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Miss Malaysia, Billions and Kung Fu: The Crazy Lives of Best Actress Oscar Favorite Michelle Yeoh


Nominated for the 2023 Oscars for her role in Everything Everywhere all at once, the 60-year-old actress seems to share with her character the ability to live several lives. Portrait.

Shortlisted for the Oscar for best actress, designated by


magazine as "icon of the year", scheduled to star in the next


Michelle Yeoh is making a resounding comeback.

At 60, the Malaysian actress and producer seen in

Tomorrow Never Dies

(1997) as James Bond Girl, or even in

Memoirs of a Geisha

(2005), is reinventing herself once again.

Sporty and miss

Born in 1962 in Malaysia, Michelle Yeoh was sent from her childhood, by her lawyer father, to a boarding school where she received an English education and sustained sports.

In addition to classical dancing, she is a champion squash, swimmer and scuba diver.

At 15, she dreamed of being a ballerina and joined the Royal Ballet School in London.

But while she is preparing for her diploma and returning for the holidays to her parents, her mother registers her, behind her back, for the Miss Malaysia contest.

In the

Graham Norton Show

, on February 3, 2023, she says that she agreed to enter the contest to "shut her up".

Ironically, she wins the title.

billionaire wife

One thing led to another, Miss Malaysia's coronation caught the eye of Hong Kong department store owner and billionaire Dickson Poon.

In 1984, he suggested that he make his debut in an advertisement for Guy Laroche watches, alongside the martial arts star, Jackie Chan.

The one who will soon be designated as the female equivalent of the latter is so successful in the exercise that Poon makes her sign a contract with his production company, D&B films.

Michelle Yeoh's career is launched.

She began under the name of Michelle Khan, considered more "bankable", in a series of action films, and distinguished herself by her mastery of martial arts: a discipline discovered on the set for which she fell in love.

A champion of kung-fu, tai-chi and taekwondo, aided by her dance training, she stood out for her dexterity and her ability to perform her own stunts.

In 1987, at age 28, she married Dickson Poon.

And decides to withdraw from the trays.

The actress explains in March 2022, in the magazine


, that she dreamed at the time of starting a family and did not imagine reconciling that with her career, not being “multitasking”.

But she discovers that she cannot have children, which will lead among other things to the separation of the couple.

Michelle Yeoh and Dickson Poon at their wedding, at the Hilton Hotel, in 1988. Olivier Tsang

Highest paid actress in Asian cinema

As of the separation with Dickson Poon, Michelle Yeoh resumes her activities and her name.

The director Stanley Tong, whom she had met at the beginning of her career when he was a stuntman, offered her to shoot in one of her first films,

Police Story 3

(1992), with Jackie Chan: a success, which rise to international stardom.

Status which is confirmed five years later with her debut in Hollywood, as a James Bond Girl in

Tomorrow Never Dies

, with Pierce Brosnan.

While she became one of the most famous actresses in the field of martial arts films, turning alongside the biggest stars of the genre (Jackie Chan, Jet Li), she appeared, twirling on walls and wielding the sword like no other, in

Tiger and Dragon

in 2000. Ang Lee's film, which won four Oscars and two Golden Globes, became a classic and made her the highest paid actress in Asian cinema.

Discovering genres


Tiger and Dragon

, the actress learned Mandarin: intensely devoted to her films, she constantly explores new possibilities.

And soon produced her first film, in which she also acted.

The Talisman

receives a half-hearted critical reception.

Michelle Yeoh then turns to more dramatic roles, as in

Memoirs of a Geisha

(2005), by Rob Marshall, or

The Lady

(2011) by Luc Besson: a biopic of the Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi, where she unsuspected shades of sensitivity.

Read alsoBrendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Coolidge… the resounding comebacks of Hollywood's forgotten

At full speed with Jean Todt

During this time, she spins the perfect love.

In 2004, Michelle Yeoh indeed met the Frenchman Jean Todt, freshly appointed director of the Ferrari teams.

He says, in an interview for


in November 2022, that he fell in love immediately, even asking his friend Michael Schumacher for help to write an SMS to the actress, as he did not know How to do it.

A correspondence which seems to have seduced the actress, since the couple has since appeared in many social events, together and happy.

And when Town & Country


asked Michelle Yeoh where she lived last August, she answered “Where is Jean!”.

Michelle Yeoh and Jean Todt leaving a restaurant in Paris, January 24, 2023. Abaca

The Everything Everywhere all at once


The second millennium offers him, alas, only few notable roles, between obscure action films and cartoon dubbing (

Kung Fu Panda 2


But as she finishes filming

Crazy Rich Asians

, a romantic comedy released in 2018, comes the script for

Everything Everywhere all at once

, by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

The actress, a little forgotten, obtains for the first time, in forty years of career, a first role: that of a woman on the verge of implosion, overwhelmed by her family problems and her professional obligations, who discovers a passage leading to all the lives she could have lived.

She demonstrates the extent of her talents, in her mastery of martial arts but also her dramatic register.

The weight of stereotypes

Her performance is such that at the SAG Awards ceremony on February 27, Michelle Yeoh won the award for best actress in a leading role.

She is the first Asian woman to win this prize: a symbolic moment, which she then dedicates to "every girl who [him] looks like".

Her speech directly echoes the struggles by the actress during her career.

She said, in the columns of


magazine , a week ago, that she had stopped working for 2 years after

Tomorrow never dies

, tired of refusing stereotypical roles and suffering Hollywood racism.

“People in the industry couldn't tell if I was Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, or even if I could speak English.

They spoke to me very slowly and very loudly,” she explained.

His role in

Everything Everywhere all at once

then comes as a way to finally break these stereotypes.

During her speech at the Golden Globes, where she was once again awarded the prize for best actress, the actress referred to this opportunity as a “gift”.

Then, seizes this victory, this time, as an opportunity to address the problem of age and sexism in Hollywood: “All the women here understand it: as the days, the months and the years increase, opportunities tend to diminish”.

At 60, Michelle Yeoh shows that you can still play a superheroine.

It remains to be seen whether the evening of March 12, at the Oscars, will be the one where she will win the most prized statuette, giving her all the superpowers.

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2023-03-10

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