Wang Yibo (Chinese: 王一博; Korean: 왕일박), born on August 5th, 1997 is a Chinese actor, dancer, rapper, host, and a professional auto racer. He is one of the members of popular Korean-Chinese boyband UNIQ, under Yuehua Entertainment. He debuted as a member of UNIQ in 2014 with the song “Falling in Love” and made his acting debut with the movie “MBA Partners” in 2016. He drew widespread appreciation for his portrayal of Lan Wangji in the 2019 Bromance “The Untamed.”
– Edited by TheFNGee
Wang Yibo as an Actor
Playing a character like Lan Wangji isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. He is fierce, intense, and follows a strict regimen. His life revolves around the 3000 or so odd rules set by the Gusu Lanling sect. Lan Wangji has spent his entire lifetime adhering to the principles taught by his Uncle, the Sect’s Elder. He is an excellent swordsman and an even more accomplished player of the zither.
I’m sure for a relative newcomer like Yibo, to exercise such tight control over his emotions must have been an arduous task. But Yibo seemed to do it effortlessly. He embodied Lan Wangji’s body, mind, and soul, so much so that you cannot imagine anyone else portraying this role.
So what happens when our stoic spiritual maestro meets the love of his life? Wei Wuxian is free-spirited, good-natured, yet stubborn in his own ways. We get to see a tug of war where Wei Wuxian tries hard to break down the personal walls around Lan Wangji. Yibo had to entirely act out an expressionless guy who puts his sect’s rules before everything. While Xiao Zhan, as Wei Wuxian had a plethora of emotions to express, Wang Yibo’s “Lan Wangji” micro-expressions leave a lot to desire. The first time he smiled, the entire fan base reacted with excitement.
It might seem that Yibo’s character gets overshadowed by Xiao Zhan’s bright and cheerful Wei Wuxian but make no mistakes. If Wei Wuxian is the brains, then Lan Wangji is the brawn. Even though they start as ‘frenemies,’ once Lan Wangji pledges his trust, it’s a lifelong bond. You have to admire Yibo’s persistence as he effortlessly fights and defeats armies to protect the one person he loves.
The persistence doesn’t wane even after Wei Wuxian goes missing for 16 years. There is a valid change in Lan Wangji’s character when he finally meets Wei Wuxian for the first time, but the one thing that doesn’t change is the intensity with which he looks at Wei Wuxian. Yibo’s eyes manage to express his countless emotions, and as such, require no words spoken. That’s saying quite a lot for a character who refused to let strangers touch his headband.
Lan Wangji’s character becomes more expressive in the second half of the series. Although he still acts as the strict Lord Hanguang when the disciples are around, his demeanor changes whenever faced with a cheerful Wei Wuxian. These little details might seem inconsequential, but they convey an ocean of emotions, like the tiny smile that lights up on Lan Wangji’s face or the way his gaze softens when Wei Wuxian walks into a room. It would seem that he is literally thanking his lucky stars for returning Wei Wuxian to him. Yibo didn’t fail or falter in making his presence known. His character glimmered, despite the lack of lengthy dialogues or unnecessary punchlines. You could look into his eyes and see the love reflected back.
His Chemistry With Xiao Zhan
The drama showcases an unusual love story. Wei Wuxian is intelligent, mischievous yet has his own flaws. Lan Wangji, on the other hand, is an enigma, beautiful yet untouched. The character has shades of complexity, driven by the pain he experienced as a child when he lost his parents. The two of then have numerous clashes because Wei Wuxian is a carefree spirit, and Lan Wangji can’t understand his capricious nature. But when opposites meet, attraction is bound to happen.
Their relationship takes a sudden turn when the Wen Clan Leader starts attacking and ruthlessly killing the remaining Clans to assemble the long lost Yin Iron pieces. They become adversaries first, fighting beside each other, which slowly brings them closer. But even after the problems with the Wen Clan tide over, things are never easy for our handsome couple.
I truly appreciate Wang Yibo’s acting in this particular scene. Innocent Wen Clan members are being ruthlessly punished, and to save them, Wei Wuxian decides to give them a safe haven in the Burial Grounds. You can see the helplessness and pain in Yibo’s eyes as he tries to communicate Lan Wangji’s feelings about separating from his lover yet again and also the fear about possible consequences.
Even though they might be separated and Wei Wuxian might have been branded as a rebel, that wouldn’t stop Lan Wangji from searching for him. I loved the significance of this scene because this was the first time Lan Wangji met his future adoptive son Yuan. Unknowingly, Yuan became the connection that kept Lan Wangji’s hope alive for 16 years, after Wei Wuxian falls to his death. Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo both didn’t need explicit scenes to make this relationship known. Lan Wangji & Wei Wuxian’s love story spanned across decades, transcending time and yet remained pure beyond belief.
Sixteen years later, when Wei Wuxian returns as Mo Xuanyu, time stands still. “Wangxian” is the love duet that Lan Wangji wrote for Wei Wuxian. So when Mo Xuanyu plays the tune, Lan Wangji recognizes him even despite the mask. Countering various protests, accusations, and arguments, Lan Wangji stands beside Wei Wuxian and promises to guard him. He failed once; he wouldn’t fail again.
When Lan Xichen explains how Lan Wangji never stopped searching for Wei Wuxian and that he considers Wei Wuxian as his ‘Soulmate,’ we feel the emotional depth of their relationship. We feel blessed to witness this love saga. For me, romance isn’t normally about kissing scenes or explicit lovemaking sessions. It is more about understanding, mutual respect, adoration, and a healthy dose of reality. Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo managed to put forth all of these intricacies and spelled out the romance in the most viable way possible.
Wang Yibo and Xiao Zhan were already hugely popular music icons, so they bonded over their love for music. Hearing them sing the love duet “Wu Ji” will leave you mesmerized.
The great comfort and friendship they share offscreen translate into good chemistry onscreen. They even have nicknames for each other like “ZhanGe” and “Didi.” Wang Yibo is actually the total opposite of his onscreen character. He is mischievous and loves playing pranks on an oblivious Xiao Zhan. Watching them fool around in the BTS is a real joy.
They both perfectly balance each other. Xiao Zhan being elder of the two always looks out for Yibo in events as well as interviews. Zhan is very protective and always guides Yibo. But Xiao Zhan is also very sensitive, and that’s where Yibo stands strong as his silent support. There are umpteen videos of Yibo standing guard against his Zhange in the last “Untamed Concert,” where Xiao got overwhelmed seeing their fan’s reactions.
Wang Yibo As a Person
Those who have watched “The Untamed” are generally curious about Wang Yibo and rightly so. While studying at the Hanlim Multi Art School, Wang participated in the IBD Dance Competition. Emerging as one of the top sixteen candidates, he immediately became a trainee of Yunhue Entertainment.
In 2018, Wang became a dance mentor in the reality survival show “Produce 101.” If you have watched him dance, you will appreciate the fact that he became a K-Pop idol. He dances with an uncommon exuberance, and I really must say he is quite good. No wonder the show bought him recognition for his dancing skills.
Although he starred in various films and television dramas, it was “The Untamed” that made him an International Star. However, you would be shocked to know that the Producers of the show weren’t keen on casting him as “Lan Wangji” because of his K-pop idol status until he turned up at the auditions and won them over. We got to be happy with these events because imagine someone else playing this character role.
Wang Yibo was subsequently listed in the “Forbes China Celebrity 100 list” for the first time, ranking 71st. He was also on the “Under 30 Asia 2019” list, which consists of 30 influential people less than 30 years old who have made substantial contributions to their fields.
Yibo enjoys dolling up and prefers luxury brands like Air Jordan, Chrome Heart, Givenchy, Armani, and HBA. Also, Yibo is the Brand Ambassador for various skincare and makeup brands like Shu Uemura and Origins.
He is not just an actor, singer, and dancer but also a professional motorcycle racer, working with Team Yamaha. He raced in August 2019 in the Asian Road Racing Championship in Xiangzhou, Zhuhai, China, and won prizes in both categories. His love for motorcycles extends to helmets as well. He is said to have an entire collection of fashionable, expensive helmets. His love for the color green, which, according to Yibo, “motivates people to move forward” can be seen in every aspect of his life. From his motorcycle, racing uniform, and skateboard, everything he owns is in green color.
Yibo is also deadly-afraid of the dark. He has openly accepted that he either leaves the TV on in hotels or his hall lights are on while he sleeps at night in his apartment. He is also quite afraid of bugs, and those who have watched “The Untamed” BTS would have probably noticed him squealing like a kid whenever Xiao Zhan would chase him around the sets with a bug in hand.
Yibo is obsessed with Legos and mostly chooses robots or race car sets. He has so many built and unbuilt sets at home that he is running out of space to store him. Did I say he is still a little kid at heart? If that wasn’t enough, he is an avid skateboarder, so much so that he takes his skateboard everywhere with him. This has to be one of the reasons why he joined “Extreme Youth” to expend his excess energy.
He is a huge fan of Big Bang, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown, Rihanna, A$AP, Kanye West, Beyonce, and Eason Chen, and his favorite actor is Eddie Peng. Yibo also works as an ambassador for top brands like Marie Claire, Vogue, Chanel.
Yibo was recently in the news for lashing out at stalker fans, who even placed a location tracker on his car. In an emotional post, on his Weibo account, he pleaded for understanding with his fans:
“My work is so tiring, can’t I just sleep a little bit in the car? My staff is standing right in front of your car, and yet you still dare to drive forwards. For a long time now, I will have strangers knocking on my hotel room door, someone even placed a location tracker in my car. No matter where I go, there is always someone following me.”
Yibo’s management agency Yue Hua Entertainment in an official statement, wrote that it had taken legal action “Please do not follow our cars, chase after our cars or follow us onto airplanes. Do not gather and mob (our artists) in public places like airports, hotels, and shooting locations. Do not sell information about schedules, locations, and take photos of film shoots that are not meant to be released to the public.”
I’m hoping that the fans understand his predicaments and try to be more understanding of Yibo’s situation.
Here’s hoping that sooner or later, we get to watch Wang Yibo star in another BL drama, preferably with Xiao Zhan, because such chemistry should not be missed. Fingers crossed!