‘Shang-Chi’ star Simu Liu’s stock photos go viral, star says he earned $100

Simu Liu

Simu Liu may have found instant Hollywood stardom after starring as Marvel’s first Asian superhero in Shang-Chi, but he once posed for stock photos!

After earning rave reviews for his performance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a sleeper hit for Marvel, Simu Liu found himself in the headlines for something other than his big hit – his stock photos from back in the days!

He even joined in on the viral trend after his film opened to a record-breaking $94 million four-day Labor Day weekend, with a stock photo of himself pointing at the screen and “laughing at the people who thought we’d flop.”

Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Friday, Sept. 11, Simu Liu opened up about the photos, saying, “If you’re a nice model, you get paid thousands of dollars, you walk the runway… if you’re a stock model, you get paid typically a base rate of a one-day shoot of $100.”

He also explained that the company owns the rights to the photos they take “in perpetuity” which essentially means that the rights never run out and they can use them whenever – even if the person becomes a big Hollywood star!

“They could sell these photos and make millions and millions of dollars off of them, and the talent will not make a single penny. That’s what happened to me,” Liu shared.

Lui’s Sept. 7 tweet has since gone viral on the microblogging app, with more than 300k likes, including a reply from the stock photo company he posed for! iStock replied to the picture saying, “We always believed in you, @simuliu. And if being a superhero doesn’t work out, our door is always open.” 

In a cheeky yet befitting reply, Liu called them out saying that he never made money on the photos. “Is the door open to share in the hundreds of thousands of $$ you made off those photos cause I was paid a hundred bucks,” he said.



Shang-Chi stars Simu Liu as Marvel’s newest superhero, a former assassin in the shadow of an evil father. It also features Awkwafina, Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh.