Here’s two photoshoots of 42-year-old Ma Yili and 38-year-old Yao Chen from earlier this fall as they promoted their new film. At the press conference, the two were asked about difficulties in finding good roles as an older women. Yao Chen said the two are still considered young actresses while Ma Yili said that “Actresses don’t need to panic … The best period of your life is just around the corner.” It certainly is for the two of them, who has continued to have one popular work after another.
Although the two actresses play mothers in this film, I actually do see an increasing number of lead roles for women above 30 in non-mother roles, probably in line with increasing age of marriage in China. There’s also been a lot more of older woman- younger man relationships in idol dramas. For example, 38-year-old Dong Jie recently starred in an idol dramas opposite 26-year-old Han Dongjun and 31-year-old Zhai Tianlin, 33-year-old Tong Yao (her character is younger) liked 18-year-old Chen Feiyu’s character in Ever Night, the then-42-year-old Yan Ni paired with the then 31-year-old Hu Ge. As the latest and perhaps first crop of idol drama leads from mainland ( Tang Yan comes to mind) grows up, I can easily see many of them starring in rom-coms well into their 40’s and maybe even older.