprises.

I grew up in a suburban area where my Dad worked before moving to the city at the age of 16, those early years were simple and far away from materialistic things. I loved playing outdoors in the rivers, mountains and on the farm with my friends. I remember my childhood friends and I would get into trouble a couple of times, we were caught picking raspberries on a stranger’s farm and nearly set a hill on fire!  I cherish the freedom and unworldliness that environment gave me, this influenced my love of nature and being outdoors. I had a very happy and care-free childhood, even though our living conditions were basic I felt loved by my family, teachers and friends and the joy was pure and invaluable.

What experiences influenced you and how?

All my life experiences have influenced me, but the ones which influenced me the most is my upbringing in China and studying and living in the UK. Those experiences underpin my command of both Chinese and English languages and understanding of both eastern and western cultures which give me inspiration for my creative work. This has also greatly supported my arts and culture projects and opened doors of opportunities to connect with other parts of the world.

Why did you move to UK?

I came to the UK to study in University of Liverpool, I have always been fascinated with Europe, its scenery and diversity made UK my first choice. Besides I love languages and wanted to experience different cultures.

Though It was tough for me to leave my family behind and even tougher for my parents especially my mum , am glad I made the move because it helped me broaden my horizon, live independently and build connections Internationally.

Why did you start China Pearl?

I am very passionate about Chinese dance and culture and wanted to share our culture with a western audience. Whilst studying at the University of Liverpool, I found there was no Chinese New Year variety show/gala in campus, which is a tradition in China. I decided to set up the first one in the university which was a great success because Chinese culture is very colourful, diverse and dynamic.

After graduating from Liverpool University and the dance course, I set up China Pearl to promote and showcase Chinese arts and culture in a professional setting and cultural exchange between the East and west.

Tell us about your most defining moments/ experiences in life

The most defining moments in my life are many but I would say it is when my childhood dream of being a dancer became a reality, I became a dancer then set up China Pearl which led to acting years later and also when I graduated with a degree in Environment & Town Planning.

How did you transition to be an actress?

When I was studying at university, I started doing TV/film extra and modelling work so I gained some experience in TV/film industry but not professional acting.

After a decade of being a dancer I wanted to explore acting for practical reasons, good thing is acting is not so restricted by age as dancing and I like performing in general.

I started acting classes and did short films to build my acting portfolio. Acting is not an easy career, you need to be strong headed and persistent but I have been quite lucky with all the opportunities I have had.

What challenges have you faced as you pursued your passion?

Challenges have been in areas of finance, time and mental strength. As an actress or dancer, you need to constantly take up training/classes to improve yourself so you will be ready when opportunities come. This requires financial investment and time because you are travelling to auditions/castings and building portfolios etc.

To supplement my income and support my dream I worked in restaurants, bars, shops and museums to support myself, at times it was tricky to keep the balance of what was reality and what was a dream. Acting or dancing is not for the faint hearted you get many rejections but you need to keep going.

What has been your proudest moments and why?

So far my proudest moment was when I co-starred in one of the most successful Chinese films, ‘Operation Red Sea’, the highest grossing Asian film in 2018, which also entered 2019 Oscars though not nominated in the end. It was my first Chinese film and the reaction to the film in China was overwhelming, it was nice that my family and friends in China went to see it and were very proud of me; making people I love happy through my acting is really the proudest and sweetest thing I could have done.

What’s next for Fenfen?

Filming a short film series ‘Dead End III’ in London, I play the lead antagonist  I am looking forward to that. I am also working on a play about a Chinese legend, which I have always wanted to produce. Also a couple of films, a Hollywood production and a Chinese film, are in the pipeline but not confirmed yet; fingers crossed.

What advice would you give to young women about to pursue their career in arts and media?

Follow your heart and dream, polish your skills, be professional and friendly, hope for the best and prepare for the worst

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