12 Asian celebrities that embody the Dragon spirit

#legend celebrates the Year of the Dragon with a list of 12 fierce Dragon celebrities by Haley Sengsavanh

The Lunar New Year festivities start on February 10, kicking off the arrival of Spring and a new year. According to Chinese tradition, there are 12 animals in the zodiac that represent the 12 cycles of the lunar calendar. Each animal also gets further categorised into five alternating elements depending on what year you are born in: wood, fire, earth, metal or water. 2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon, which will usher in a period of kindness and unlimited potential. 

The Dragon is a powerful and auspicious animal that embodies qualities such as strength, wisdom, luck and prosperity. It is believed that those born in the Dragon year are full of vigour, have a natural charismatic charm, and possess good leadership skills. Though they are strong individuals, they also think of others and have a chivalrous spirit. This year will present them with opportunities for growth and regeneration. Keep reading to see which 12 celebrities we believe embody these Dragon characteristics.

Jackson Yee

Jackson Yee is a Chinese actor, dancer and singer. Prior to mainstream fame, he worked as a child actor, and became the youngest member of the boy band TFBoys. His breakout role was in the 2019 film Better Days. Yee also starred in the 2021 war film The Battle at Lake Changjin, which is the highest-grossing non-English film of all time, and the 2023 historical thriller Full River Red, which became the highest grossing film of the year. Those born in the year of the Metal Dragon, like Yee, are known to be ambitious and strong. 

Karina and Giselle from Aespa

The hit South Korean girl group Aespa are known for their unique concepts and catchy hyperpop music. They have won many prestigious music awards for their chart-topping hits, and have even received recognition in the fashion world as the first ever K-pop ambassadors for Givenchy. Two members, Karina and Giselle, were born in the year 2000, which fittingly makes them Metal Dragons that are innovative and successful. Fun fact: alongside fellow bandmates Winter and NingNing, the four girls were our stunning December 2022 issue cover stars! 

Ni Ni

Ni Ni is a popular Chinese actress considered to be one of the “New Four Dan Actresses.” She broke out into the industry by playing the lead in Zhang Yimou’s Golden Globe-nominated film The Flowers of War. Since then, Ni Ni has starred in and received critical acclaim for her work in films like the 2021 romantic drama film Yanagawa, and the 2023 box-office hit Lost in the Stars. She has been picked up as an ambassador for major labels like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Gucci, and Tiffany & Co. Born in 1988, Earth Dragons like Ni Ni are known for their confidence and drive.

Narilya Gulmongkolpech a.k.a. Yada

Narilya Gulmongkolpech, also known as Yada, is a Thai actress, singer, and model. She first became well-known after acting as the lead in award-winning Thai-Korean supernatural horror film, The Medium. Her role as Mink, the possessed niece of a shaman, even earned her the Best Actress award at the 30th Suphannahong National Film Awards. This star on the rise was born in 2000, which makes sense given her talent and high aspirations. 

Park Seo-joon

The highly awarded South Korean actor, Park Seo-joon, continues to hit new career milestones. He is known for playing the lead in hit K-drama shows, such as Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth, Fight for My Way, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, and Itaewon Class. Park has also received acclaim for his work in films such as Midnight Runners. Then in 2023, he made his Hollywood debut as Prince Yan of Aladna in The Marvels. As an Earth Dragon, his charisma shines through on the big screen and we know he will continue to excel. 

Chloe Kim

Korean-American snowboard champion Chloe Kim has a slew of record-breaking achievements under her belt. She is the first person to place as the halfpipe champion at World, Olympic, Youth Olympic, and X Games, the youngest woman to win gold at the Olympics in the halfpipe category, the first female snowboarder to win back-to-back gold medals at the snowboard halfpipe event, and much more. This history-making athlete was born in 2000, fittingly known for their natural talent and tenacity.

Mario Maurer

Thai-Chinese actor and model Mario Maurer is known for playing the lead in Thailand’s highest grossing film of all time, Pee Mak, alongside our March 2023 cover star, Davika Hoorne! He is also one half of the hip hop duo, PsyCho & Lil’Mario, alongside his older brother Marco. The award-winning celebrity is known as a brand ambassador for many luxury labels, including Longines and Dior Men. This major career was launched after he was scouted as a model at 16 years old, which makes sense given he is an Earth Dragon, known for their ability to draw attention.

Felix from Stray Kids

Australian-Korean rapper and singer Felix is a member of the South Korean boy band Stray Kids. This group was formed through the Stray Kids reality competition show, and they are known for their electronic and hip hop sound. He is a prominent ambassador for luxury brands like Etro and Louis Vuitton. Besides his entertainment career, Felix is the  youngest member of the UNICEF Honors Club, in recognition of his activism work across Asia. As a 2000’s Metal Dragon, his unyielding nature and conflict-resolution skills are evident. 

Ruby Lin

#legend February 2022 cover star Ruby Lin Xin-ru is a Taiwanese actress, television and film producer, and pop singer. Referred to as “Taiwan’s TV Drama Queen”, she became a household name after playing the lead role in drama series like My Fair Princess, The Way We Were, and Beauty’s Rival in Palace. Lin has also been a part of the jury for prestigious awards like the 54th Golden Bell Awards and at the Taipei Film Festival. In 2009, she started her own production company, Ruby Lin Studio. It makes perfect sense that she is a Fire Dragon, known for their creative opinions and management skills. 

Jirawat Sutivanichsak a.k.a. Dew

Jirawat Sutivanichsak, a.k.a. Dew, is a Thai actor, singer, and model with a strong global fanbase. He is best known for his acting debut as Ren in F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers, a drama series that gained so much popularity it led to the cast performing songs live through the “Shooting Star” Asia tour. Dew has been invited as a guest celebrity to major luxury fashion shows like Emporio Armani, Onitsuka Tiger, and Louis Vuitton. He is a true Metal Dragon who marches to the sound of his own drum.

Zhang Hao

Zhang Hao is a Chinese singer who made history as the first foreigner to place first on a South Korean reality competition show of this kind. The top nine contestants of Boys Planet would get to form the boy group Zerobaseone (ZB1), and as the champion with almost 2 million votes, Zhang Hao became the centre. At the 2023 Circle Chart Music Awards, he won the Viaje Global Popularity Award. Zhang Hao was born in 2000, which fittingly is known for their disciplined nature and ability to attract a community. 

BONUS: Maja Salvador

We love famed Filipina actress Maja Salvador and with all her accomplishments to date, we are including her as our bonus Dragon!

Salvador is considered one of the best actresses of her generation. Her first nomination came at age 14, after she made her acting debut in the 2003 TV series It Might Be You. Her most notable works include the drama film Thelma, the rom-com film I’m Drunk, I Love You, and the revenge drama series Wildflower. In 2021, she established her own talent agency, Crown Artist Management. As a 1988 Earth Dragon, Salvador fits right in as a bright person with lots of initiative. 

Also see: Cover Story: Aaron Kwok on fame, contentment, and family

In this Story: #culture / #entertainment