Promotion about Ode to Joy 2 tends to emphasize Wang Kai and Wang Zi Wen because of their extreme popularity from When a Snail Falls in Love, but did you know Liu Tao is the actress that leads the excellent ensemble cast for the romantic franchise? Let's find out more about one of the top actresses in China.

1. Liu Tao grew up poor in a single-parent family with many children, and she learned to do chores at a young age. In 1993, at the age of 15, she was selected to enter the Army Art Troupe affiliated with the Nanjing Military Region. She spent the next three years to study performance while living a military-style regimented life including getting up at 5 am everyday, jogging 3 km (almost 2 miles), and even growing vegetables and feeding pigs. Perhaps the discipline and a strong will to survive prepared her for the bigger challenges to come.

(Liu Tao's natural beauty can be seen in this old photo taken when she was in the army troupe.)

2. In 2000, 22-year-old Liu Tao debuted in TV dramas after filming some commercials. She has since starred in many TV and cinema productions including modern and historical genres, and won many awards for her acting and popularity.

Here is how Liu Tao looked in the 2003 martial arts drama, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils:

3. In the famous 2015 historical drama, Nirvana in Fire, her Princess Ni Huang stayed true to her fiancé, Lin Shu (Hu Ge), believing he was dead and didn't recognize him when he returned under a new face and identity. The scene when she finally realized his real identity was one of the most heart-wrenching moments.

Princess Ni Huang is also a strong female character as a military commander for the Emperor.

4. Nirvana in Fire achieved prominence for both its high-quality production and popular reception, and Liu Tao, Hu Ge, and Wang Kai's characters are now immortalized with wax figures at the famous Madame Tussauds galleries in China.

5. Liu Tao is also an excellent singer. She even won the championship in Crossover Singers, a 2016 reality show that featured well-known actors competing in singing. (The competition also included Wang Kai and Wang Zi Wen.) 

Watch her secure the final win by singing "Woman Flower" after 3 months of intense tournaments:

6. Celebrities often make headlines with ups and downs in their entertainment careers. For Liu Tao, she is probably most famous, and admired, for having stayed loyal to her husband and marriage when the wealthy businessman was nearly bankrupt from a huge financial crisis soon after they married in 2008. She originally planned to retire but returned to acting to support her family. They have a son and a daughter together.

In Ode to Joy (1 and 2), Liu Tao plays Andie, a financial wiz who returns to China as a CFO at a company in Shanghai. Among the young women who meet as neighbors in the same apartment building, Andie's particular challenge is her orphaned childhood that has left an indelible mark. Beneath her strong and professional facade, she finds it difficult to accept a normal relationship in love.


Ode to Joy 2 - 欢乐颂2

Starring Liu Tao and Jiang Xin

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By the way, Tao (濤) in Liu Tao's Chinese name (劉濤) means big waves. It seems to symbolically predict how the beautiful but also strong and self-reliant actress will overcome unexpected upheavals in life.

Isn't Liu Tao amazing?

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