Actress to star in commercial for local factory

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall

WICKLIFFE, Ky. - You may not recognize her, but in China, she's a movie star and a household name.  Now Zhu Xi Juan is joining forces with the owner of a local fish factory to help sell something many Americans don't want, but Asians like.

Two Rivers Fisheries in Wickliffe, Kentucky is just days away from opening its processing plant.  The fishery pays fisherman for their catch.  The plant then processes the Asian Carp and ships it to foreign markets, where it's a popular food.

Zhu Xi Juan came to the states to show Chinese viewers the fish here is, in fact wild, and that even a growing number of Americans like and will eat Asian carp.

The actress has starred in ten movies, like the 1965 motion picture "The Red Soldier Girl". She's the winner of a Chinese version of the Oscar, owns a production company and has played countless roles on both television and the stage.

Now, she's doing something she's never done before:  endorsing a product processed in the United States and sent to her country.

"She's my best friend," Juan said of Two Rivers Fishery Owner Angie Yo.  The two have been friends for years.

"She's working so hard. I have to be here to support her and help her," Juan said of Yo.

Tuesday Zhu Xi Juan sat down at a table inside the plant. With Asian Carp in front of her and local leaders around her, she savored every bite. The Americans did, too.

That's part of the plan, to show the Chinese that Americans also eat Asian Carp, although that might not be an important part of the commercial.  It's because Zhu Xi Juan is a huge influence.

"Chinese people all like her so they will try whatever she say," Yo said of Zhu Xi Juan.

Those commercials will air on a cable network throughout China.  They're also producing a documentary about the plant, that'll be uploaded to YouTube. In it, they'll explain the process that includes 'fast freezing' the fish at 40 below zero in bags. Then the product is kept 20 below zero during shipping.

When will the plant be up and running?  Yo said she's waiting on proper permits to start full operations at the plant.  She hopes to be up and running by the end of the week.

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