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Bear Grylls: Hey, Fu Yuanhui, come and eat worms with me!

Last Saturday, British adventurer and television presenter Bear Grylls invited Chinese swimming star Fu Yuanhui to his television show.

Grylls has been well known for his survival skills demonstrated in his TV series, a series which became well known in China as well as in the Anglosphere. He has invited celebrities from all over the world to his TV series, where he takes each celebrity on one-on-one journeys into some of the world’s wildest and remotes locations.

The best known person to have appeared on his show is American president Obama. He joined Grylls and tested his survival skills in Alaska in December 2015.

Grylls introduced his new TV show Absolute Wild in Chinese in his Weibo last Monday, which attracted Fu’s attention. Fu replied under his Weibo that she wanted very much to be invited. Grylls invited her publicly over his Weibo last Saturday.

Bear Grylls invites Fu Yuanhui in his Weibo. Screenshot from Grylls’s Weibo.

Fu, the “optimistic while bizarrely cool girl” impressed Grylls with her “bravery and open minded personality” and outstanding physical capability. Grylls wondered if Fu can accept his challenge with her Hong Huang Zhi Li, or the “power of flood and wilderness” as Grylls put it, using a catchphrase that Fu had popularized during the Rio Olympics.

Fu became a rising web celebrity in China when her combination of exaggerated facial expressions but natural words and actions charmed Chinese audiences during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Her interviews became widely shared across Chinese language cyberspace and she became famous within days.

Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, accepts Grylls’s invitation by eating worms. Screenshot from Baidu’s Weibo.

Baidu CEO Robin Li may be the biggest Chinese celebrity in Grylls’s invitation list so far. Li accepted Grylls’s invitation last Friday with a picture of Li eating worms alive.

Also in the list is Chinese actress Ivy Chen, who “jumped into the ocean and swam naked” to celebrate her 30th birthday.

It seems that Grylls has invited Chinese celebrities from all three areas in his list: business, sports and entertainment. But it will not stop Chinese netizens from wondering: who will be next?

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