The ABC From LA Who Won on the Chinese Dating Show (非诚勿扰)

Justin Yang on Chinese dating show Fei Cheng Wu Rao (If You Are The One)

As I stepped into the small cramped elevator with a pound of make-up on my face, beads of sweat trickling down my forehead, and my heart racing like I was sitting front row at a Justin Bieber concert…it started! Alas, no 16-year-old boy with golden locks came dancing around the stage to serenade me and all the other 12-year-old girls. Instead, I heard the words: “CAN YOU FEEL IT?”…

Though, let’s backtrack for a moment…

At the time, I was a student at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center in Nanjing, China studying International Affairs. My days consisted of studying international politics, economics, and law in Chinese. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? YEAH BUDDY! My goal was to work long-term and start a career in China. So with that in mind, I was more focused on my studies and finding a job after graduation than being a reality TV dating show contestant. (The last sentence was Tiger Mom approved!) Yet, the opportunity to appear on a nationally-syndicated Chinese dating show doesn’t come often. I figured, what’s the worst that could happen? I didn’t want to look back and say I had a chance to appear on a Chinese dating show but was too chicken shit to do it. As a rule, I try to seize every opportunity that comes my way and take advantage of unique opportunities that present themselves to me. This was no exception.

Justin Yang and friends from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center at the Fei Cheng Wu Rao taping.

My friends from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center rooting me on from the audience.

Shortly after I decided to take the plunge I decided to meet with one of the producers. Originally, I had met with one of the producers from the Jiangsu TV network for another show similar to “Choose Your Own Adventure”, where they were looking for foreigners with stories or dreams the TV show could make into reality. When the producer also asked me to apply to be on a contestant for “Fei Cheng Wu Rao”, I didn’t even know what the show was or what I’d be getting myself into. I thought to myself, “Okay, dating show, I think I can do that”…

Justin Yang with Jiangsu TV producer.

The man who made it all possible...

I’m not gonna lie. I was nervous leading up into the taping. I wanted to be super prepared for whatever challenges that might have been ahead. I started to do my homework and watch previous episodes of the show. I started to get intimidated by the difficulty of the questions asked by the girls and how intense certain girls would be in terms of grilling male contestants. Soon afterwards, I found out how difficult it really is to win this show. As I watched previous episodes and saw men get torn apart, I had my reservations about continuing on. It’s extremely difficult to make it to the end, get your dream girl and win a free trip to Hawaii, so in that regard I consider myself extremely lucky. I consider myself a fairly confident individual but the thought of getting chewed out on national television would shake the most confident of men.

In addition, being on stage at times was extremely intimidating and nerve-racking since there is a live studio audience but it’s not taped live. My episode was aired one month after taping. Also, if your Chinese is horrendous or if you’re unable to think on your toes, or just socially awkward on stage… I’m sorry, folks… But there is no rewinding, do-overs, or anything of that nature.

As an overseas Chinese participating on this show, there is definitely added pressure. Chinese is not my native language. Like a lot of ABCs who grew up in the States, our parents speak to us in Chinese and we respond in English. Hence, a working understanding of the language but in terms of adequately expressing myself in an intelligent manner besides ordering what I want to eat and saying “bu yao”… The show was a nice platform to showcase my Chinese and to give ABCs I feel a bit more street cred. A lot of my close friends who I regularly talk to in Chinese would give me shit along the way by saying, “Why did your Chinese suck so much on the show?” Perhaps I was nervous. Maybe it was the KFC 墨西哥肌肉并 I had right before I went on stage…

Justin Yang.

The obligatory datin' profile picture...

As an ABC, you’re faced with a lot of advantages and disadvantages in China. I couldn’t get an English teaching job to save my life. They take one good look at my face and assume that my English is not as good as the Swiss-German with blonde hair and blues eyes. Yes, that has happened to me on numerous occasions. Though, an ABC competing on this show has an overall edge since we have the best of both worlds. For a lot of the female contestants on these shows, their biggest worry is that you’re a flight risk. If they see that you have a vanilla face, most times the question is: “What about your family back home? Do you plan on seeing them or returning back to the States?” It’s a valid point. Women in China do not want to invest themselves in a relationship with a “laowai” who is a flight risk more so than an ABC. Also, I don’t think the show wants to promote the idea that white guys can come on this show and easily take away Chinese women. If you’ve noticed, Caucasian men do go far on this show but they are oftentimes cut at the very end for numerous reasons such as, “I’m sorry. I’d rather date a Chinese guy”…

My life post-Fei Cheng Wu Rao has been interesting. Oftentimes when I’m walking around the streets of Nanjing, China I’d get recognized. High school girls would secretly take photos of me and chatter among their friends in the restaurant. I’d get stares and hear whispers as I walk by. Someone called me the “Rain Assassin” cause I was the only man able to walk away with Jiang Yu (蒋雨, Yu means “rain” in Chinese) after so many failed attempts by others. The attention is extremely flattering but I tried to keep it low-key. Though, sometimes the attention was unavoidable. For example, I recently interviewed with a big company and was immediately asked if I was a contestant on the show so to my surprise, my experience has been pretty helpful in interviews. I’ve used this experience quite a lot as a response to the “Tell me something interesting about yourself?”, “Tell me a time when you had to go outside your comfort zone”, and “Tell me a story” interview questions, and I recently landed a gig as an iReporter for Adidas/Youku in China as a result of being on the show. Overall, being on the show has helped me out in a lot of regards.

The male contestents on the 100th episode of Fei Cheng Wu Rao (If You Are The One).

The male contestants for the 100th episode.

I want to let you in on a little secret… 99.9% of people can’t find true love off this show within a 1-hour segment. I’m part of the 99.9%. Don’t get me wrong, Jiang Yu is amazing. We still talk and we’re friends. However, don’t expect wedding bells in the near future. Jiang Yu is definitely the type of girl I’d want to be with. Very sweet personality, down to earth personality, very chill and easy going. A lot of people who are spectators of the show come up to me and always ask me “how my girlfriend is doing?” and if we went to Hawaii? Well, I’m here to finally end the suspense. We’re just friends and we didn’t go to Hawaii. :( Each contestant gets a separate ticket to Hawaii. She wasn’t able to go during the time I wanted so alas we did not go to Hawaii together.

Justin Yang and Jiang Yu on popular Chinese dating show Fei Cheng Wu Rao (If You Are The One)

Interesting facts that you didn’t know:

  1. Jiang Yu didn’t use me for my US passport and she doesn’t have a green card.
  2. Jiang Yu told me after the show that if I lost some weight, I’d look exactly like Wilbur Pan.
  3. Every single person who comes up to me after watching the show comments on “How skinny I am in person as opposed to when I’m on TV”. Yes, the Camera does add 10 lbs.
  4. I have no regrets about doing this show and felt that it was an extremely humbling experience.

Though, I have gotten some negative feedback from some viewers of the show. Overall, I was actually really surprised of how many motherfucking haters are on YouTube and Youku/Chinese forums after the show aired. I thought it was pretty funny actually. Here are some of my favorite comments that people have written about me and Jiang Yu on the show. The last 3 comments are my favorite.

  1. “Fuck this ABC! He took my favorite girl”
  2. “All for a green card. She is cheap!”
  3. “I’m okay with the fact that he is an ABC, I’m not okay with the fact that he’s an ugly fatso and there’re still Chinese bimbos who dig him…”
  4. “小眼睛 肥仔 。中国女孩的最爱”
  5. “这个胖子吃到狗屎运了。他妈的,没钱,没工作,没房没车,也能带走这个美女。我操,蒋雨瞎了眼,看到绿,选了这个活宝。他奶奶的-,别人选不到蒋雨,这个吃美国屎长大的可以?操,去死吧!”
  6. “Ew fuck. he’s probably nothing in america and he comes to china and he’s “all that” just cuz he’s a so-called “abc’ . ewwwwww.”

What I love about haters is that they are gonna hate you no matter what… There are probably gonna be a good percentage of people who will hate on this article as well. However, what I’ve come to realize is that one is hated for the same reasons why one is loved. You just gotta gotta be you and not worry about the naysayers, doubters, and haters.

Lastly, I want to say that I got truly lucky on this show. That’s real talk and no bullshit. I had the best-case scenario and am truly grateful for the experience that was Fei Cheng Wu Rao. I got 24/24 in the first round, a free trip to Hawaii, and I walked away with one of the most sought after girls on the show. Just lucky I guess. As cliché as it sounds, I would totally do it again. I would do it in a heart-beat. The main reason why I participated in the show wasn’t for fame, the possibility of a free trip to Hawaii, or even to find a future girlfriend/wife… In the simplest terms, my main motive was experience. Sounds like bullshit, right? It’s not. Carpe diem. I felt very fortunate to be in the position that I was since a lot of guys have tried numerous times to be on the show and failed. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as a contestant. I felt like it was one of those “once in a lifetime opportunities” that you would regret later down the line if you didn’t seize it. In addition, I’m thankful for being able to share my experience with you.

Justin Yang and Jiang Yu on popular Chinese dating show Fei Cheng Wu Rao (If You Are The One)

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  • I’m not surprised you two didn’t end up dating seriously. There’s definitely a cultural difference between ABCs and native Chinese people. But like you said, you put on your “adventure cap” and did it for the experience. Good job man.

  • Mchai0121

    Finally an article that isn’t predictable and with some depth. Some of the previous articles are talking about the exact same thing, finding yourself, not being treated like a local chinese, I’m mixed and I’m confused, etc….stuff that is boring, that everybody faces and unoriginal. Glad to see this Justin Yang character finally writing something interesting and different.

    • JustABlackWoman

      Agreed, I got tired of those same articles over and over again.

  • M.N

    Song of the article
    Collie Buddz – Blind To You

  • dim mak

    I give kudos to you as another Chinese guy.

    I bet Justin Yang isn’t an insecure little dweeb moaning about his ancestry all day. Women hate that shit. More Asian guys should look up to Justin.

  • Jonathan

    Definitely one of the best posts I have read on this blog. I was getting so tired reading about ethnic identity crises.

  • TAKE5

    when i first looked at your photo i thought he looks a little fish out of water nerd. After reading your story i take it back. :-(. When you started in on the MF haters.., i said, this guy is for real. I say good for you. You had a great experience and you won. You represented ABC’s and America very well.

  • KenfromCanada

    I was doing a show and Jiang Yu was a special guest, afterwards we shared a taxi and I asked her about you, and how everything was with you two… its funny that I work in TV yet still believe that TV is real.

    Too bad you two didnt work out, interesting read though.

  • good article Justin, good advice about you gotta gotta be you

  • Jason

    My mate and I watched the episode where you took Jiang Yu away, who was our favourite girl, so on one hand we were extremely jealous, but on the other hand you made us proud (we’re also ABCs). You can imagine my surprise when I saw that you had written an article on this site. Good read!

  • Jay K.

    finally a breathe of fresh air from the typical identity issue bull crap. now more AMWF articles would be good.

    example in terms of amwf hook ups: i did have this encounter 4 and a half years ago with this british chick, thank god alcohol was involved and a lot of it because that girl was stereotypical of brit female crooked teeth and a hooked nose. the sex was good though, im just (un)fortunate alcohol severely lowered my standards

  • hooots

    Awesome article man. I’m an American in China, and like others have said you rep the states quite well. It really is great to hear someone speaking honestly about something and using the language the way they want to. Fuck yeah man. Props.

    • hooots

      BTW sweeeet soul patch man. Nicely done.

  • Lena

    Well written! It’s nice to hear someone from the states speak so honestly about one’s experience! I’m an ABC myself working in China.

  • donscarletti

    He’s right about there being a lot of Mainland Europeans in China teaching “English” with dreadful pronunciation themselves. I’ve wanted to jump on a couple of them when they have “corrected” wrong pronunciation with pronunciation that is equally as wrong.

    Also, ding for not being that last detestable piece of rubbish the American Chinese community pumped out, storming out in tears because of “为人民服务”.

  • MuseCrew4Ever

    Is it true that after you appeared on the show, you actually contacted your alma mater’s (UCLA) newspaper and asked them to write an article about yourself winning the show?

  • ABCfan

    Is it true that when ppl ask you about the show you tell them you dont like bragging and talking about it, but there are already 3 articles about “you” being on the show published written by youself. FYI honey, its been months since the show aired. Don’t you think it’s time to call it quits.

    • Derek Xu

      He’s not the first ABC to win off the show, in fact, he’s not even the first guy from LA.

  • revoltingbrain

    If you graduated from the Hopkins Nanjing Center, your Chinese must be beyond excellent. Hope more ABC’s kick some ass on proc tv.

    Excellent story.

  • i admit, i was the one who left the youtube comment “fuck that abc, took my fav girl”. but since you revealed the truth about how phony that show is regarding match making results, or lack of, i suddenly no hate u no more.

  • too yellow

    蒋雨was my favorite girl on the show too, well too bad you two couldn’t go to Hawaii together. It’s good to know that this show isn’t totally fake like so many are saying and the participants are actually real people in life rather simply actors.

  • Choonage

    Props to having the balls to go on the show. I think being ABC you would have had even more pressure to represent and you would have faced harder questions from the girls. At the end, people not only need the courage but also know what they’re up against, and you did both. Awesomeness.

  • lol

    DO haters really bother you that much? imo there’s no point paying attention to them…most of them just have terrible, unsuccessful lives and need to take out their anger on someone, something. Good job on the show.

  • sheng lin

    dude, no clue you went on this show til one of my friend told me. lols. grats on winning man, fuck the hater!

  • Lee Miller

    Nice article, man! You did well. Proud of you.

    Lee, UK

  • Angie

    wow…interesting…i get a bit more insight of the programme lol….I thought each couple who wins MUST go to Hawaii together…at least now I know each of them has a separate ticket, and it’s optional to go or not. Interesting indeed!
    Congratulations to you for leaving the show with your dream gal…It doesn’t really matter that both of you are friends, at least you tried…if you never gave the show a shot, you’ll never find out!

    • Adam Gaden Scott

      Only if she really fancies you and lets face it more often than not at end of show and after all the hooplas and noveties had worn off, the girls do changed their mind n ditched their ‘allotted ‘ date…

  • Derek Xu

    The fatso with stupid chin hair looks like a gay child molester.

  • StinkieDurian

    She said she was looking for long lasting love though :/ doesnt want short term

  • Abby chen

    What’s wiht all da fucken CHINKS that are fucken stealing all of our jobs here in America? So many Chink engineers where I work, and I see a bunch of Chink doctors these days. College campuses are filled with fucken yellow skinned, dog eating, scum of the earth Chinks. So why da fuq are there so many of these little barstards and how da fuq are they coming into this country? I thought we banned them from coming here ever since they fuqqed up the railroads when they came here.
    I don’t like chinks. I have my biggest problem with chinks, all 1 billion of them. They steal whitey like me’s jobs and chinks overpopulate and come to every country in the world and then bring their opium, their rice, their Toyotas, and their horrible, nasty sweet and sour pork.
    Why da fuq are there so many chinks, and many chinks now are getting american or should I say, amellican citizenship and they are taking over the computer and auto industries. So many chink programmers in silicon valley a white man can’t even set his foot in the office these days.
    Why so many chinks? Should we deport them? They only bring bad and don’t bring good and they ate all of the dogs in my neighborhood to the point where everybody in my neighborhood began raising cats intead of dogs! Then they ate all of our cats and then began eating rats!
    They also shoot at the duck in our neighborhood and eat that! Chinks eat everything that’s alive! We need to not let chinks live in western society.
    They can’t blend in, they’re visible minorities who will always be chinks even if they are citizens and they smell real funky, like peee-yew!

  • Lisa

    You going there for experience? Most girls are serious to find some one to start. I am a Chinese girl. To me, green card is nothing. Most Chinese girls around me they respect themselves, likes reading books, they prefer a good educated man, with wisdom. If you can’t see these, you are not worth to have these girls.

  • Mark

    Good for you. Glad you enjoyed your, quite literally, 15 minutes of fame…

  • Ho fong lee

    congrats dude. who do we write to at jiangsu tv pls? pls advise asap. many thanks.

  • Chuck

    Thanks for sharing your experience of FCWR . I’m an avid fan of the show, and enjoy it because I like learning about what dating is like in China– what Chinese girls find attractive in men. I get your whole carpe diem mentality with this being a once in a lifetime opportunity but I don’t like the fact that being on the show was your main reason for going, and not meeting a girl. While I don’t know the true statistics of successful relationships post FCWR, MengFei did say that FCWR is simply an opportunity for a beginning, the contestants themselves need to work very hard on the relationship, just like any. With that said and not trying to single you out, I felt you went on the show not prepared to make the necessary commitments to keep a girl. This attitude among contestants hurts the credibility of the show.

    I have friends that tell me this show is fake, yeah it probably is, but there have been contestants who are genuine. I’ll continue being a regular consumer of FCWR.

  • Luna Shen

    My parents watch this show all the time, and i like it too. im actually pretty impressed because half the time i have to ask my parents what everyone’s saying, i could never actually be in the middle of all of that.

  • tenshi

    Too bad it didn’t work out for you. Some do work but I guess majority doesn’t. That’s just too bad.. esp if you actually liked her. :)
    This show was fun to watch at the beginning. But now it feels like the girls are just showing off their talents or lack of. Such a shame.. doesn’t feel like their aim is to look for “the one”. Hence I stopped watching. lol… ABC and native chinese will always have cultural differences.. that’s how I feel, no common language! Well best of luck in whatever you do! :)

  • moeimoei

    I’d go for him for a green card :P

  • Thank you for sharing your experience! I’m a fan of the show, and although I’m in the Philippines, I’m thinking of learning Mandarin again because of FCWR.

    I hope the other contestants can also share their experience on Quora:

  • Phoebe

    Hi and thank you for sharing your experiences on If You Are The One. My wife and I have been wondering how many of the contestants end up in a relationship with the girl they leave the stage with, and this post pretty much answers it. I’m glad you found the experience positive. Greetings from Australia.

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