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Everything you need to know about Michelle Yeoh… yo

Michelle Yeoh is a legend. That is indisputable. But despite being such an icon, there might be a few things you still don’t know about her.

Hong Kong-Malaysian actress and all-around badass Michelle Yeoh has a stellar career that spans borders and many years. She’s starred in countless Hong Kong action films like Police Story 3: Supercop and also in Western movies like Tomorrow Never Dies. However, the role that solidified her status as an icon would arguably be in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Yeoh continues to tackle an array of projects whether it’s another action-filled romp like Everything, Everywhere, All at Once or as a classic judgmental Asian mom in Crazy Rich Asians. Despite being so well-known, there might be a few surprising things you don’t know about the actress.

Michelle Yeoh: 10 facts about the legendary Asian star

1. Ballet is Michelle Yeoh’s first love

While Michelle Yeoh was an all-rounder in school and excelled in swimming and rugby, she wanted to become a ballet dancer. She began her ballet lessons when she was four and continued pursuing her dream after moving to London. She eventually enrolled herself in the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance.

2. Michelle won several beauty pageants

Did you know Michelle was crowned Miss Malaysia in 1983? But that was not the only title she bagged. She also travelled to Australia in 1983 and won several pageants, including Miss Moomba and Queen of the Pacific. 

3. Her film career started by chance

Businessman Dickson Poon, the co-founder of D&B Films, was looking for an actress to appear with Jackie Chan in a commercial. When Poon happened to dine with a friend, he suggested Yeoh, who had won the Miss Malaysia beauty contest. She flew down to Hong Kong, cracked the job bagged a contract with D&B Films. The rest is history.

4. Michelle Yeoh had no formal martial arts training

Michelle Yeoh has no formal training in martial arts. And it is fair to question how someone can be so amazing at kung fu without proper training. But the dancer’s flexibility allowed her to play martial arts roles. She learned the moves in the set and trained herself in a gym alongside veteran action stars like Dick Wei. 

5. Yeoh starred in a Marvel movie

While there is no debating that Yeoh has given some of her most impressive performances in the local 1980 movies, her roles in Hollywood gave her much-deserved fame. She made headlines with her role in the Marvel superhero blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The movie introduces the first Asian hero to the MCU’s roster.

6. Michelle Yeoh is trilingual

Michelle Yeoh speaks English, Malay, and Cantonese. She learned English and Malay before learning Cantonese. Now a Hollywood star, and a very respected one, it is easy to forget that English is not her mother tongue.

7. The actress practices Buddhism

It’s important to centre yourself for martial art roles, any actor whose sport requires patience and aim can benefit from meditation and discipline. Born into a Buddhist family, Michelle practices Buddhism to this day. Spirituality and faith are at the centre point of her life.

8. She is an adventure enthusiast

The legendary Michelle Yeoh tries to fit in as much travel as she can while he works. So, as you can imagine, she’s a traveller who seeks the adventure of being on the road and the genuine connections she makes.

9. Michelle won a Lifetime Achievement Award

Yeoh rose to prominence in Hong Kong before her arrival in Hollywood with Tomorrow Never Dies. Widely considered a masterpiece, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon remains Yeoh’s highest-rated film. In addition, she is the proud achiever of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASEAN International Film Festival in 2013.

10. Michelle was ranked the greatest heroine of all time

In 2008, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes ranked Michelle Yeoh as the best action heroine. Michelle’s career is full of blockbusters, and her iconic resume is proof enough. From critically acclaimed classics like Memories of a Geisha and Crazy Rich Asians to roles with Jet Li and Jackie Chan, Yeoh is a star in every sense of the word.

Did you know Michelle has joined the cast of the Avatar sequels? We can’t wait to watch the star in Avatar: The Way of Water.

All image credits: michelleyeoh_official/Instagram

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Does Michelle Yeoh know martial arts?

Answer: Michelle Yeoh has no formal training in martial arts. And it is fair to question how someone can be so amazing at kung fu without proper training. But the dancer's flexibility allowed her to play martial arts roles. She learned the moves in the set and trained herself in a gym alongside veteran action stars like Dick Wei. 

Everything you need to know about Michelle Yeoh… yo

Tania Tarafdar

Tania and yoga are in an eternal relationship. You can see her breaking into yoga asanas in the snow-capped Alps and the Mediterranean Sea coastline. Her friends swear by her food and travel recommendations.


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