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Lu Chen

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ACCORDING TO CHAMPIONSHIP figure skater Lu Chen, being comfortable in the spotlight takes practice—of both your triple lutzes and your crowd-pleasing smile. “Chinese beauty isn’t sexy, like in America,” says the lithe 19-year-old. “Chinese people like small mouths. My grandma said to keep my mouth small by speaking small words.” In her case, small words come with big talent. It matters not that Lulu, as she’s known to legions of adoring fans, lost her world crown in March to 15-year-old American Michelle Kwan. “She’s always serene and in control. She floats over the ice,” says her idol, Peggy Fleming. “She’s effortless and haunting. She literally takes your breath away.” Adds skating pal Brian Boitano: “She has long, shapely legs, and she doesn’t look like a little girl. She’s got the whole package.” Part of it comes from her father, a former hockey player on China’s national team, and part from her Ping-Pong player mother. Lulu, who was raised in China’s Jilin Province, now nourishes her looks with plenty of Christian Dior lotions and creams. She earned the nickname I-Love-Sunchips after pilfering Boitano’s bag of the crunchy snacks, but mostly the 5’4″, 110-lb. skater sticks to her rigid training diet. “Don’t eat too much oil or fat,” she advises, “or else you’ll get pimples.” Even in that unlikely event, Lulu would still have a refuge. “Whenever I’m on the ice,” she says, “I always think I’m beautiful.”