Have you ever seen an ad for a business school or a Zumba class and thought “Wait, that guy looks a lot like Simu Liu? Well, your eyes are not deceiving you. It’s definitely the MCU newcomer. Turns out Liu might be the world’s most successful stock model. The actor has tweeted over the years about how, at the beginning of his career while strapped for cash, he decided to give stock modeling a try. But with Shang-Chi in theaters now, many Marvel fans are just now uncovering the photoshoot from years ago.
According to Insider, you can find the stock pictures on Getty if you search terms like “cheerful East Asian coworker,” “East Asian,” “business person,” and “coworker.” And though Liu is smiling brightly in many of the photos it begs the question: is anyone ever that happy at work? Liu wondered the same thing on Twitter, before linking out to one of his stock pictures that he’d posted on Instagram. (He’s since deleted the Instagram post but the tweet is still up.)
Many of the viral stock images are from a photoshoot he did in 2014. And, according to Liu’s tweet from 2017, when one of those stock photos ended up in a QuickBooks Accountant book, he relished in the irony since he used to be an accountant. He’s also posed for fitness stock photos (sadly he’s not shirtless in them, but that’s what Kim’s Convenience is for). In 2018, he posed in front of an ad at the gym and tweeted, “To those of you wondering; yes that’s me in many @GoodLifeFitness locations across Canada. I was doing Zumba in a stock photo shoot in which I was paid $120. It was 2014, I needed it. No I have no idea why it’s still up. Yes, I thoroughly enjoy Zumba.”
Last year, Liu jokingly asked people to please stop buying the pictures, but now with the stock images going viral, we foresee many people trying to get their hands on the Marvel star’s 2014 pictures to promote their business—or to make memes (the latter seems like a far more ethical route). Liu seems to be embracing that the pics are going viral, tweeting a stock image of himself pointing at a computer screen and laughing, captioned, “Me laughing at the people who thought we’d flop.” He is presumably referring to Shang-Chi’s box office success.