In China, livestreaming is an even bigger industry than it is in America. The BBC reports that the Asian superpower is currently home to over 425 million video content producers. It’s also a lucrative field that reportedly generates $4.3 billion in annual revenue. But many performers use image filters, makeup, and plastic surgery to make themselves more appealing in such a crowded field.
Indeed, one popular Chinese streamer just accidentally revealed her public image was more artifice than reality. “Your Highness Qiaobiluo” got caught faking her appearance via a mid-stream glitch. Though she used filters to portray herself as a young woman, the performer is actually in her late 50s.
Catfishing the Audience
Qiaobiluo Dianxia had a large and generous following on the Chinese social network DouYu, before being exposed. Her dedicated audience of 100,000 users lavished her with four-figure donations. However, Your Highness never broadcast with her face visible. But she did post pictures of an attractive woman in her mid-20s on her social media accounts.
While Qiaobiluo’s posted images are real selfies, the pictures she put online were heavily altered. In reality, the performer is 58 years old. The truth came out while she hosted a July 25 livestream with fellow vlogger Qingzi. During the broadcast, Your Highness concealed her face behind an animated avatar. However, she promised to drop the facade in exchange for a significant donation.
“I can’t show my face until I receive gifts worth 100,000 yuan ($11,950),” Qiaobiluo said. “After all, I’m a good-looking host.”
Midway through the stream, the performer’s avatar vanished due to a glitch. Unexpectedly, the vlogger’s true visage and real age became public knowledge.
Viewers reportedly fled the stream en masse following the revelatory software glitch. Some disgruntled fans even demanded donation refunds. News of the performer’s deception spread like wildfire on Chinese social media. At one point, more than 600 million people read posts tagged “female vlogger experiences bug showing her old lady face.”
Chinese TV news stations even reported on the controversy.
The public has had a mixed response to Qiaobiluo’s identity reveal. Some commentators slammed Your Highness as a “fake” and a “fraud.” Other users insulted the streamer’s fans for giving money to someone they didn’t know.
Despite the initial backlash, the vlogger’s career hasn’t collapsed in the wake of her exposure. Since the doomed livestream, Qiaobiluo has picked up 500,000 new subscribers on DouYu. She also said she plans to expand her brand by becoming a rapper.
The moral of Your Highness’ story seems to be that it’s important to be yourself. Or, at least, it’s important to be yourself after building a large audience by pretending to be someone completely different.