French vlogger gains fame, family in small Chinese city

(Xinhua) 10:30, November 01, 2023

HEFEI, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- People who first meet Laura Tochon can hardly believe that this quiet and shy woman is a French influencer with over 6 million followers on Chinese social media.

Living in Lu'an, a small city in east China's Anhui Province, Tochon often gets recognized by her followers. When her fans ask to take photos with her, Tochon's shyness always surprises them, since she is known for her bold and humorous moves in her videos.

Tochon and her Chinese husband Heizi in 2020 began recording their life in China in the form of short sitcoms and earned the love of numerous Chinese followers.

Tochon's videos feature jokes caused by cultural differences, including inviting her Chinese father-in-law to eat rare steak and calling her Chinese parents-in-law directly by their names, which is slightly offensive in Chinese culture. Soon, she gained a lot of followers with her humorous style and dramatic conflicts.

"Those jokes are not made up. When she first came to Lu'an, she did make a lot of jokes," Heizi said.

Back in 2008, when Tochon was a 14-year-old gymnast, she never imagined that her ties with China would be so close. That summer, the distant oriental country entered her world through the live telecast of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

"I loved Jiang Yuyuan, I thought she was very good," Tochon said of a Chinese female gymnast about her age who made her interested in this country.

Tochon said her father is an avid fan of Chinese Kung Fu, and loves Kung Fu stars like Jackie Chan and Jet Li. As a result, there are some special collections at her family's house in France, including Su-style embroidery with auspicious Chinese characters, and calendars with panda print.

"When I was in France, I sometimes watched Chinese dragon and lion dances with my family," Tochon said, suggesting that her yearning for China may well originate from her family.

Two years later, Tochon visited China for the first time. In Suzhou, she toured the exquisite classical gardens, which seek to recreate natural landscapes in miniature and embody the harmony between nature and man.

It was through this short journey that she became more and more fond of China. "After returning to France, I thought I must come to China again to learn Chinese and Chinese culture," Tochon said.

In the hope of joining an exchange program in China, Tochon learned Chinese by herself day and night and finally came to Nanjing University as an exchange student in 2015.

In Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, she met a young Chinese man who later became her husband.

"We got to know each other by chatting online. Although we come from different countries, we like the same music and watch the same films," Heizi said.

After finishing her Chinese studies at Nanjing University, Tochon stayed in Nanjing and worked hard there with her husband. In 2019, they had a child.

It was also in that year that they chose to give up their careers in Nanjing and return to Lu'an, the hometown of her husband. "My parents are getting older, and I want to spend more time with them," Heizi said.

Tochon was very supportive of the decision. "Thouars, the city I grew up in, is also very small with a population of just over 10,000. But people still live very comfortably," Tochon said.

From then on, they started a new career on short video platforms, drawing inspiration from cultural differences in their life.

"Making videos is only a small part of our life. I have a lot more to do and to love," Tochon said.

In addition to her success on online platforms, Tochon revealed that she has another dream. "I hope to open an authentic French restaurant in Lu'an so that more people can enjoy my hometown cuisine."

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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