3rd time’s a charm, and so is Li Na in winning Australian Open title


With Chinese New Year only days away, the number 3 (a good one in Chinese culture) loomed large for professional tennis star Li Na, who on Saturday beat Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (3), 6-0 to claim the 2014 Australian Open women’s single’s title in Melbourne, Australia.

Now, Li Na is a two-time grand slam winner, having won the French Open title in 2011. And, at 31, she’s the oldest player to win the Australian Open.

How significant is the number 3 in Saturday’s final?  It was Li’s third Australian Open final in three years, having lost to Kim Clijsters in 2011, and to Victoria Azarenka in 2013.

And, having won today, Li will now be ranked number 3 in the world, edging out Maria Sharapova.

Oh yeah, and TV coverage of the match started at 3 a.m. Saturday on ESPN.  At least this match didn’t go to 3 sets.  (In her two previous finals in Melbourne, Li lost in 3 sets, after winning the first set in both appearances.)

Li Na celebrates on court after winning the 2014 Australian Open.
Li Na celebrates on court after winning the 2014 Australian Open.

Saturday, Li, the highest ranking player (4) remaining in the tournament after the Big 3 (Serena Williams, Sharapova and Azarenka) were all knocked out by the end of the quarterfinals, was serving at set point before losing 3 straight points, sending the first set into a tiebreaker.  Li won the tiebreaker 7-3 (see that, another 3).

Even though Li jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening set, it was pretty obvious she was battling nerves, as she committed 19 unforced errors just off her forehand.   But while Cibulkova had dominated in her earlier matches, easily and boldly dispatching the likes of Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska, the Slovakian was feeling the pressure of playing in her first ever championship match.

And, even though she came into the match feeling confident she could win, she finally was facing someone she couldn’t push around.

On the contrary, she found herself dominated against Li who was able to easily push her around, even while Li struggled to find her rhythm.

The first set lasted 70 minutes, with both players alternating between great shots and missed opportunities, but once Li won the tiebreaker, she settled in and played her game, overwhelming Cibulkova en route to a 6-0 second set that lasted only 27 minutes.

Li Na goes after a shot to her backhand during the 2014 Australian Open Women's Single's championship match.

This time, Li was dialed in, hitting forehand and backhand winners on the base line and both sidelines.  She dropped only 4 points on serve.

2014 Australian Open winner Li Na jokes with the crowd during her acceptance speech Jan. 25, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
2014 Australian Open winner Li Na jokes with the crowd during her acceptance speech Jan. 25, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.

After the match, Li was her usual charming and funny self, delivering an acceptance speech that had the stadium rocking with laughter, as she recognized each member of her team in almost roast-style fashion.

OK, enough of the sports writing.  Time to treat this as a blog.  My blog.  My way.

And since this blog is about all things pantyhose, I must give props to WTA analyst and former World No. 1 professional tennis player Chris Evert (winner of 18 Grand Slam women’s singles titles) who not only did a great job calling the match along with Cliff Drysdale, but who presented the trophies to both players.

Chris surprised me, wearing a nice dress with high heels and sheer pantyhose.  I say surprised because every time I’ve watched pregame commentary by the former female players/now analysts, they are dressed extremely casually on the set sometimes in dresses, but always “bear”-legged, even though their male counterparts are wearing suits and ties.

So I’m proud of Chris for dressing appropriately for the occasion, as I can’t imagine even one of the other big-name former champions/analysts would have worn heels and hose in that situation.

(I couldn’t find a picture of Chris in that outfit to show you here, but you can catch a glimpse of her in this video of the awards presentation.) http://tennis.si.com/2014/01/25/li-na-australian-open-victory-speech/

In case you’re wondering, there are three (get that, 3 again?) reasons I’m writing this post here:

First, I was encouraged by seeing that you’ve been reading the first post I wrote about Li Na when I “discovered” her in 2011  and became a fan.

Second, I am so happy she won a second grand slam, I can’t sit back and not write about her.

Li Na, arrives for a dinner ceremony at the Shenzhen Open held from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, 2014 in China.
Li Na, arrives for a dinner ceremony at the Shenzhen Open held from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, 2014 in China.

Third, unlike last time, this time, I actually have some pictures of Na wearing pantyhose.  There’s the justification!

Still, this post will be different from what you’re used to getting from me.  You might not want to read this one unless you’re a WTA fan, and particularly, a Li Na fan.

If you do read this one, at least you’ll get a different insight into who I am outside of ActSensuous.

And besides, I have enough pics of Li Na in pantyhose, I need to write a lot to have a place to fit the pictures in. So, if nothing else, you can just enjoy the pictures and move on without really reading all this.

How it started

I had only just started regularly watching The Tennis Channel on DirecTV, and I grew to like Jelena Jankovic.  I thought JJ was very feminine and I liked her game.  But I had been growing weary of her drama queen antics, and then happened to see a Li Na match.  I had never heard of Li Na, even though she had been a professional on the WTA since 1999.

I wish I had been following tennis back then so I could have seen more Li Na matches.  Next month, Na (going with her first name at this point in the post) will turn 32, so I don’t know how much longer she’ll be playing.

Anyway, I loved what I saw.  Na is such a combination of grace, elegance, beauty (best legs in the WTA) and power.  Amazing that the first few matches I saw were during Na’s road to winning the tuneup match prior to the 2011 Australian Open, in which she beat the likes of powerhouse Petra Kvitova and the ever dangerous Kim Clijsters.  Then, she got to the final match of the Australian Open 2011, where she lost to Clijsters, but won an entire country with her charm and sense of humor during post match interviews.

Wow, I had a female tennis hero.  I had been watching the ATP and was an Andrei Agassi fan, then after Agassi retired, I really started liking Roger Federer.  But now, I was watching the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) on The Tennis Channel to see Li Na play.  She was an incredible shot-maker and a sharpshooter, painting the sidelines and baselines.  Her style was all out, and when that wasn’t working, Plan B was to hit the ball even harder.

I fell in love with Li Na and was so happy and proud of her when she became the first Asian player in history to play in a final (that 2011 Australian Open).

Later, Na made history again when she became the first Asian player (man or woman) to win a grand slam event (the 2011 French Open).

The signing among Li Na and Häagen-Dazs on Feb. 8, 2012 in Beijing, China becomes the premium ice cream brand’s first-ever athlete endorsement deal.
The signing among Li Na and Häagen-Dazs on Feb. 8, 2012 in Beijing, China becomes the premium ice cream brand’s first-ever athlete endorsement deal.

But then everyone saw what happened to Na’s psyche once she gained rock star status in China, and a ton of pressure descended on her to do it again.  That, combined with the added pressure of being among the highest paid athletes for sponsors, such as Nike, Mercedes, Haagen Daz, etc., saw her go through the 2012 season winning only one tournament (not a grand slam event) toward the end of the year.

It was difficult to watch Na in 2012  because she should have won so many matches that slipped away in the end because of the pressure, her nerves and a new-found doubt.

Enter new coach Carlos Rodriguez, former coach of Justine Henin, who struck up a partnership with Na.  It would prove to be the best thing to happen for Li Na’s career, as he took immediate steps to adjust Na’s game.  And, perhaps, more importantly, her psyche.

Rodriguez put Na through a training regimen that would have challenged Navy SEALS.  Then, he worked on her forehand and her serve.  All the TV analysts love to talk about how Na’s forehand is the first part of her game to break down.  They do say her backhand is the best in the game, but, oh, that forehand.  Alright, already.  I love Na’s forehand.

When she is in the zone, that forehand cross court shot is devastating. And I’ve seen her win a great many points with tat forehand.  But, in all fairness, Rodriguez did reign it in a bit by getting Na to add a little top spin to control it.

Also, thankfully, Rodriguez changed Na’s service motion, which has added a little more power and consistency to it, and lately, that serve has been winning her some free points, or setting the tone for her to take charge of the point from the start.

Li Na graces the April 29, 2013 cover of Time Magazine, honoring her among the magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Li Na graces the April 29, 2013 cover of Time Magazine, honoring her among the magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.

But the biggest thing is Rodriguez has really worked to improve Na’s emotions.  I knew Na needed an infusion of confidence, but I hadn’t realized how bad things had gotten for her until Saturday when the analysts pointed out that Na earlier confided in Rodriguez that, while so many others believed in her, she didn’t truly believe in herself.

Apparently, all the years she played tennis (started at 8 years old and turned pro at 16), she never got a single compliment about her tennis from any coach in China.  That, along with her almost overnight star power caused Na much stress, as the expectations of an adoring world made it more and more difficult for her to focus during tennis matches.

Rodriguez may be the best coach Li could have, as he has spent a great deal of time reassuring Na and teaching her how to keep her composure during a match, and to forgive herself when she makes a bad shot, as part of the problem is Na is very hard on herself.

Li Na, left, chats with friend and fellow WTA tennis player Peng Shuai during a dinner ceremony for the Shenzhen Open held from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, 2014 in China.
Li Na, left, chats with friend and fellow WTA tennis player Peng Shuai during a dinner ceremony for the Shenzhen Open held from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, 2014 in China.

Looking back

OK, there’s one other reason I am writing this post about Li Na, and if you’re looking for a place to bail out of this post, here it is. (I’d stop reading if I were you.)

Then again, this is where you’ll see a slightly different side of me.

This time last year, Na was in position to win the 2013 Australian Open.

Because I am a DirecTV subscriber and have the Tennis Channel, I was able to see every match Na played in the 2013 Australian Open.  She looked so much more powerful and confident.

But I was concerned when Na had to play Agneiszka Radwanska in the quarterfinal match.  Radwanska, at that time, was undefeated in 2013 and hadn’t dropped a single set on the year.

That match, I thought, would tell me whether Na was ready to contend for another championship title.

I was excited but nervous when Na won a tight first set, 7-5, Radwanska’s first loss in something like 26 or 28 sets I think.  But then, Na dominated in the second set, winning it 6-3.  I was starting to believe, yet, I still wondered whether Na could carry that over against Maria Sharapova in the semifinal match next.

OK, here’s that side you haven’t seen of me before:

Sharapova — or as I like to call her, “Shriek-a-pova” (because she’s the second-most annoying player of the WTA with that loud, obnoxious war cry on every single shot), had lost only nine games during the Australian Open heading into the match against Li.  But Na destroyed Shriekapova in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.  To me, Na looked ready to capture her second Grand Slam championship, and because this was the Australian Open, I thought it could actually happen.

In the final, Na would face Azarenka, THE most annoying player of the WTA.  I hate Azarenka (whom I call Ass-a-renka since she makes an ass out of herself with that stupid shriek of her’s on every single shot, including her serve), only slightly more than I hate Shriekapova.

Li Na, left, jokes with friend and fellow WTA tennis pro Zheng Jie and an unidentified woman about the marks on Li's knee from the physio tape she wears during play.  The chat was during a dinner ceremony for the Shenzhen Open tournament held from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, 2014 in China. (Li won the title.)
Li Na, left, jokes with friend and fellow WTA tennis pro Zheng Jie and an unidentified woman about the marks on Li’s knee from the physio tape she wears during play. The chat was during a dinner ceremony for the Shenzhen Open tournament held from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, 2014 in China. (Li won the title.)

So, that Friday night 2013, I couldn’t sleep.  And on Saturday morning, I watched, I cheered for Na, I spoke to Na through the TV, encouraging her every step of the way.  And when Na took the first set 6-4 (she could have/should have won it 6-2), I was feeling good.

And even when Assarenka went up 3-0 in the second set, I didn’t panic.  I know Na can overcome 0-3.  And, I figured if this went to three sets, it favored Na because she’s the better mover, her conditioning is better, and, hey, it’s the Australian Open.  I loved how 90 percent of the crowd was for Na.  In fact, as the match went on and Assarenka got nastier and nastier, I couldn’t believe anyone other than her coach and her boyfriend, Bozo the Clown, could possibly cheer for her.

But secretly, I was worried.  As much as she disgusts me, I have to say that Assarenka is tough.  She seems perfectly comfortable being the bad guy, and I was afraid the hostile crowd that cheered voraciously every time Assarenka missed a shot, and booed her every time she had words with the chair umpire or slapped a ball down the court after making an error, might backfire by making her more determined.  I was also a bit concerned that the overwhelming support for Li might creep into Na’s psyche.  Who knows how these things work?

Turn for the worst

Li Na grimaces in pain after spraining her ankle during the second set of the 2013 Australian Open women's singles championship match.
Li Na grimaces in pain after spraining her ankle during the second set of the 2013 Australian Open women’s singles championship match.

As I knew she would, Na overcame the 0-3 start in the second set, but I was stunned and extremely upset to see my hero roll her left ankle and fall.

The pain on her face scared me, especially, when she couldn’t put any weight on her leg.  Along with the estimated 20,000 spectators who sat in stunned silence, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

But I know Li Na is tough, and I was not surprised when, after the tournament training staff wrapped her ankle, she was able to continue.  She even leveled the set at 4-4.  And when she eventually lost that second set 4-6, I still believed she would win the third set and claim the trophy.

But with Na ahead in the third and final set 2-1, a scheduled fireworks show to commemorate Australia Day delayed play for 9 minutes.  I sensed a bad omen:  It was a momentum-killer and it forced Li to sit in the cold night air (Australia time), which was not good for her swollen ankle.

Li Na bangs the back of her head on the tennis court when she twisted her ankle a second time during the 2013 Australian Open championship match.  Li temporarily lost her vision and had to be evaluated for a concussion.
Li Na bangs the back of her head on the tennis court when she twisted her ankle a second time during the 2013 Australian Open championship match. Li temporarily lost her vision and had to be evaluated for a concussion.

And, sure enough, after play resumed, and during the first point, Na rolled the same ankle while chasing a shot wide to her backhand side.

This was almost unbelievable to me and the capacity crowd, but worse, this time, the fall caused Li to smack the back of her head hard on the court.  My heart sank.  Only this time, I wasn’t worried about the match — I was worried about Na.

Along with the crowd, I gasped at the site during the many replays.  Everyone sat in disbelief and stunned silence as doctors rushed on to the court to evaluate Li.

Li Na cracks up while WTA trainers evaluate her for a concussion after a fall in which she banged her head on the court during the 2013 Australian Open final.
Li Na cracks up while WTA trainers evaluate her for a concussion after a fall in which she banged her head on the court during the 2013 Australian Open final.

And then it happened.  During the concussion test, Na, in her ever-endearing style, seemingly embarrassed over all the attention, broke into laughter.  Later, she said during an interview she thought it was funny that this was happening on a tennis court and not in a hospital.

But when she laughed, the crowd broke out into laughter too.  It made me laugh and cry at the same time.  Na is such a sweetheart, such a good sport, such a great person.  What a little angel.  She said that for a couple of seconds she lost her vision.  It was a scary moment, but here she was lightening the moment with her cute personality, once again filling the crowd with a sense of awe for this magnificent, yet, humble and all too human a champion.

So many factors were working against Li Na.  The cool weather after it had been so hot for most of the tournament, the falls (the first in her professional career), the 9-minute delay of the match for the fireworks show, the overwhelming support of the crowd, all combined to doom Li Na’s chances to win her second Grand Slam event.  I wanted it for her so badly because I believed it would validate her, and restore her confidence once and for all.  And because the Australian Open is her Grand Slam tournament.  It her favorite event, and Li Na is so loved by most everyone there.

As it turned out, Li Na did what she always does – she was gracious, she was cute and funny.  She joked about falling, saying it was “Because I’m stupid.”  She vowed to be back better than ever.

But the ankle injury was more serious than anyone knew, and it took longer than expected for Na to return.  She missed a lot of tennis, and when she did come back, she played well, but didn’t win much the rest of the year.

Full circle

So, it’s last night Jan. 24, 2014 and Li Na is a finalist again in the Australian Open.  It seems like there is justice in sports that Na has another chance to win grand slam event she covets most.   The match would be aired at 3:30 a.m. today (Saturday).  I thought about going to sleep and recording the match on my DVR so I could watch later and just blow through the commercials.

Li Na displays the 2014 Australian Open trophy for women's singles final championship.
Li Na displays the 2014 Australian Open trophy for women’s singles final championship.

But who was I kidding?  I wasn’t going to be able to sleep.  Besides, I wanted to be there for every second of the match.  I wanted to be part of each point, talking to the TV, cheering after each winning rally and encouraging Na after each lost point.

I am her devoted fan.  I couldn’t not watch her match in real time.  I didn’t want the result to already have happened without me there to help.

My stomach was in knots at 3 a.m.  I wish I had known then about the good fortune that is the number 3 in Chinese culture.  It might have helped me relax a little.

Chinese tradition considers 3 a lucky number. Three has its origin in Confucianism and Taoism.  It stands for Heaven, Earth and Human being; philosophically, Tao means the amiableness among the above three elements. http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/lucky-number3.htm

The number 3 is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture. The number 3 is significant since there are three important stages in a man’s life (birth, marriage and death). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_in_Chinese_culture

In Mandarin, Number 3 sounds like the word, life, so it is considered a good number. http://www.chinese-traditions-and-culture.com/chinese-lucky-numbers.html

A charming New Year?

“Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality.

(Chinese New Year begins Friday Jan. 31, 2014 — the year of the horse.)

“Those born in horse years are cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and good with their hands.”

Li Na celebrates her victory on court after winning the 2014 Australian Open women's singles championship Jan. 25, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Li Na celebrates her victory on court after winning the 2014 Australian Open women’s singles championship Jan. 25, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.

We know Li Na is all of those things, especially, witty and good with a tennis racket in her hands.

Happy Chinese New Year, Li Na .

I hope you win the next three slams this year (French Open, Wimbledon and US Open).

Either way, at least you won the one you were made to win – the Australian Open.

Congratulations, Li Na.

Happy New Year to our Chinese and other Asian friends


Xin nian yu kuai.

Robin Maryland,president, ActSensuous
Robin Maryland,
president, ActSensuous

To our many Chinese customers, readers and my friends, Xie-Xie Ni for your loyalty to ActSensuous.

And to our Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese customers, and all our Asian friends who celebrate the Chinese New Year, ActSensuous wishes you much happiness, good health, prosperity and love in 2013, and always.

And now, in alphabetical order by how they’re most known (some by first name, others by last name):

Ann Curry:  You are amazing.  In addition to being a great journalist, you are classy, elegant and beautiful.  Thank you for always having the professionalism and sense of femininity to always wear sheer pantyhose.

Bai Ling:  You are an incredible actress, but you have become too Hollywierd and don’t choose the best roles.  You are unusually beautiful, but never moreso than when you wear a nice dress, pretty high heels and sheer pantyhose.  Thank you for the few times you do.  More than anyone else, you don’t let anyone or any movement determine what you wear.  I love it when you dress elegantly, especially when you wear sheer pantyhose.  But please, less sheer black, and more nude or suntan.

Gong Li was never more beautiful than in her role in the movie, "Miami Vice," wear she wore elegant suits and sheer nude pantyhose.
Gong Li was never more beautiful than in her role in the movie, “Miami Vice,” where throughout most of the film, she wore elegant suits and sheer nude pantyhose.

Gong Li:  You are devastatingly beautiful. You have the face of an angel from heaven.  And you have great legs and the most gorgeous feet in the whole world.  You are very strong-minded and strong-willed.  Please don’t follow a fashion trend. You always dress elegantly.  Just please wear sheer nude pantyhose more often. The few times you do, you rule the universe.

Jeon Ji-hyeon:  Loved you in “Blood, the Last Vampire” and “My Sassy Girl” and “Snowflower and the Secret Fan.”   You are incredibly beautiful.  You are one of the few young models/actresses out there who frequently wears beautiful outfits, including sheer pantyhose.  Thank you, and please continue to live up to the reputation Asian women have for carrying themselves with poise, class, grace and ultra femininity.

Joan Chen:  Wear have you been?  You are an awesome actress, and you are stunningly beautiful.  I’ve never seen you in a movie (other than a period piece) in which you didn’t wear sheer nude pantyhose when wearing a dress.  Yet, I can find only about six pictures of you in pantyhose. Someone as feminine and glamorous as you should live in a dress, high heels and sheer pantyhose.  Please, Joan.

Chinese actress, singer and model Karen Mok is a devoted pantyhose wearer.
Chinese actress, singer and model Karen Mok is a devoted pantyhose wearer.

Karen Mok:  You are the coolest of them all.  You are gorgeous, but you’re also just plain cute.  And you are known for your killer legs.  And you are appreciated by those in the know for being one of the few who always can be depended on to wear sheer pantyhose for all the right occasions and venues.

As adorable as you are, you have so much class.  You’re also very intelligent.  I think you speak five languages, you are a singer, dancer, model, actress, and now a wife.  Congratulations.  And really, I cannot thank you enough for your devotion to wearing sheer pantyhose.  You are amazing.  Please don’t ever change.

Kelly Hu, what in the world?  I’ve seen you in sheer pantyhose I think once.  You are gorgeous.  What are you thinking?  Please give the world the gift of seeing you in a dress, high heels and sheer nude pantyhose.  Oh my goodness, you’d be a total knockout.

Lucy Liu, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t adore you, but please lose those ugly think black tights and go back to wearing nude or suntan sheer pantyhose.  You really look incredible in them.  In a poll on this blog, “Which Asian actress do you most want to see in pantyhose?”, you are far and away the Number One choice.  When I see rare pics of you in sheer nude pantyhose, I shake my head in wonder at how anyone who looks that beautiful in them would ever choose not to wear them as often as you do.

Chinese actress Maggie Cheung always could be counted on to wear sheer pantyhose in her many movies and ads.
Chinese actress Maggie Cheung always could be counted on to wear sheer pantyhose in her many movies and ads.

Maggie Cheung:  Where, oh, where have you been, Maggie?  Back in the day, no one had more incredibly beautiful legs than you.  And you always wore sheer pantyhose.  In the Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh movie, “SuperCop” you played a tour guide and when you stepped off the bus in that short skirt, high heels and sheer nude pantyhose, I thought you were a total goddess.  Even today, in the rare pictures I see of you, you’re usually wearing pantyhose.  So, thank you, Maggie.  I’d just like to see you more often.

Maggie Q:  How adorable you are.  You are super talented.  You are becoming a great actress, yet, you maintain a sweet and genuine quality. Good for you.  I thought I was never going to see you in sheer pantyhose, but all of a sudden, during this season of “Nikita,” you are wearing them much more often, and looking great.  Thank you for that.

Michelle Yeoh:  You are still my favorite.  I think Zhang Ziyi is the most gorgeous woman in the world, but to me, you are the most beautiful woman in the world.  The difference?  To me, beautiful means so much more than just physical beauty.  You are so professional, so classy, so caring, so devoted to good causes.  You are a kind and good person.  But, Michelle, you have never been more lovely in your whole life than when you wear sheer nude pantyhose.  Lately, you’ve been doing the “bear”-legs thing during public appearances.

Malyasian actress and humanitarian Michelle Yeoh is considered by moviemakers to be the most professional in the business.
Malyasian actress and humanitarian Michelle Yeoh is considered by moviemakers to be the most professional in the business.

I once read a comment you made in a magazine interview about Asian women having surgery to change their single-eyelid, and you admonished them, saying something to the effect of “Don’t change your appearance to meet Western standards of beauty.”  I was so happy you said that.  I think the single-eyelid is one of the things that makes Asian women so beautiful.  But, Michelle, you have been following the fashion trend started by Western women of going “bear”-legged.  You are way too professional and have way too much class and elegance to allow yourself to dress the way these Hollywierd celebrities do.

Please, Michelle, do what you know is right — dress those lovely legs of yours in sheer pantyhose, the way you did many times during premiere or publicity events for “The Lady.”  You must have felt the occasion called for a more formal look, and you made the right decision in wearing pantyhose.  And you looked incredible.  Please dress this way more often. You are the most visible Asian actress in the world.  Asian women are known for dressing more elegantly and femininely than Western women. You are the perfect role model for all Asian women.  You could set such a good example for all the other Asian celebrities.  Please do that, Michellle.

The few times Korean actress Sandra Oh wears an elegant outfit with sheer pantyhose, she is among the most beautiful Asian stars.
The few times Korean actress Sandra Oh wears an elegant outfit with sheer pantyhose, she is among the most beautiful Asian stars.

Sandra Oh:  The same goes for you.  You can do the slob routine as well as the typical Westerner.  But you just as often wear some fantastic dresses and awesome shoes.

And here’s something many people probably don’t realize — you have gorgeous feet.  But it is so rare (if ever these days) to see you in sheer nude or suntan pantyhose.

You really should go back and look at the pictures of you in that TV series you starred in, ‘Arliss,” about the sports agent, your movies “Last Night,” Double Happiness” and “Bean.”

How can someone who looks as incredible as you do in sheer pantyhose opt to go bare-legged, or almost worse, wear those thick black ugly tights.  Yuk.  You have great legs, Sandra.  They’ve never looked better than in sheer pantyhose.

Shu Qi:  You made a movie titled “Gorgeous,” and you are.  And you’re the cutest Asian actress ever.  More than most others, you are a frequent wearer of sheer pantyhose and you look incredible when you do.

For a good portion of the movie, "The Transporter," Chinese actress/model Shu Qi wore a lovely outfit with sheer nude pantyhose.
For a good portion of the movie, “The Transporter,” Chinese actress/model Shu Qi wore a lovely outfit with sheer nude pantyhose.

You were never more lovely and adorable than in “The Transporter.”  Here’s what petite women don’t seem to understand: Nothing looks better on you than a short skirt and high heels.  And, in “The Transporter,” that’s what you wore, with very sheer nude pantyhose.  Your legs never looked prettier.  Thank you, Shu Qi.  You are awesome.

Tia Carrere:  What happened to you?  You have disappeared.  I don’t know what you’re up to, and in the few pics I’ve seen of you, you’re doing the “bear”-legged thing.  I don’t know why because in your day, every movie I saw you in, you were wearing a dress, high heels and sheer nude or suntan pantyhose.  And, oh my gosh, did you have incredible legs.  You had to know that those pantyhose made your legs.  Yet, today, you’ve turned your back on them.  I don’t know why.  But thank you for how incredible you looked in pantyhose, particularly in “Wayne’s World,” High School High,” and “True Lies.”

Korean actress/singer Uhm Jung-hwa was deadly but delicious in sheer pantyhose in "Princess Aurora."
Korean actress/singer Uhm Jung-hwa was deadly but delicious in sheer pantyhose in “Princess Aurora.”

Uhm Jung-hwa:  You broke my heart in “Princess Aurora.”  What a beautiful, sad and powerful movie.  And what an amazing acting job, Jung-hwa.  I became a fan for life.  I know you also are an awesome model and singer/stage performer in Korea.

I know you always wear sexy outfits, including sparkly tights or sheer pantyhose during your performances. But it’s the look you portray in your movies that make me a fan. I’ve tried to buy all your movies on DVD, but only a handful are available to the U.S.  I’ve got four so far, but for me, “Princess Aurora” will always be the one that defines you.  You looked stunningly beautiful in that role, and I love that you wore sheer nude pantyhose throughout the movie, including during the fight scene with that lawyer.  Wow. Thank you for your commitment to femininity.  Still, I wish you were a more frequent pantyhose wearer when making public appearances.  I just hope you realize that, as beautiful as you look in everything you wear, you look twice as amazing in pantyhose.

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, speaking during a media event last year in Toronto, routinely dresses professionally and beautifully, including wearing sheer pantyhose.
Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, speaking during a media event last year in Toronto, routinely dresses professionally and beautifully, including wearing sheer pantyhose.

Zhang Ziyi:  Fittingly, your name allows me to save the best for last. I think you are the most gorgeous woman who has ever walked the planet. From head to toe, you are perfect.  In your movies, you are exciting, thrilling, powerful, beautiful, cute and funny.  You are amazing.  Of course, most of the movies you’ve made are kung fu period pieces, so no pantyhose.  But among all the other fabulous qualities you possess, I respect, admire and greatly appreciate you for being extremely professional, classy, glamourous and the very definition of feminine.  No one is more feminine than you.

And thank you, ZZ, for more often than not wearing sheer pantyhose when you make public appearances.  I’ll say this though:  If anyone could get away with NOT wearing pantyhose, it’s you.  You look incredible even bare-legged (no “bear” description for you.)  Still, when you do wear pantyhose, you are breathtakingly beautiful, and extremely sexy.  Also, while I said Gong Li has the most gorgeous feet of anyone, your’s are right there, too.  So please realize that nothing makes pretty feet look even prettier than sheer nylons. Thank you, Ziyi, for being such a perfect example for women everywhere.  You are the best ever and my hero.

Of course, there are many other Asian celebrities I could have mentioned, but this blog post would have gotten too long if I thanked each one individually.

Likewise, I know that there are a million Asian everyday women out there who go to work, go shopping, go to school, go to the grocery store, or just hang out — almost always wearing pantyhose.  I’ve heard that many Japanese housewives in particular wear pantyhose.  Now that is the ultimate commitment to beauty, grace and femininity.

My thanks to Asian women all over the world because it is common knowledge that you are more devoted pantyhose wearers than women of all other nationalities.

To all of you, Happy Chinese New Year 2013.

Professional tennis champion Li Na presents an autographed photo to a fan during a publicity event held by a sponsor, ice cream maker Haagen-Dazs, in 2011 in China.
Professional tennis champion Li Na presents an autographed photo to a fan during a publicity event held by a sponsor, ice cream maker Haagen-Dazs, in 2011 in China.

And, finally, to Li Na: I love you so much.  You are my all-time favorite WTA player.  Since I have the Tennis Channel on DirecTV, I can watch every match you play during the Grand Slam events.

It broke my heart that you didn’t win the Australian Open last month.  I rooted and cheered during every shot you made, and I will be there for you during the upcoming French Open, hoping you can repeat as the 2011 champion there, Wimbledom and the U.S. Open.

I hope you win them all, but whether you do or not, you are nothing but a winner in life.

Li Na, you are the most powerful, yet, graceful player in the WTA. You are the most fierce competitor, yet, the most gracious person.  You have so much class.  And you have the best smile ever.  Ni hen mei li, Li Na.

Oh, and you have the most beautiful legs of any player in the WTA.  Sadly, I’ve got only one picture of you wearing pantyhose, and not surprisingly, you look incredible in them.  I hope to see you wearing pantyhose more often, but whether you do or not, I will always love you.

Now, please enjoy these pictures of some of my favorite Asian celebrities:

American actress of Chinese heritage, Joan Chen almost always can be seen in sheer pantyhose in her movie roles.
American actress of Chinese heritage Joan Chen almost always can be seen in sheer pantyhose in her movie roles.
Chinese superstar Zhang Ziyi, mostly known to Western audiences for her roles in such movies as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Hero,” and “Rush Hour 2,” isn’t seen in pantyhose much because her roles are set in ancient China. But, as she is frequently the recipient of awards, and during other public appearances, the gorgeous and talented actress most-often shows up (quite beautifully) in sheer pantyhose.
Zhang Ziyi
Zhang Ziyi
Actress/model Shu Qi likely is best known to Western audiences for her role in the movie, “The Transporter,” starring Jason Statham.
Western audiences might also recognize Taiwan actress Shu Qi from the Jackie Chan movie, appropriately named (for her) “Gorgeous.”
The always professional and lovely TV journalist/anchor Ann Curry.
Actress Maggie Cheung might best be known to Western audiences for her roles in the Jackie Chan movies, “Supercop” and “Twin Dragons,” as well as a great character in the Jet Li movie, “Hero.”
Zhang Ziyi
Shu Qi is very professional and can almost always be counted on to wear sheer pantyhose during publicity events and other public appearances.
Zhang Ziyi
Jeon Ji-hyeon (aka Gianna Jun) might best be known to Western audiences for her role in the movie, “Blood, the Last Vampire.”
Zhang Ziyi
Beautiful and elegant singer/actress Uhm Jung-hwa stars in Korean TV series and movies. Publicity photo from the Korean movie, “Insadong Scandal.”
American actress of Chinese descent, Jamie Chung, can be seen in movies, such as “Sucker Punch” and “Premium Rush.”
Karen Mok
Kristin Kreuk
Zhang Ziyi
Fabulous American actress of Chinese descent, Lucy Liu isn’t often seen in pantyhose, and the few times she is, they’re usually black. Too bad because she looks amazing in sheer nude pantyhose.
Maggie Cheung
Maggie Cheung
The fabulous pantyhose-adorned legs of beautiful Chinese Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, best known to Western audiences for her roles in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Supercop,”  “Silver Hawk” and the James Bond movie, “Tomorrow Never Dies,” alongside Pierce Brosnan.
Canadian actress of Korean descent, Sandra Oh, in a scene from the HBO TV series, “Arli$$,” in which Sandra regularly dressed professionally and beautifully in business outfits, including sheer pantyhose.
Sandra Oh played a great part in the movie, “Last Night,” (as in the last night on Earth), in which she wore a red dress, high heels and sheer suntan pantyhose.
Known for her (almost-always pantyhose-adorned) legs, Karen Mok might be recognized by Western audiences for her roles in the Jet Li movie, “The Black Mask,” and the Stephen Chow movie, “Shaolin Soccer.”
Shu Qi might also be known to Western audiences for her role in the Jackie Chan movie, "Gorgeous."
Shu Qi was never more cute and lovely than in her role in the Jason Statham movie, “The Transporter.”
Shu Qi
In addition to her many starring roles in movies, Shu Qi is a professional model.
Sandra Oh during a scene from the movie, “Bean,” in which she wears this awesome outfit, complete with sheer black pantyhose.
American actress of Chinese heritage Tia Carrere could almost always be counted on to wear sheer nude pantyhose, as she does in this scene from the movie, “True Lies.”
Korean actress Uhm Jung-hwa might be known to Western audiences only for her amazing role in the Korean thriller, “Princess Aurora,” occasionally shown on premium movie channels in the U.S.

thriller

As a professional singer, model and actress in Korea, gorgeous  Uhm Jung-hwa most often can be seen wearing sheer nude pantyhose on the job.
Zhang Ziyi
Always-amazing Zhang Ziyi not only is the highest paid actress in China, but also a desired model. Probably the most prolific wearer of sheer pantyhose among all actresses anywhere.
Zhang Ziyi looks incredible even as a blonde.
Almost every time she makes publicity appearances or attends awards ceremonies, Zhang Ziyi  dresses elegantly, complete with sheer pantyhose.

almost

The always-stunning Zhang Ziyi.
Her smile can light up the world, but Zhang Ziyi’s amazing legs, most often adorned in sheer pantyhose, can make the world smile back.
Absolutely perfect Zhang Ziyi.
Zhang Ziyi, second from left.
Zhang Ziyi, second from left.

Li Na — Beauty and the Best


Congratulations to Li Na of Wuhan, China, who has become the first Chinese player (man or woman) in history to win a Grand Slam singles tennis title, capturing the 2011 French Open today on Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros inParis.

Li, 29, defeated defending champion Francesca Schiavone, 30, of Italy in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (7-0).

While the second set was more of a challenge, Li’s performance was amazing, serving at 76 percent, winning 69 percent of points on her second serve, and smacking 31 winners, dictating play throughout and pinning Schiavone back and neutralizing her impressive court coverage and net game.

I love Li Na, and I could not be happier for her.  To me, she is the most elegant, classy and gracious player on the WTA, and I love her game.  She can make every shot, hits the ball hard and flat, moves extremely well and has a good serve.

Li Na of China reacts after capturing the 2011 French Open women’s singles title Saturday in Paris.

While she is happiest camping on the base line, hitting the ball with great pace and extreme precision –  teasing all the lines, finding each corner and producing amazing angles – she plays the net well, too.  She is fast, graceful, powerful and a thrill to watch.

Strong is Beautiful  

The timing is great for Li Na and many of her fellow players, who are featured in a Women’s Tennis Association new ad campaign:  “Strong is Beautiful,” which launched last month, ostensibly aimed at trying to attract more male fans.

Li Na is featured in the WTA’s new “Strong is Beautiful” advertising campaign.

The movie quality videos feature dry ice and wind machines blowing done-up hair and dresses over svelte figures of WTA stars, while they blast serves or drive ground strokes toward the camera.

While the videos have sparked a little controversy, I like the idea of glamourizing the WTA stars.  These women are amazing athletes, so it’s nice that they have a chance to show the world their feminine side.  But let’s not miss an opportunity here.  As long as the women are sporting makeup, have their hair done, and are wearing dresses or skirts, why not put them in pantyhose and high heels?  So far, the videos I’ve seen have them decked out, but still wearing tennis shoes.

I’m reminded that one of my polls a couple of years ago on this blog asked: “Which Celebrity do you most want to see in Pantyhose?”  We got some great answers – all the usual suspects, but one name  was added by a voter under the “Other” category – he or she wrote in Jelena Jankovic.  I thought that was cute, but I had to agree.

Jelena is one of the most feminine players on the WTA, and she does like to do “girly” when she’s off the court.  She particularly loves high heels.  I’d love to see Jelena in pantyhose.

Li Na prepares to serve during a match.

While Li Na has a lovely figure, you can see she is strong, with muscles that have been honed during a long career.

And you can’t help but notice Na has great legs.

When I decided to make this blog post about Li Na, I did a Google search for images of Na, hoping to find at least one pic of her in which she was dressed formally, figuring I could show her to you in pantyhose and high heels.  No such luck.

[See July 2012 update and photo at end of post.]

Athletes and Pantyhose

As cool as it is to see photos of actresses and other celebrities wearing pantyhose when they don’t have to, such as when they’re out and about, making promotional appearances or attending a special event, it might be even neater to see professional athletes lose the tennis shoes once in a while in favor of high heels and pantyhose.

I love this photo of recently-retired WTA star Elena Dimentieva.  I always thought she was one of the more feminine-looking WTA players, but I had no idea she could look this amazing.

Then, there are the professional athletes who wear pantyhose as an integral part of their outfit.

One such group is professional figure skaters.

Miki Ando

Figure skating is a beautiful and graceful sport.  Similar to tennis, the combination of  the power, grace and beauty of the athletes makes the sport a pleasure to watch, but could you imagine figure skaters not wearing pantyhose?

More than with any other sport, figure skating costumes are decidedly delicate and ultra feminine, and pantyhose are so important to the look of figure skaters.

It is my hope that since female figure skaters are introduced to the positive and glamorous aspects of pantyhose at an early age, they will go on to wear more often in their personal lives.

Another group of professional athletes who wear pantyhose as an integral part of their outfits is the cheerleaders of the NFL and NBA?

In the case of cheerleaders for NFL teams in hot weather climates, such as Florida, I greatly respect those ladies who understand that pantyhose are so essential to their look, even though they have to routinely perform in near-100 degree temperatures.

By contrast, so many women gripe that it’s too hot to wear pantyhose, even though they are spending the majority of their time in air-conditioned office buildings, usually sitting.  How sad.

Back to Li Na

I was always a Jelena Jankovic fan, until I saw my first Li Na match in January of this year.  It was just prior to the Australian Open.  Li faced Kim Clijsters of Belgium in a tuneup event in Sydney, Australia before the Australia Open in Melbourne the following week.  Na was down 5-0 in the first set, but came back to win that set (7-5) and the next, capturing her first major title, on the way to becoming the first-ever Asian player to make it to a Grand Slam event – the Australian Open.

Li Na drives a backhand during the 2011 Australian Open against Kim Clijsters.

I loved everything about her:  The way she strikes the ball, her confidence and courage in constructing points, and her beautiful movement on the court.  Seeing her play a few times, I was won over.  I officially became a Li Na fan (sorry, Jelena), and have been cheering for her ever since.  I was sorry to see her lose in the Australian Open, but was thrilled in the process to learn, along with the entire tennis world, much about Li Na.  (I still like Jelena and want her to win, but not if she comes up against Li Na.)

As Li was making tennis history, the pre- and post-match interviews came, and we all got to see another side of the totally focused and intense player Li is on the court.  That’s when I came to love Na.  What a sweet, cute and funny personality she is!  We learned that she is very popular in the locker room and a favorite among other players.

During a postgame interview after Li’s semifinal win in Sydney, an interviewer asked Li what it was like having her husband as her coach (at that time), and what he gave her that was motivational?  Li’s answer:  “Credit card.”  She said that with a big smile to a roar of laughter from the crowd.  Apparently, Na gets to go shopping after each match she wins.  Then, the interviewer asked her if she was going to watch tape of her next opponent.  Li’s answer: “I think that husband’s job.  I’m going to lie in bed and watch TV.”  Again, the crowd roared with laughter.  During another interview, Li was asked about how rested she was for an upcoming match, and again, Li cracked everyone up by imitating her husband’s snoring.

Already a hero in China, Li Na likely will enjoy rockstar status now.

If Na weren’t so lovely, graceful and an absolute powerhouse on the court, her cute personality and sense of humor alone would have gained her legions of new fans.

But it’s even more than all that.  Na is a very kind and caring person.  I’ve read that there have been many cases in which she donated all her prize money from a winning a match to earthquake victims, or for orphanages in China.

One thing I admire about Na is she never loses her temper, throws a racket or argues about bad calls.

At times, she gets a bit flustered (at herself), but she doesn’t let it cost her a match.  And when her forehand deserts her or she disappears during a few games, she trusts and believes in herself, and she continues to play her style of high-risk/high-reward, all-out tennis.

Leading up to the final, Li played brilliantly against three powerhouses, who none of the “experts” gave her a chance to beat.  First, she overcame dropping a first set (I think 6-1) to Petra Kvitova, who has a monster serve and booming ground strokes.  I was so proud of Li for coming back and winning the next two sets convincingly.  Then, it was Victoria Azarenka, who everyone said had too much power for Li.  But Na took her down in straight sets.  Finally, no one gave Li much of a chance against Maria Sharapova, with her power, serve and experience, but Na dispatched her in straight sets, too.

I kept talking to the TV, telling Li: “If you come back (from down one set to Kvitova), and win this match, your legend in China will be off the charts.”  And I said the same types of things during the Azarenka and Sharapova matches.

Still, I think everyone expected Schiavone to win the French Open.  They thought Schiavone’s experience, her scrambling ability, variety of shots with topspin and slices and net play, not to mention that she had won the event last year, would frustrate Li.  But Li was cool, calm and focused, and she seemed from the outset like she was on a mission.

Because of the excellent coverage on Tennis Channel on DirecTV, I was able to take advantage of the French Open Mix, in which viewers can choose to watch up to six matches at a time.  I got up each morning at 5 a.m. the past 10 days so that I could see each of Li’s matches.

Li Na appears poised for many more wins and records.

I am so proud of Na.  I was standing, cheering, applauding and holding my breath during many rallies.  I’ve never been so engaged as a tennis fan.  It was like watching NFL games.

Having won the French Open, Li Na will now be ranked Number 4 in the world – yet another record for China.

Congratulations, Li Na.  You deserve this win.  You are a true champion, not just in China, but throughout the tennis world.

I am absolutely thrilled for you.

Update July 2012

Unlike with traditional newspaper or magazine stories, one of the beauties of a blog is the ability to edit at any time a story that’s already been published.   If you follow the WTA, you know Li Na hasn’t enjoyed much (or any) success since her history-making victory in the 2011 French Open.

I’m no fair-weather fan, and I still love Li Na.  I watch every match of her’s I can find, which is like none lately.  Amazing how not winning can get one bounced off the TV schedule.   Of course the exception is the majors, and as a DirecTV customer with the Tennis Channel, I was able to see Li’s matches in this year’s Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.

They were hard to watch, as Li was knocked out of each tournament way too early,  and it killed me to see how the immense pressure that being a newly-minted rock star in Asia and the world affected Na’s psyche, as has the toll of being a $50 million endorser for the likes of Mercedes Benz, Haagen-Dazs and other international brands.   It broke my heart to watch match after match where Na was a point or two away from winning, but struggled to put an opponent away, only to watch that opponent mount a comeback for the win.

I’ll say this though:  No one beats Li Na except Li Na.  She still is far and away the more talented player on the court, but her nerves seemingly are shot.  The only match I saw where she looked like her championship self was in the final of this year’s Melbourne tuneup match to the Australian Open, this time against Maria Sharapova.  That match turned into a tightly-contested marathon in which both players had numerous chances to win.  I can’t tell you how badly I wanted Na to win this one.  I felt like she really needed it.

Soon, it’ll be time for the final major of the 2012 season – the U.S. Open in New York.   It’s a hardcourt surface, which suits Li’s game well, so I will be glued to my big screen TV, hoping, wishing and shouting encouragement to my tennis hero.

Pantyhose connection

Other than my posts that feature a celebrity receiving our Grizzly Award for being anti-pantyhose and in favor of today’s ugly “bear”-legs movement, this post I originally wrote in June  2011 remained the only one that really wasn’t about pantyhose.  Of course, I finagled a pantyhose angle by throwing in a bit about professional athletes in pantyhose.  But, hard as I tried, I could not find one picture of Li Na wearing pantyhose.  In most cases, that would have discouraged me from writing the post, but I was so thrilled that my new favorite WTA player had just won her first major, I had to do it.

Then, an entire year after this post was published, one of our readers, phish, wrote a comment last month proudly attaching a link with a picture he’d found of Li Na wearing pantyhose.

You’ll see what he wrote in the Comments section below:  In part, it reads:  “Happened upon your blog and saw this post about Li Na and that, sadly, you hadn’t found any pics of her in hose.  Well, here you go!”

2011 French Open champion Li Na, left, presents an autographed photo to a fan during an event at which international ice cream maker Haagen-Dazs signs a sponsorship contract with Li on Feb. 8, 2012 in Beijing, China.

Talk about worth the wait.  Wow.  Li Na looks so beautiful in this picture.  I really wish she would wear more often.  She studied journalism at a university in China, so maybe when she retires from tennis, she’ll become a journalist, or perhaps a commentator for the WTA.  If so, she’s professional and classy enough that she likely would wear dresses, skirts and suits with high heels and pantyhose.
Today, I thanked phish again for this photo of Li Na, and this is what he told me:

“When I saw that you had an entire article about Li Na, but without any photos of her in hosiery, I took it as a challenge to find some.  Fortunately, I found that set, but unfortunately, that’s the only one I could find out there.  Sorry!”

I love it when my readers participate in my blog by leaving comments about my different posts, and especially, when they make it their mission to help us all by doing the impossible in some cases, and finding rare and treasured photos, such as this one of Li Na in pantyhose.

There, this blog post is justified now.