Be a Pioneer” – An Autobiography of Yue-Sai Kan
The new book “Be a Pioneer” is the first Chinese-language autobiography of Emmy-winning television producer, bestselling author, and successful entrepreneur, Yue-Sai Kan.
Inspired by her father’s words to always aim to be the first, the book was released after three years of preparation and showcases Kan’s life journey as a witness and participant in the significant changes that took place in China.
Childhood and Early Career
Born in 1946 in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and grew up in Hong Kong.
Started her career in fashion, beauty, communication, and cultural exchange after winning second place in a beauty pageant sponsored by the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce while majoring in piano at the Hawaii campus of Brigham Young University.
Moved to New York in 1972 and created the weekly television series “Looking East,” introducing Asian cultures and customs to a growing US audience. The show aired for over a decade and won several awards.
Returned to China in 1986, producing and hosting the television series “One World” on State-owned China Central Television, which was a national sensation and made her a household name in China.
Kan’s other significant television projects include the ABC documentary “China: Walls and Bridges,” which earned her an Emmy Award and the TV show “Journey through a Changing China,” documenting how the daily lives of people changed in China during its reform and opening-up.
Kan considers television as a good business for personal growth and has had the fortune to meet many interesting people and learn a great deal from them through her work.
Her interview with Mother Teresa was “truly an amazing moment” in her career, and she has worked in China for almost 40 years, coinciding with the country’s opening-up.
Author and Entrepreneur
Successfully transformed herself from a TV personality to an entrepreneur in 1992 by creating the Yue Sai cosmetics brand, which became the market leader in China and was purchased by French cosmetics company L’Oreal Group in 2004.
Has written ten books, including “Yue-Sai’s Guide to Asian Beauty” and “Life is a Competition,” which became bestsellers in China.
Writing an Autobiography
The biggest challenges when writing an autobiography are not only how to present one’s life but also remembering it in the first place.
To help reconstruct her story, Kan asked her friends and colleagues to write down their memories of her from earlier times, and the book is filled with their words, giving Kan new insight into herself.
The book includes many pictures from Kan’s early life, and by scanning a QR code, readers can also see video clips from the period.
The book “Be a Pioneer” is an example for young people, and the COVID-19 lockdown gave Kan the opportunity to reflect on her life and write the book as a historical record.
Kan considers herself fortunate to have lived through interesting times in China and to have been a witness and participant in the country’s breakneck pace of change.