China has had a crush on Taiwanese actor Eddie Peng for ages. A byword for ‘hunky,’ Peng has more than 32 million followers on Weibo. Fans fancy Peng so much that his name is even used as an adjective to describe a handsome and sexually appealing guy.
Recently, the actor has attracted attention on Weibo for different reasons. Netizens have pointed out how Peng, who is one of some 26 million people in Shanghai’s ongoing lockdown, has begun to look more like ‘the boy next door’ ever since going into quarantine.
In early April, photos of Peng taking his PCR test circulated on Weibo. The actor also posed for pictures with volunteers in his compound. There’s nothing out of the ordinary in these shots — Peng is ever the charming celebrity.
But as lockdown continues to drag on, everyone — even celebrities — is caring less about their personal appearances, aka going into ‘goblin mode,’ and ‘letting it rot‘ — Chinese internet slang for allowing things to deteriorate.
Proving that he has let go of the star pressure to look meticulous in public, as demonstrated by his messy hair (in his defense, it is near impossible to get a professional haircut during lockdown), Peng recently shared disheveled photos of himself on Chinese social media.
It didn’t take long for the above photos to go viral on Weibo, where a related hashtag has accumulated more than 170 million views.
The images have also been the catalyst for a new prank: Netizens have been forwarding Peng’s photos to their relatives, saying that this is someone they’d like to bring home. Rendered unrecognizable by his new appearance, Peng has met the disapproval of many Chinese parents.
In a clip, a concerned mom can be heard saying, “He looks like he is in his 50s and is not that good looking.”
Another mom expressed concern over Peng’s hairstyle and lamented, “His hair looks like a bird’s nest.” Ouch.
Fortunately, the star seems to enjoy making everyone laugh at his own expense. He has even been reposting imitations of his funny hairstyle on Instagram stories.
The celebrity’s agency has jumped on board with the joke by posting stylized photos of Peng on Weibo (seen below) with the caption: “Used to be handsome.”
Though he might not look his best right now, Peng’s candid interactions with his fans and down-to-earth personality have scored him brownie points with Chinese netizens.
For example, one fan gushed, “He is adorable, and he keeps it real, and that’s how you should live.”
Cover image via Xiaohongshu