Because as beautiful as Penelope Cruz is, it's also super random.
Shami Sivasubramanian

1 Feb 2016 - 3:46 PM  UPDATED 1 Feb 2016 - 4:06 PM

Spanish actress Penelope Cruz currently features in Lancome's latest billboard campaign, wishing you a "Happy Chinese New Year".  The fact the European beauty brand chose to go with a non-Asian ambassador has sparked controversy amongst consumers, some calling the choice "culturally-inappropriate".  So we've offered nine alternatives to Penelope Cruz who could have featured in this Lancome ad. 

1. Zhang Ziyi

(Sony Pictures)

The star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha, this Chinese actress has been the face of several brands back home and abroad. Perhaps she was a better known face in Hollywood, say ten years ago, but Ziyi still would have made a better brand ambassador than Cruz in this particular campaign.


2. Lucy Liu

(Columbia Pictures)

Chinese-American actress, Lucy Liu, is one of the most high profile Asian actresses in Hollywood. The former Charlie's Angels star and now on hit drama Elementary would have been another excellent choice for the Lunar New Year campaign. 


3. Michelle Yeoh

(United Artists)

This Chinese-Malaysian beauty is best known for playing a Bond girl in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies.  The actress was also ranked amongst People's '50 Most Beautiful People in the World' list that year. She's also a patron of the Save China's Tigers project.


4. Brenda Song


This American actress got her start on Disney Channel as London Tipton, a hotel heiress on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.  Since then she and her fan base have grown up to an age where they'd actually be interested in Lancome product. Most notably, Song had a supporting role in The Social Network


5. Jamie Chung

(ABC Family)

Chung is a second-generation Korean-American. While Korea celebrates Lunar New Year's on the same date as China, their customs differ slightly. Chung got her break in entertainment by starring in MTV's The Real World: San Diego before getting into scripted roles. A double threat, she got her B.A in Economics in 2005, while pursuing her acting career. Now isn't that someone you'd want to represent your beauty brand?


6. Olivia Munn


Munn started out as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Now she's best known for her role as Sloan Sabbith in now cancelled TV drama, The Newsroom. Munn, who is of half-Chinese descent, was raised by the Chinese mother and considers herself Asian.


7. Maggie Q


Q is known for her role in CW's Nikita, in which she played the title character.  Her mother is Vietnamese while her father is of Irish and Polish descent. An action heroine and model as well, she would have been a natural in front of that camera, if only Lancome had asked for her.


8. Kristen Kreuk


Half-Chinese and half-Dutch, Kreuk is best known for playing Lana Lang in CW's Smallville and for starring in Beauty and the Beast, also on CW.  Raised in Canada, she had planned to study forensics at university when she was scouted for a Canadian television show.


9. Liu Wen


This Chinese fashion model was the first Asian model to walk for the Victoria's Secret runway show.  She's also gone on to represent brands like Estee Lauder and be ranked on Forbes annual highest paid models list. As one of China's pioneering international supermodels, she'd be a perfect fit for Lancome, especially for this Lunar New Year's campaign.