Born in Ipoh, Malaysia, the now 47 year-old took her first step towards stardom when she represented Malaysia in the 1983 Miss World Pageant - the same year that Maggie Cheung represented Hong Kong. Maggie Cheung reached the semi-finals but Michelle Yeoh didn't get past the first round; nevertheless her appearance led to job offers in ads and then some acting gigs.
Her acting career came to a sudden halt when she married entertainment tycoon Dickson Poon, and she might easily have disappeared from public view forever. However when her marriage ended in 1991 after just three and a half years, she returned to acting, reinventing herself as a Hong Kong action heroine.
In 1997 she became known to the wider world with a lead role alongside Pierce Brosnan in the James Bond flick Tomorrow Never Dies. Her international fame was cemented with the worldwide hit Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Since then she has appeared predominantly in Western films, but her next movie release will be the big-name martial arts film True Legend. Also starring Vincent Chau, Zhou Xun and Jay Chou, True Legend is set to hit cinemas at the beginning of 2010 and will reprise Yeoh's famous role of Sister Yu from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.