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On August 11, 1985, Tong was born in Kunming, Yunnan.
In 1996, she attended the Chinese Song and Dance Art School in Beijing. She returned to Kunming in the following year, when she was accepted to Kunming Art School. She spent a year studying Hulusi, which is a free reed wind instrument from China and the Shan State. She entered the Central Academy of Drama in 2002, majoring in acting.
In 2002, Tong made her television debut in Tracks In The Snowy Forest, playing a health worker in the Northeast Democratic United Army named Bai Ru.
In 2006, Tong amassed a member of television credits namely My Sun, Walking Duster, and Life of Dragon and Tiger. She had a minor role as Pan Ying in The Young Warriors, a historical television series.
In 2008, she co-starred with Lin Shen in the romantic comedy film Afraid to Say Love You, which is her film debut. In the following year, Tong appeared in the film Nine Dragon Jade, in which she played You Erjie.
Her 2010 work includes Simple Dish, Lei Feng, Military Honour, Wind Up the First Pass and Qiao Longbiao. That same year, she starred with Xu Shaoyang in the thriller horror film Snapper.
In 2013, Tong played the female lead role in a business-themed romantic drama film Day of Redemption.
In 2015, she played the love interest of Li Chen's character in the television series Boys to Men.
In 2016, three television work she headlined, Stepmother Xu Duoduo, My Spicy Girlfriend and Customize Happiness premiered.
In 2018, Tong starred as a key supporting role in the historical drama Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace, alongside Wallace Huo and Zhou Xun. She gained popularity for her portrayal of the role as Gao Xiyue. The same year, she starred in the period drama Like a Flowing River. Her performance garnered her the Best Supporting Actress at the Magnolia Awards.
In 2019, Tong was cast in the female-centric modern drama Nothing But Thirty.
On October 1, 2019, Tong Yao and Wang Ran (王冉), seventeen years her senior, married in an ancient castle in Italy. Wang Ran graduated from Harvard University and is the CEO of CEC Capital.
In 2020, Tong began filming the spy drama The Rebel.
Currently, Tong Yao is 35 years, 10 months and 7 days old. Tong Yao will celebrate 36th birthday on a Wednesday 11th of August 2021.
Find out about Tong Yao birthday activities in timeline view here.