During the Super Bowl Halftime Show, Chinese Internet users were abuzz about a woman called “Fruit Sister.”
Sounds mysterious, but you already know who she is. “Fruit Sister,” or “shui guo jie,” is what people in China call Katy Perry — referring to her tendency to wear fruit costumes and bring giant fruit with her on stage.
In the past, the pop star has performed in sparkly, watermelon-cup bras, sung while holding a large inflatable strawberry, and even burst out of a giant banana.
She’s also talked about growing and eating her own fruit — so it’s a pretty fair nickname.
But “Fruit Sister” isn’t the only Western celeb to get an interesting Chinese alias. Here are a few others, and the stories behind them:
A popular nickname for Jennifer Lopez in Hong Kong and China is “luo ba,” which translates to “Lord of Butt.”
It’s actually a bit of a pun. “Luo ba” sounds similar to how Chinese people transliterate J-Lo’s last name, “Luo pei zi.”
Either way, it’s a fitting moniker for the superstar who revealed her bare behind in the music video for her song, “Booty.”
Benedict Cumberbatch is known as “Curly Blessing,” or “juan fu.”
In Mandarin, “juan” means curly, referring to Cumberbatch’s curly hairstyle in his role as Sherlock Holmes.
“Fu” means happiness, fortune, or blessing — and it’s also the first part of the Chinese name for Sherlock Holmes.
Put those two together and you get something like “Curly Sherlock” or more poetically, “Curly Blessing.”
Many Chinese dishes aren’t just spicy. Thanks to a special peppercorn, Sichuan cuisine carries an extra kick and will actually numb your tongue.
That’s why Chinese fans have nicknamed Nicki Minaj “Numbing-Spicy Chicken,” or “ma la ji” — she’s spicy hot, she’ll stun your senses, and leave you wanting more.
Americans aren’t the only ones who swoon over Adam Levine — Chinese people call him “Flirty Adam,” or “sao dang.”
“His voice is very ‘unique’ and kind of arousing, and his fans always refer to his numerous half naked photo shoots, which gives him the name,” explains CNN’s Beijing intern Sherry Ju.
But sao, the Chinese word for “flirty,” can also mean frivolous, silly or shallow.
Mariah Carey’s popular Chinese nickname is “Cow Sister,” or “niu jie.” Here’s why:
There’s a crude but popular Chinese slang phrase, “cow’s vagina” or “niubi,” that means “f—-ing awesome.” So “Cow sister,” despite the sound of it, is really a compliment — a nod to Mariah Carey’s incredible singing talent.
Another explanation is that it refers to a 1992 episode of Sesame Street that featured a singing cow named Mariah Cowey.
Chinese people call Ariana Grande “little cow” or “xiao niu” because her voice reminds them of Mariah Carey’s (Cow Sister). As one Chinese Internet user says, watch Grande’s cover of Mariah Carey’s “Emotions” and you’ll be tempted to agree.
To get why Jennifer Lawrence is nicknamed “Cousin,” or “biao jie,” you’ll have to get Chinese humor.
In the run-up to the 2011 Oscars, hundreds of Chinese Internet users made joke announcements about the results — all claiming they heard them from a “cousin in the Academy.”
It was a playful dig at how some Chinese people are desperate to show they have powerful family members.
But one Chinese Internet user upped the ante, boldly declaring Jennifer Lawrence was his cousin and that she had won the Best Actress award.
Well, she didn’t — but the nickname stuck.
Yep, Justin Timberlake is simply known as “Boss”, or “lao ban.”
It’s an awed reference to the entertainer’s investments: From clothing companies to tech startups to golf courses to record labels, the Boss owns it all.
Leonardo DiCaprio is called “Pikachu” in Taiwan.
The joke took off in 2011 after a Taiwanese news anchor struggled with Leonardo DiCaprio’s name, calling him “Leonardo Pikachu” on TV.
Even today, tongue-in-cheek Taiwanese media and their counterparts in Hong Kong still refer to the actor’s Pokemon-inspired nickname.