Imagine you’re in an interview, and your potential employer asks:
“How would you rate the people around you?”
What would you say?
This curveball question has sneaked its way into countless real life interviews, but few could have handled it better than Li Hui Zhen (Dilmurat Dilraba). Her out-of-the-box response in the first episode of “Pretty Li Hui Zhen” is enough to hook the undecided, uncommitted viewer to follow along.
The Chinese remake of the hit 2015 Korean drama “She Was Pretty” is airing right now. Ranking No. 1 in its time slot, “Pretty Li Hui Zhen” is the love story between a former beauty and her childhood friend who experience a reversal of fortune. Li Hui Zhen was a pretty girl when she was little, but years of hardships have taken a toll on her physical appearance. Her childhood friend Bai Hao Yu (Peter Sheng) was short, chubby, and unpopular as a kid, but grew up to be a successful and handsome adult. When Bai tracks down Li to reconnect, Li is embarrassed by her looks and situation, so she sends her stylish best friend and roommate, Xia Qiao (Sierra Li), in her place. Things get complicated when Li lands an internship at a fashion magazine she’s been dying to break into, and finds out that Bai is none other than her new boss. As she scrambles to hide her true identity, magazine reporter Lin Yi Mu (Zhang Vin) begins to like her. How long can she keep up this game of hide and seek?
Starting a new job is never easy. The anxious waiting period after the interview, the joy of acceptance, the new faces, the complicated relationships, the flurry of new tasks, the doubts, uncertainty, and hopes that come with a new career are deeply resonant for any rookie venturing into the big bad world. This drama holds you by the hand and takes you down memory lane to your first job, where you learned (for better or worse) the definition of “colleague.” The conniving, the stingy, the ill- or well-intentioned people of the workplace somehow all found caricatures of themselves on the screen. Watching Li Hui Zhen stumble across the obstacle course that is the modern day workplace, you can’t help but root for her to succeed.
By a weird stroke of luck, Li Hui Zhen landed a job at a fashion magazine. But in actuality, she is light-years away from the realm of fashion. To Li Hui Zhen, pointy toes and Double Ts are the same thing as her canvas runners and student backpack. She can brush off the social slight from Bai Hao Yu and other coworkers, because she’s got the staunch support of best friend, Xia Qiao, who always has her back. When Li Hui Zhen is bullied, Xia Qiao gets even more furious than Li. When Li is lost and confused and ready to give up, Xia shakes her awake. The stylish Xia Qiao teaches Li Hui Zhen the ins and outs of fashion, covering everything from how to put together an outfit to makeup 101. She is Li Hui Zhen’s harbor of love and guidance. Awash with gratitude, Li says to Xia, “From now on, there are only two things in my life: work and YOU!”
The Chinese adaption focused on writing down-to-earth dialogue. Incorporating witty banter and catch phrases in sync with speech habits of modern Chinese society, the drama quickly endeared itself to the audience. “No sick days, no client meetings, and NO periods!” This line may sound funny on screen, but getting time off from work in real life is just as hard. You can’t help but smile with understanding.
Fans of Dilmurat Dilraba are itching to see her makeover episode in “Pretty Li Hui Zhen.” This Xinjiang actress is gorgeous despite the freckles and fizzy hair. She played an uber glam movie star in “Diamond Lover” similar to Cheon Song Yi in “My Love From the Star.” With a face that looks like Yang Mi and a sense of comedy similar to Jun Ji Hyun, we can’t wait to see her beautiful transformation.
Soompiers, have you been watching “Pretty Li Hui Zhen”? What do you love about the show?
Watch the first episode here:
michelledong is a Soompi Features Writer. When she’s not straining her neck muscles to find The Next Great Korean Drama, she’s writing her book 2 Questions Every Girl is Asking Herself & casting Kim Soo Hyun as her dream lead.