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Michelle Yeoh          

Malaysian Actress Best Known for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Memoirs of a Geisha" & "Tomorrow Never Dies"

Michelle was born to a lawyer's family in Ipoh, Malaysia at August 6, 1962. Her ethnic Chinese parents bestowed on her the Chinese name of Yeoh Choo Kheng. Growing up in the tropical tin-mining town, young Michelle spent countless weekends swimming and diving with her friends at the Ipoh Swimming Club, which was located right next door to her parents' house. Michelle was a tomboy and loved many sports. As a teenager, she represented Malaysia at national level for swimming, diving, and squash. She was the Perak state representative for squash and once the Malaysian Junior Squash Champion.

Michelle was also very into playing piano and loved Chinese painting. However her real passion was in dance, particularly - but not exclusively - ballet. Her mother recalls that Michelle started to dance before she could even walk. Michelle then started her ballet training when she was at the age of four years.

Young Michelle was sent to a Convent school in Malaysia where she received her early education in English. At the age of 15, her parents accompanied her to England and enrolled her at a boarding school there. Later Michelle entered the London Royal Academy of Dance, majoring in Ballet.

Michelle's dream of being a prima ballerina was abruptly cut short by a spinal injury which she suffered during a ballet practicing session at her college years. The doctor she consulted announced that a rotated disk in her spine would not be able to stand the daily intensive ballet workout.

Michelle consequently had to switch her focus away from dance to choreography and other arts. Sadly, Michelle never did get a chance to perform ballet professionally on stage. Instead, she set her sights on running her own school to teach ballet.

In 1982, Michelle received a B.A. degree in Creative Arts with a minor in Drama. After receiving her B.A. degree, she continued her graduate study in England.

When Michelle returned to Malaysia for summer vacation in 1983, she did not have any advance knowledge that her mother had entered her for the national beauty contest (by way of submitting photos of her for the perusal of the competition judges). By the time she got home, she already had made it past the qualifying rounds. To please her mother, the then still self-confessed tomboy went ahead with the rest of the competition. She was subsequently crowned Miss Malaysia at the age of 21.

The following year, Michelle did not return to England to continue her advanced studies. Instead, she served her one-year term as Miss Malaysia (a post which she has likened to being a goodwill ambassador for her country). Somewhere along the line, she also earned the Miss Moomba title that same year in Australia.

Towards the end of her term as Miss Malaysia, she got introduced to a Hong Kong businessman named Dickson Poon who was looking for someone to do a commercial with the action star Jackie Chan for the brand of watches one of his companies sold . Michelle was invited to Hong Kong and did the commercial. She also appeared in another one with Chow Yun-Fat (who years later, was to co-star with her in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). After doing those commercials, Michelle was offered a film contract by Dickson Poon in his newly founded film production company, D&B Films.

News


Michelle Yeoh and Panda Cubs Help Promote Global Goals
Award-winning movie star Michelle Yeoh and two baby pandas have kicked off the Pandas for the Global Goals campaign, which urges the public to get involved in the fun of naming the cubs, as well as in the serious work of realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted last year by the United Nations Member States...
Michelle Yeoh on ‘Crouching Tiger 2,’ Girl Power, and Anti-China Trump
The star of Netflix’s ‘Couching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny,’ out Feb. 26, opens up about the high-flying sequel, Chinese censorship, and American politics. Sixteen years after introducing Western audiences to the wire-flying martial arts operatics of Chinese wuxia, Malaysian-born superstar Michelle Yeoh is the sole warrior making her way back to the screen for more Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Michelle Yeoh and Will Yun Lee Join Final Season of 'Strike Back ...
Martial arts superstar Michelle Yeoh and Will Yun Lee will give a significant Asian angle to the fourth season of Cinemax series “Strike Back.”

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