A doll-faced student with an impressive muscular physique known as “King Kong Barbie” has become a recent sensation on Chinese social media.
Cheng Lu, 21, may stand a petite 5 feet and 1 inch, but she can lift 120 kilograms (264.5 pounds) on a squat — more than twice her current body weight.
With innocent looks and bulging muscles, Cheng became known as “King Kong Barbie” on video platforms such as Kuaishou and Douyin, where she livestreams daily exercise sessions to thousands of viewers.
She has amassed a total of 300,000 followers on both platforms to date, despite having started her livestreams only three months ago.
Cheng, a native of Fushun province in northeastern China, first came to bodybuilding in secondary school after an invitation from a classmate to a local competition.
“I thought the women in the competition were very beautiful. They displayed a different sense of beauty and looked very healthy. That game left a deep impression on me,” she told the Daily Mail.
The encounter inspired Cheng to pursue bodybuilding as a major at Shenyang Sports College.
“Traditionally, Chinese people think women should look weak to be beautiful, but who says we can’t do things men can do, just like Mulan in the ancient times.”
Like other women, Cheng enjoys cute or “kawaii” fashion, but her unconventional interest in bodybuilding has triggered confusion among some netizens.
“Many people say they can’t understand me, they can’t understand why a young woman like me would want to look muscular. They even say I wouldn’t be able to find a husband in the future,” she said. “But I think different people are exposed to different social networks, therefore we all have different sense of beauty and value.”
Cheng, however, is avoiding getting into a relationship at present. She has received proposals from thousands of pursuers, but has rejected all of them.
“I’m a relatively independent person. I don’t want to have a boyfriend at this point,” she told Tencent News.
Still, the 21-year-old has a clear picture of her type. And whoever he is, he can expect to be protected at all times.
“He must be independent, not clingy like me, has perseverance and goals, can devote himself to doing one thing … I don’t want to be a sweetheart a baby. Be my boyfriend and I will protect you.”
Last year, Cheng landed fourth place at the Bodybuilding National Championship, an event organized by the China Body Building Association. It was her best result to date.
She hopes to participate in more professional competitions. “I have two workout sessions every day to exercise different parts of my body, including my chest, shoulders, back, arms and thighs.”
The 21-year-old may not be an everyday sight to some, but her ultimate goal is just like many others’.
“I hope to achieve a healthy body and encourage people around me to do so too.”
Featured Images via Kuaishou / @Xiaobabilulu