by Ari and Cho Na, November 20, 2022

credit: Instagram

Name: Yang Chen Lin (楊丞琳)

Stage Name: Rainie Yang

Height: 5'3 (160 cm)

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

Birthday: June 4th, 1984

Favorite Colors: Black & Pink

Occupation: Actress, Singer, TV Host

Welcome to my fan guide for our 2000s Taiwanese queen, Rainie Yang. I’ve been wanting to do this guide for a very long time since Rainie’s dramas are what I consider to be my real start in the Asian drama world. I’ll take you through Rainie’s beginning, her dramas, her music, and where she is currently today.

Feel free to grab your popcorn and take a seat while I take you through the nostalgic era of Rainie’s Beginning.

credit: carerengine

Lily Yang, born as Yang Chen Lin, was born in Taipei, Taiwan, where she’d start a career in show business at an early age, after the unfortunate failure of her family’s business. She had a talent for singing, so naturally she found success in the early 2000s as she was recruited by BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group) with the opportunity to be part of an all-girls singing group titled 4 in Love.

Lily would then be given the stage name ‘Rainie’ to fit in with the group’s weather theme and complete two albums underneath 4 in Love.

After her group’s disbandment in 2001-2002, she found herself cast in a supporting role in the popular Taiwanese adaptation of the Hana Yori Dango franchiseMeteor Garden. From here starts Rainie’s beginning as the Taiwanese acting and singing queen we know her to be today.

Disclaimer: Rainie has several dramas and films that I have yet to see because they were either not available online or in English (my native language). 

Meteor Garden (2001) 

In Meteor Garden and the sequel Meteor Rain, Rainie played the character Xiao You, the best friend of the main character Dong Shan Cai, and later developed feelings for one of the F4 (Flowers Four), Xi Men. Rainie’s character could be described as innocent and naïve, but I always saw her as loyal to her friends, which you could see through her relationship with Shan Cai.

What I loved about this classic is that we got to see Rainie transition from singing to an acting role, and see how she managed to give emotion and comedy into her debut. 

Rainie's dramas from 2002 to 2005

Rainie then acted in several dramas in the early 2002s, known as Sunshine Jelly, Lavender 2, Tomorrow, Godfather in Pink, Scent of Summer, City of Sky, Love Bird, The Legend of Speed, and New Strange Stories from Liao Zhai.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any of these dramas of hers at all. For some of these, I can only find clips and they are without English subtitles. Although I wouldn’t be able to discuss these dramas, I included these as a disclaimer, because I wanted to say that I’m proud of Rainie for being able to transition from a supporting role into multiple main actress roles thereafter. 

We will fast-forward to one of my favorite dramas from Rainie, that kept me in the drama world: Devil Beside You.

Devil Beside You (2005) 

Rainie plays the main character Qi Yue, who is determined to confess her feelings to her crush, the basketball team captain Yuan Yi (Kingone Wang). With this determination, she attempts to give him a love letter, but in regular drama fashion accidentally gives it to the “prince of seduction” Ahmon (Mike He). Ahmon is characterized as the school's bad boy and, to her dismay, she later finds out that her mother is set to marry Ahmon’s father, which means that he’d become her step-brother. Ahmon later blackmails Qi Yue into becoming his runner, and their complicated love story begins here when she’s forced to deal with her new feelings for Ahmon.

What I loved about this drama was the silliness behind it all. Qi Yue’s loud expressions and clumsy nature always guaranteed me a good laugh, and it gravitated my shift towards watching more Taiwanese dramas. As a fan of romantic dramas, Rainie sold me on the chemistry between her and the main actor, Mike He, and the love their characters shared in the story.

Why Why Love (2007)

Racing forward to 2007, we have Rainie paired again with her co-stars from DBY, Mike He and Kingone Wang, in a new drama known as Why Why Love.

Rainie is cast as Jia Di, a girl whose life completely comprises working and paying off her family debts. Her best friend, Xiao Nan, wants Jia Di to fall in love and have a life outside of work, so she sneaks a love coupon into Jia Di’s raffle box. Because of this, Jia Di later finds herself in a love triangle with the brothers Huo Yan (Kingone Wang) and Huo Da (Mike He).

What I loved about this drama was that fans of Devil Beside You could see the chemistry between Mike He and Rainie in a new drama world. Why Why Love was a bit more dramatic for my liking, but it was also less problematic compared to Devil Beside You.

Another year, another drama. Rainie played Xiao Hua in Miss No Good.

Miss No Good (2008)

Xiao Hua is a quirky girl who has a ‘unique’ sense of style (loud colors, big hair, a real showstopper) and works in her family’s accessory store. Her childhood crush, Jia Se Le (Dean Fujioka), returns from Japan with a major change to his appearance, and he relates Xiao Hua’s style to a Christmas Tree. In disarray with the comment she received, Xiao Hua wants to change how she looks to match better with Jia Se Le’s new look. Xiao Hua meets Tang Men (Wilber Pan), the famous stylist, and blackmails him into changing her into an upper-class woman. As they spend more time together, Tang Men falls in love with Xiao Hua just as she is, and a love triangle blossoms.

Miss No Good was one of many dramas where Rainie played a quirky and comical character. I laughed many times at the outrageous style that the character Xiao Hua offered. I also sat at the edge of my seat rooting for Xiao Hua to choose Tang Men over Jia Se Le because he fell for who she was, not the woman she was trying to become. I loved that this drama taught me a valuable lesson in my adolescence about finding someone who loves you for being you.

ToGetHer (2008)

Blessed with another role in the same year, Rainie played the shy and responsible Chen Mo Mo in ToGetHer. Because of her shy nature, Momo isn’t noticed in or outside of the classroom, with her only concern being her manga hero: Prince Kashaba. Because of debt, her older sister decides to rent out their parents' room, and this is the start of her relationship with the superstar Mars (Jiro Wang) who has to rent out the space at her house because of a plummet in his popularity.

What I loved about this drama was that we got to see Rainie in a different type of character role. Compared to her previous dramas, Momo was much more reclusive, which meant we got to see a nice character progression toward the end as she became more open. I also loved her onscreen chemistry with Jiro Wang. The plot is something we’ve seen before, but I enjoyed watching Rainie explore different character roles through Momo.

Hi My Sweetheart (2009)

Rainie is back again with her award-winning Best Comedy drama, Hi My Sweetheart. Rainie took home the 2011 Golden Bell's Best Actress award as well for her role as Chen Bao Zhu. Chen Bao Zhu is an antisocial “alpha female” rebel that meets the persistent and nerdy Da Lang (Show Lo). Da Lang tries his hardest to befriend Bao Zhu, and eventually, they begin to fall in love. From there, many misunderstandings and common plot tropes ensue, but our leads can find their happy ending through it all.

I watched this drama recently, as it didn’t appeal to me back when I first started watching Rainie’s dramas. I think that while this drama does have its flaws, it does a good job of making me laugh through the slapstick humor that Taiwanese dramas brought into 2009. I enjoyed watching Rainie explore an edgier character role. I believe she did a great job in showing emotion, character progression, and her feelings for the ML. 

As trope heavy as this drama was, I’m a big fan of the romance in this one, and I’d recommend it if you can see over the slapstick humor and appreciate the love that the characters offer.

Sunshine Angel (2011)

Rainie, with a more modern look, is back as the poor but optimistic Yang Guang in Sunshine Angel. She plays this role alongside Wu Chun as Di Ya Xin, the arrogant but rich CEO. They meet after Yang Guang works as a maid at his home, and as Ya Xin loses his company, Yang Guang remains by his side through all the hardships.

While I’ve grown from the ever-popular “poor girl, rich man” drama tropes, I’m still happy I could see the range in Rainie’s performances. We get to see Rainie in a more mature role in Sunshine Angel. While Yang Guang still has her quirkiness, it’s toned down here and we can see the layers of emotion and expression that Rainie can deliver.

The romance here wasn’t my absolute favorite, but there were many cute moments between the main characters that made for a heartwarming watch.

Drunken to Love You (2011)

Drunken to Love You is a tale of misunderstandings, second chances, and pivotal changes.

We see Rainie playing as Xiao Ru, a woman who proposes marriage to her boyfriend but is, to her surprise, rejected. After the rejection, she meets Jie Xiu (Joseph Chang), a man who also was rejected on the same day. The two become fast friends, and in light of their rejections, decide to get drunk together. As a result of their drunken stupor, the pair ends up getting married to each other! This leads to them trying to undo their drunken mess, but unexpectedly they find love in each other.

I was smitten with this drama. While I appreciated the drama reunion of Kingone Wang and Rainie, I loved the chemistry between Rainie and Joseph Chang. It was the small things that counted on making me appreciate the love blossoming between Xiao Ru and Jie Xiu. The characters deserved their second chance at love with one of the silliest but most satisfying happy endings I’ve seen. 

Pick this one up if you are in the mood for a playful rom-com with some emotional scenes in between.

Heartbeat Love (2012)

Rainie and Show Lo reconnect after their marvelous chemistry in Hi My Sweetheart for Rainie’s miniseries, Heartbeat Love. Rainie plays Xiao Yu, a traveler heading to Australia to discover Tasmania Island and experience her beautiful journey. She is matched with a roommate for this trip, who is another traveler named Li Wei Chen (Show Lo). The problem with this is that Wei Chen is a male and, because of a misunderstanding, Xiao Yu ends up believing that he’s gay, so she becomes more comfortable as his roommate. With this awkward misunderstanding between them, Wei Chen tries his best to clear it up, and along the way, these two travelers find love in each other. 

I read somewhere online that it wouldn’t be a Rainie drama without a misunderstanding and that’s evident in this drama. I think that the misunderstanding becomes the show's saving grace. Through that misunderstanding, we can see Xiao Yu and Wei Chen get to know each other, and find love as travelers who weren’t looking for it. I was interested in Xiao Yu’s backstory, and looking forward to how the story would transpire after she finds out the truth about Wei Chen.

While low-budget, I found this series to be comedic in some moments, but overall very wholesome. Pick this one up if you haven’t already!

Love at Second Sight (2014)

Rainie plays Fei Luo Luo in the opposites attract Love at Second Sight alongside her co-star Michael Zhang as Tan Li Jie. Fei Luo Luo is a wedding planner while Tan Li Jie is a break-up specialist and, given that their two worlds collide, they have a series of arguments and bickering that later turn these rivals into lovers. 

Unfortunately, I’ve only seen clips of this miniseries because I was unable to find the drama with English subtitles. If you’ve seen this series, feel free to comment on your thoughts about it below!

Rock Records in Love (2016)

Rock Records in Love is a series that encapsulates 20 mini-romance stories in each episode. Rainie plays Chen Li Xin alongside her co-star Chris Wu as Zhang Jing Ye in the first episode of the series. Chen Li Xin is a country girl who moves to the big city of Taipei and ends up meeting Zhang Jing Ye, an office worker who is unfamiliar with love. Throughout the episode, the two become close and eventually turn that friendship into love.
(Synopsis credit DramaPlot
Because of the lack of English subtitles, I wasn’t able to watch this one. I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone who has seen it though!

Q Series: Life Plan A & B (2016)

2016 spells another mini-series for Rainie as she plays Ru Wei, a working-class woman who doesn’t make much but tries to enjoy life with the love of her life: Tang You Yang (Yan Yu Lin). Ru Wei finds a lucky opportunity in a promotion with her company, but the catch is that she’d have to move long-distance away from You Yang. Ru Wei must make a huge decision on whether she’ll leave to follow her career or if she’ll sacrifice her dreams to be a strong working woman for love.

I enjoyed seeing Rainie explore another mature character role through Ru Wei. Different from Rainie’s Sunshine Angel drama, we can see the trials and tribulations that Ru Wei has to face in both her career and love. I think that Rainie and Yan You Lin do amazing by showing their chemistry alongside each other. I’m always able to feel Rainie’s emotions whenever I see her on the screen, and this drama was no different. 

This drama was interesting in the way that it showed us two different stories or paths at once and it kept me guessing until the very end which path Ru Wei would choose. I was able to learn from this drama that healthy relationships involve sacrifices and that if love is meant to be, then it’ll be. Life Plan A and B strips the layers of the more dramatic roles that Rainie has played over the years and allow us to focus on the raw, real, and emotional journey of accomplishing your dreams and finding love.

This unique drama will strike you right in the feeling, but it’s well worth the emotional experience!

The Ex-Man (2018)

Rainie’s latest drama to date, The Ex-Man, tells the story of Li Qin Ai (Rainie), a magazine photographer who is happy in her career and love life with her boyfriend Zhou Li Yang (Johnny Lu) until her first love, Dai An (Blue Lan), reappears. To her confusion, Dai An reappears as the 18-year-old version of himself that Qin Ai grew up with and she’s the only one that can see him. Qin Ai must deal with this new disruption of her life and figure out the strange situation she’s found herself in. 

This drama started with a very interesting premise, but the story got lost along the way. Without giving too much away, The Ex-Man is very angsty and the plot will lead you to believe the story is one thing when it’s truly another. 

If you do pick this drama up, go in blind and expect the unexpected!

My Intuition (2005)
Meeting Love (2006)
Angel Wings (2013)

Alongside her exceptional skill for acting, Rainie continues to captivate others with her alluring talent for singing. Within the same year that her Taiwanese hit drama Devil Beside You aired, she released her first studio album "My Intuition", which became one of her top-selling albums of the year. With this incredible feat underneath her belt, Rainie won numerous awards, which have ranged from Best Female Artist to Most Popular Female Artist. In addition to this, she has been featured on several original drama soundtracks for many of her dramas, such as Devil Beside You, Miss No Good, Hi My Sweetheart, and Why Why Love.

Like the reigning superstar that she is, many of her other albums have seen award-winning success, such as her second album Meeting Love, and her sixth album Angel Wings.

credit: Wikipedia

credit: Instagram

Since her last drama in 2018, Rainie has focused on her blossoming music career and her love life with her long-time boyfriend, Li Rong Hao. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Rainie has been keeping herself busy with her newfound marriage to Li, and releasing her enchanting Like a Star album in 2020.

Missing Rainie in acting? Fear not! Rainie’s latest acting project is the horror film Kidnapped Soul, which aired in 2021. Also, she's been featured on a variety of television shows, with Campus Go being the most recent.

You can also find Rainie on her Instagram posting candid pictures and videos of her life, fitness, music, and photoshoots!

Need more nostalgia for Rainie to fill your evening? Check out the song “Like a Star” from Rainie’s latest album to see renditions of Rainie’s history in and outside of dramaland.

Thanks for reading! ❤️

Thank you to the editors who edited our article! The images are linked to their sources; otherwise, they are taken from the MDL drama page. Feature image source: Baidu. Visual design & preliminary editing: Cho Na.
Edited by: Tine (1st editor)

meteor garden devil beside you rainie yang why why love miss no good hi my sweetheart together sunshine angel drunken to love you heartbeat love love at second sight the ex-man life plan a&b rock records in love