A Glimpse of Chinese Celebrity Team and Studio

Looking for new gigs, negotiating contracts, media planning, etc. Artists, especially popular celebrities, cannot cope with so many complicated things on their own. Every successful celebrity has a successful team behind.

Who are in a celebrity team?

Manager

A manager is undoubtedly the most important person in a team besides the celebrity, as he/she plays a significant role in whether the celebrity has a successful career. A manager must have a strong personal network to obtain good resources, and extensive industry experience to plan and execute suitable strategies as well as to resolve media crises. A manager’s tasks include but are not limited to representing and promoting celebrities, connecting resources, negotiating contracts, media and public relations, etc. If a manager works under an entertainment company, he/she is likely to manage multiple celebrities in the company. 

Many celebrities’ resources and career development suffer due to incapable or unreliable managers. Because of the huge impact, the majority of celebrities’ managers are either their own relatives or well-known managers in the entertainment industry.


“Mainland no.1 manager” Wang Jinghua, actor Dong Zijian’s mother, is the woman behind many top celebrities such as Chen Daoming, Ren Quan, Li Bingbing, Fan Bingbing, Hu Jun, etc. 
Huo Wenxi is dubbed “the golden medal manager” for making Nicholas Tse, Zhang Jiahui, Joey Yung, Twins popular as they are.
Li Bingbing’s current manager is her sister Li Xue (middle), who is also a well-known celebrity manager.

Assistant

There are generally one or more assistants per celebrity, sometimes divided into personal assistants and work assistants. Personal assistants take care of the celebrities’ daily lives including food, accommodations, belongings, transportations, etc. while work assistants help receive phone calls, arrange daily work, and manage the celebrities’ public social accounts. Personal assistants are undoubtedly the staff who appear most often around celebrities on daily basis.

Zhang Zhehan’s personal assistant is his childhood friend, Xiao Yu
TFBOYS’ personal assistants, Pang Hu (Jackson Yee’s assistant), Shi Qiang (Roy Wang’s assistant), and Xiao Ma (Karry Wang’s assistant, are well-known among the fandom as they’re really close to the members. They have taken care of the three since they were young and established such strong relationships.

Others

Other than managers and assistants, there are other important positions: 

  • Stylists are mainly responsible for the styling of the celebrity in events, commercial materials, etc… Stylists, especially famous stylists, are the key factor that helps upgrade celebrities’ images and fashion resources. A stylist can work with multiple celebrities, and vice versa, a celebrity can collaborate with multiple stylists at a time.
  • Besides stylists, celebrities may also have hairstylists to take care of their hairstyles, and makeup artists who best understand their facial features and make them glow up on important occasions.
  • When celebrities become popular, they will probably need bodyguards to prevent potential risks in hotel security, event security, etc., and protect them from unfavorable behaviors.
  • In addition, celebrities might also hire professional social content executives, fitness coaches, dance teachers, acting teachers, etc. based on their needs.
Angelababy’s makeup artist

Management Company vs. Studio

This is not all forms of management companies and celebrity studios, since the reality is much more complicated. An artist can collaborate with many other parties and build his/her own network in many ways.

Management company

If celebrities are managed directly by a management company, they have to follow the company’s manager and the company’s arrangements. 

There is little to no freedom in terms of project choices and career development. Although the more popular you are indeed the greater power you have in the company, there are many aspects still restricted or controlled by the company. For instance, artists have to participate in projects they don’t like because the company invests in those projects, or artists have to take unfavored projects to use their popularity to popularize other artists in the company. 

The resources will be distributed to multiple artists in the company, and the distribution is not even. The most popular artists or the artists best favored by the company will usually get the best parts of the cake. 

INTO1’s management company – Wajijiwa Entertainment

However, artists still look for big companies because of their rich experience and broad connections in the industry, hence, more and better resources. Also, artists will have more time to focus on their expertise without taking care of other complicated affairs since there are professional teams of managers, lawyers, stylists, makeup artists, etc. to support them.

Celebrity studio

When celebrities grow to a certain extent, they may want to set up studios and form dedicated teams of their own. Celebrities choose studios over management companies because of not only the great autonomy and the right to speak but also the practical, legal, and reasonable tax-saving method thanks to low registration threshold, low registration fee, simple operation, and simple taxes. However, the corresponding risks and costs are also high. 

There are generally 2 types of studios:

Independent studios

These studios are more like small companies. Artists are their own bosses; staff may contribute ideas but the artists have the final say. In this case, artists should have strong networks and certain positions in the industry. 

Studios of Huang Xiaoming, Huang Bo, Ruby Lin and Zhao Wei

These artists usually open multiple companies whose business often covers the management of the artists’ own affairs, movie and TV drama investment, film and music production, personal branding management, or even signing new artists. Each company has its own focuses. For example, Huang Xiaoming focuses on movie and TV drama investment; Huang Bo signs artists; Ruby Lin invests in TV dramas; Zhao Wei invests in film production and signs young artists; etc. 

Zhao Wei’s company – Beijing Pulin Production – focuses on film production and artist management

The freedom and the money are satisfying, but the workload the artists have to handle can be tremendously heavy. They will also be 100% responsible for any loss or career trade-off, due to inefficient team and operation.

Studios established by management companies

It’s common nowadays that companies set up studios for their artists and have dedicated teams to take care of them individually. Yang Yang and Yang Zi, for instance, have their own studios while still being under Yuekai Entertainment and Huanrui Century respectively. This kind of studio is not as independent as the former because the artists are still under the company’s control to a certain degree. Nonetheless, the artists will have resource advantages by making use of the company’s network. Besides that, the artists can collaborate with other film, music, media, and commercial companies to broaden their pools of resources (under the management companies’ supervision).

Yang Yang and Yang Zi have their own studios while still being under Yuekai Entertainment and Huanrui Century respectively

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