Best known in the West for her role as Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) before her international breakout role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Michelle Yeoh is not your ordinary Bond girl. Her elegant good looks coupled with a killer high kick have made Yeoh one of the most popular martial arts stars in Asia and one of Hong Kong's most famous icons abroad.
Born on August 6, 1962, in the mining town of Ipoh, in Western Malaysia, Yeoh's ethnically Chinese parents taught her Malay and English well before she learned Cantonese. She began ballet dancing at the age of four, and, inspired by Fame (1980), she enrolled in England's Royal Academy of Dance, where she eventually earned a B.A. Though a back injury ended her career as a ballerina, she returned to her home country to be crowned Miss Malaysia of 1983. From there, she appeared in a television commercial with Jackie Chan which caught the attention of a fledgling film production company called D&B Films.