Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 02: (Exclusive Coverage) Michelle Yeoh arrives at The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/MG22/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue )

From beauty queen to silver screen queen and action queen, Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh has raised the bar on Asian female empowerment


Pushing 60, the immensely talented Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh continues to see her star shine bright in the cutthroat entertainment industry, and in Hollywood, no less–proving that age is no barrier to career longevity and continued success. She shows no signs of slowing down, having appeared in three movies/series this year alone and slated to appear in a half-dozen films on both the big and small screens in 2022, among them the highly anticipated sequel to Avatar, the highest-grossing film in history.

Having taken an interest in dance from an early age, she took up ballet at the tender age of four and progressed to studying it at the UK’s Royal Academy of Dance. Unfortunately, a spinal injury prevented her from becoming a professional ballet dancer, but fate would write this as being ballet’s loss and acting’s gain. In 1983, at the age of 20, the Ipoh-born lass won the Miss Malaysia beauty pageant. She went on to win another two beauty pageants in Australia the same year and was approached to do a TV commercial with Asia’s biggest superstar at the time, Jackie Chan. From there on, her acting career took off.

She first appeared in a string of Hong Kong action and martial arts films, performing most, if not all of her own stunts and fight scenes. Her ballet background perfectly complemented her physicality; combined with her acting skills and strong work ethic, she became a bona fide female action star soon enough. Landing the lead female role and totally killing it in the 1997 James Bond flick Tomorrow Never Dies propelled her to international recognition and superstardom. Over the last two decades, she has cultivated an impressive filmography with notable hits such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Crazy Rich Asians on the big screen, and with Star Trek: Discovery on the small screen.

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Did you know?

She speaks little Mandarin, so had to learn her Mandarin lines for the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon phonetically.  

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