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8 Chinese Nicknames of Western Celebrities

by | Apr 8, 2024

Influencer | That's Mandarin

Did you know that on the Chinese internet, it’s common to give Western celebrities nicknames? These names can be based on pronunciation, reflect the personality, or simply be a playful twist of words. Let’s look at 8 fun Chinese nicknames of the Western stars you definitely know!

“Celebrity” in Chinese

To begin, let’s learn the Chinese 3 words used to talk about celebrities.

First, the general word for famous people is 名人 (míngrén). This word is used to refer to widely recognized and admired individuals, often for their achievements in sports, politics, or entertainment.

Famous Person | That's Mandarin

celebrity; famous person
(lit. “known-person”)

Next, the term 明星 (míngxīng) is often used to refer to celebrities specifically in the entertainment industry, such as actors, singers, and TV stars.

Celebrity | That's Mandarin

star; celebrity
(lit. “bright-star”)

Finally, today many people are popular solely online. Thus there is a special term to describe those who gained fame on social media – 网红 (wǎng hóng), or “internet celebrity”.

Influencer | That's Mandarin

wǎng hóng
internet celebrity
(lit. “net-red”)


The word 红 (hóng), “red” is often used as a metaphor for “being popular“.

Nicknames of Western Celebrities

01. Sweet Tea

Let’s begin with the Dune’s star Timothée Chalamet! His Chinese nickname is a funny play on his last name. The first three letters of Chalamet sound similar to 茶 (chá), “tea” in Chinese. Also, many Chinese fans find his appearance sweet, thus he got the nickname “sweet tea”.


(lit. “sweet-tea”)

✨ Full name: 提莫西·查拉梅 (Tímòxī·Chálāméi)

02. “Little Plum”

Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Chinese nickname came from transliteration: his first name Leo was transliterated as 李 (Lǐ), which means “plum”. “Little” or 小 (xiǎo) was added as an affectionate form, so he was dubbed Little Plum by Chinese netizens.

Xiǎo Lǐzi
(lit. “little-plum”)

✨ Full name: 李奥纳多·迪卡普里奥 (Lǐ’àonàduō·Díkǎpǔlǐào)

03. “Moldy/Unlucky”

When it comes to Taylor Swift, it’s funny how one of the world’s most successful stars got a Chinese nickname associated with being “unlucky” or “moldy”. The nickname 霉霉 (Méimei) was given to Swift by her Chinese fans who observed her challenges in securing the number one spot on the Billboard charts at the beginning of her singing career.

(lit. “moldy-moldy”)

✨ Full name: 泰勒·斯威夫特 (Tàilè·Sīwēifūtè)

04. “Cool Sis”

Mariah Carey‘s Chinese nickname “Cool Sis” was given to her as a sign of appreciation for her incredible talent and long-lasting success in the music industry.

(lit. “cow/cool-sister”)

✨ Full name: 玛丽亚·凯莉 (Mǎlìyà Kǎilì)


Don’t worry, calling someone “a cow” is not an offense – 牛 (niú) in Chinese means “cool/awesome” 😎

05. “Little Cool Cool”

One more talented singer, Ariana Grande, is often called a new and young version of Mariah Carey, so Chinese netizens have nicknamed her 小牛牛 (Xiǎoniúniu).

(lit. “little-cow-cow”)

✨ Full name: 爱莉安娜·格兰德 (Àilìānnà Gélándé)

06. “Little Sweetie”

The origin for the Chinese nickname of Britney Spears comes from her image and personality in the early days of her career. Chinese netizens were charmed by her youthful, sweet, and lovely appearance, so they called her “Little Sweetie”.

(lit. “little-sweetie”)

✨ Full name: 布兰妮·斯皮尔斯 (Bùlánnī Sīpíěrsī)

07. “Spicy Chicken”

Nicki Minaj‘s Chinese nickname is inspired by the fiery flavors of Sichuan cuisine. Sichuan dishes, flavored with Sichuan pepper are famous for their numbing and spicy taste that can even “paralyze” the tongue, the flavor which is known as 麻辣 (málà), “hot and numbing”. That’s why many Chinese fans call Nicki Minaj “Spicy Chicken”: her music and persona are often described as bold and provocative, much like the spicy dishes from Sichuan province 🌶️

(lit. “hot-numbing-chicken”)

✨ Full name: 妮琪·米娜 (Nīqí Mǐnà)

08. “Fruit Sister”

Katy Perry adores all things cute – bananas, watermelons, small flowers, you name it. From candy bandeaus to fruity skirts, food always makes part of her stage and video clip outfits. That’s why Chinese netizens call her Fruit Sister.

(lit. “fruit-sister”)

✨ Full name: 凯蒂·佩里 (Kǎidì Pèilǐ)

Take it Further

To discuss Chinese nicknames of Western celebrities with Chinese teachers, book a free trial class with That’s Mandarin!


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