Short Story of Li Ziqi

Who is Li Ziqi?

Li Ziqi, born 6 July 1990, is a Chinese food and country-life blogger, entrepreneur, and internet celebrity. She is known for creating food and handicraft preparation videos in her hometown of rural Pingwu, Mianyang, Sichuan, often from basic ingredients and tools using traditional Chinese techniques. 

Li Ziqi now has over 70 millions followers on various social media such as YouTube, TikTok and  Weibo. You can follow her on following social media:

Li Ziqi’s Story

Even she is now living in the dream life of many people, her life before fame was quite hard. Li Ziqi had a miserable childhood. After her parents divorced, she was abused by her stepmother. Since her father passed away, she became an orphan at a very young age. Afterward, her grandmother raised her in the remote Sichuan Mountains and gave the little girl lots of care and love.

Before becoming a vlogger, she did various jobs including being DJ in bars. Later in 2012, her grandmother got sick which made her decide to move back to her hometown so that she could take care of her grandmother. The old lady who often appears in her videos is her grandmother. The love and bond between grandmother and granddaughter are also a part of her fairy tale.

How Li Ziqi's Story Started

In the beginning, Li Ziqi just wanted to help improve the sale in her Taobao online shop by shooting some traditional Chinese country-life videos. Gradually, she got more and more attention and then had her shooting team (one photographer and one assistant) to help create the videos. The vlog content is almost covering everything, including Chinese cooking, handcraft making as well as some culture exhibition.
Chinese cooking
From breakfast such as 豆浆 (dòujiāng / boiled soybean milk), 蒸紫薯糕 (zhēng zǐ shǔ gāo / steamed purple potato cake) to heavy dinner such as 春节大餐 (chūnjié dà cān / Spring Festival feast), 火锅 (huǒguō / hotpot), 炖肉(dùn ròu / stewed meat), 烤全羊 (kǎo quán yáng / kumiss and roasted whole lamb), 古法鸽子汤(gǔ fǎ gēzi tāng / special pigeon soup), from snacks such as 柿饼(shìbǐng / sweet persimmons), 樱花茶 (yīnghuā chá / Cerasus tea), 自酿啤酒 (zì niàng píjiǔ / homemade beer), 手工冰淇淋 (shǒugōng bīngqílín / homemade ice cream) to cooking sauces such as 黄豆酿酱油 (huángdòu niàng jiàngyóu / handmade soy sauce), 豆腐乳 (dòufu rǔ / spicy veggies with bean curd paste), 古法红糖 (gǔ fǎ hóngtáng / old brown sugar) and various jam, it seems that there is nothing she can’t make and cook.   
Handcraft Making
Besides food, she made many more things for daily use. As you can see in her videos, her nice wool cloak, warm silk quilt, even the commonly used soil made oven were made by her.. She creates everything from scratch, not just some semi-finished products. For instance, if she planned to make some old furniture, the first thing she did was to walk into the deep mountain and cut trees to get fine woods. If she wanted a silk quilt, then she started from raising silkworms to get the original silk.
With her deep understanding of Chinese culture, she also makes some stuff which presents the essence of Chinese history and culture, such as 蜀绣(shǔxiù / Sichuan embroidery)which is the national intangible cultural heritage, 文房四宝(wénfángsìbǎo / the scholar’s four jewels in China) including Chinese writing brush, ink stick, ink slab , and paper 活字印刷(huózì yìnshuā/ Woodblock printing)which is one of the four great inventions of ancient China and etc.

What Makes Li Ziqi (李子柒)'s Videos Unique?

There are numerous Chinese food making tutorial videos online, but Li Ziqi’s stands out. Why? It is because in her videos, the food making is not just pure cooking of any recipe, but presenting the whole process from planting, harvesting to cooking and eating.
She follows the traditional Chinese ideas about obeying nature and making use of it, which also displays the harmony between human beings and nature, and the survival wisdom of humans. All her videos can be classified according to the four seasons. Whatever grows best in this season, she just makes use of the essence of this time and make the classical Chinese food or create something new. If it’s on special solar terms or big Chinese festivals, she also makes special seasonal food for that special day. For example, Chinese people usually make a big feast on the Spring Festival night. Therefore, on that day, Li Ziqi followed the tradition and made a table of tasty food for her grandmother and herself. Each of the dishes had its name and blessings contained.
In recording the whole process, each of her most videos would take 2 or even 3 days to complete. You can easily feel the peace and greatness from the flowing time and the sense of achievement when the final products are done.
We believe many of her followers are attracted by the amazing scenery and the natural environment she lives in. It’s based in deep mountains of Mianyang (绵阳) Sichuan province (四川省). Sichuan has its reputation of food abundance which located in a basin with humid weather. Consequently, it’s not hard for her to find various natural materials to create what she wants. There are splendid flowers and productive fruits in each season, which are all the blessings of nature. Of course, Li Ziqi also plants and raised whatever she needs around her house such as corps, vegetables, sheep, chicken etc. All the materials she used are made of wood or iron, basically no plastic products or something harmful to the natural environment. And she often wears her traditional style of Chinese clothes and rides a horse to pick up things like vegetables or flowers in the mountain which also constructs the scene of  beauty. It’s such a balance of traditional and modern life.
People like Li Ziqi, besides the beautiful views and the amazing environment she is living in, especially because her videos fully explain the Chinese people’s traditional concept of family and the Taoist thought of harmony between humans and nature. She also made many national intangible cultural heritages from scratch which have been created for thousands of years and considered as the precious of Chines culture.
Besides the specialty from her hometown Sichuan like the spicy hotpot, she also makes some other classical food from other areas of China, such as very famous river snail rice noodle from Liuzhou Guangxi (螺蛳粉 luósī fěn), the drunk crabs from Jiangsu (醉蟹zuì xiè) and etc. These videos make you feel interested in this wonderful local food and places around China.
“I’m just filming my life,” Li Ziqi says. “Or rather, I’m just filming the life that I want.” This is the exact lifestyle she wants to live.
She makes people experience life in the countryside which people living in modern society lack. Especially for the people living in modern cities, Li Ziqi’s videos would be like exploring an ideal lifestyle with nature. She seems able to make everything and could be anyone. In her life, she is a chef, an engineer, a carpenter, a farmer, a gardener, and a creator. Watching her life is also satisfying the audiences’ personal ideal roles. What’s more, her videos seem to have no anxiety worries and misgivings which is exactly what the status of contemporary people strive for.

Li Ziqi’s House & Clothing

Many of her audiences are fascinated by Li Ziqi’s house and clothing. She lives in a village house with her grandma in a very simple and unsophisticated lifestyle. The house looks very ordinary in rural western China, but Li Ziqi’s skills in decorating and maintaining it made it very artistic and beautiful. There are various plants and vegetables in her house yard which does not only supply their meal but also makes the environment beautiful. Li Ziqi’s clothing is very attractive which can be distinguished from others. Her clothing always has a touch of traditional Chinese clothing. They are not only very traditional but also comfortable and pretty. Her house and clothing integrate into her traditional country lifestyle perfectly.

Li Ziqi’s interview

What does Li Ziqi want people get from the videos?
Li Ziqi: In today’s society, many people feel stressed. They face a lot of pressure in life and at work. I want them to relax and experience something nice to take away some of their anxiety and stress. Wouldn’t that be nice? When I worked in the city, it was about survival. No when I work in the countryside, I feel like I’m truly living. When I make my videos, I want to start with an angle that I’m familiar with. What do I want to bring to the audience? It’s not that complicated. I simply want people in the city to know where their food comes from.
How does Li Ziqi form her video style?
Li Ziqi: At first, I did everything myself. I’d set up a tripod, go there, film, and then press stop. That’s why all my shots are on a tripod and they don’t move. That’s why my videos are still filmed this way. 
What does Li Ziqi think after achieving the success?
Li Ziqi: “Successful” is a heavy word. I’m just filming my life. Or rather, I’m just filming the life that I want. This also means I feel a greater sense of responsibility. I have to work harder and do things that are meaningful.