Known first as a folk singer and later as China's first lady, Peng Liyuan has always been a mainland media darling.
Widely viewed as China's most high-profile political spouse since Jiang Qing, the late wife of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, the 52-year-old is seen playing a crucial role in the Asian economic giant's public diplomacy.
According to research by Renmin University of China, Peng's "elegant manners" and participation in various charitable events could enhance China's soft power and temper fears stemming from its economic ascent.
"China has conveyed kindness and goodwill to the world through the first lady's public diplomacy when the country has been challenged amid a rapid economic development," said the report. Peng has "enchanted local and foreign media" with her personal appearance, charitable acts and musical performances, it added.
Married to Chinese president Xi Jinping in 1987, Peng ranked 57th in Forbes's list of the world's most powerful women last year.