BUST: Sexy Beijing
Anna Sophie Loewenberg chronicles her search for love in China.
By Laura Barcella
“Since I’m in my 30s and still single, most Chinese people feel sorry for me,” writes Anna Sophie Loewenberg via email. “So they’re willing to talk.”
It’s a good thing, too. As host and creator of popular Internet TV show “Sexy Beijing,” getting people to open up is the feisty 32-year-old’s job. Loewenberg started the show as a spoof of “Sex and the City” after being bombarded by people telling her she looked like Sarah Jessica Parker. “Since so many Chinese women watch ‘Sex and the City,’” she explains, “I wanted to use the idea to draw people in.”
The show’s format is simple. Loewenberg – using her Chinese name Su Fei – opens each 6–10 minute episode (she’s made 15 so far) with a Carrie Bradshaw-esque voiceover, musing on the topic du jour. Sometimes it’s feminism in modern China; sometimes it’s Beijing’s obsession with wedding photography, and sometimes it’s more personal (Loewenberg’s search for her perfect “Chinese Jew” dream boy). Once the episode’s question is posed, on-the-street interviews with everyday people help Loewenberg gain insight on the topic at hand. “Basically, [it’s] me walking up to old Chinese men on the street and asking embarrassing questions about their love lives,” she writes.
Despite China’s rep for being a pretty conservative country, Anna Sophie’s disarming brains, charm and cuteness combo seems to be working. “Sexy Beijing” is infallibly entertaining and informative, offering cross-cultural perspectives on sex, dating and life in modern China. And hey, hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers can’t be wrong.
The Los Angeles-born host moved to Beijing in 1996, shortly after graduating from college. Before arriving, she didn’t know much about China beyond its role in her family history. “My grandparents fled Nazi Germany with my father in 1933 and moved to Shanghai, so I always wanted to go to China,” she says.
Fortunately for her dude fans, Loewenberg still hasn’t found her hunka hunka burning Chinese Jewish love. She is, however, engaging in some “very heavy dating” at the moment.
What does one of these dates usually consist of? “It’s more fun [dating in Beijing] because…we usually end up watching pirated DVDs at home instead of going to a movie theater,” she says. “And being on a couch is always more fun on a date!”
Intrigued? Then watch her in action at www.sexybeijing.tv.