Michelle Yeoh is one of the greats. She’s been breaking down barriers and paving her own way in the industry for nearly four decades.
The 60-year-old gained fame in the ’80s and ’90s by doing her own stunts in Hong Kong action films — despite all the men who thought she wasn’t up to the task. Then she became an international star with the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies and the martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
She absolutely killed it as Eleanor in Crazy Rich Asians. I can’t imagine anyone else playing Nick’s cool and calculated mom.
And who could forget her role as Ying Nan in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings?
But she really outdid herself this year with Everything Everywhere All at Once. I was stoked to see Michelle in the leading role, and boy, did she deliver! If this woman doesn’t win an Oscar, I will RIOT.
Well, it seems Michelle is finally getting the recognition she deserves because Time just named her Icon of the Year!
“You can see there were less roles for when you start aging,” she told Time. “Then you get relegated to very familiar, kind of ‘older woman’ roles. But what has happened very dramatically is the women have taken control of their own destiny as well.”
She continued, “We’re not going to sit around and wait for someone to create those roles that we crave. So many of us go out there and say, ‘Guess what? We’re gonna make it happen because why do I have to wait for you?'”
It’s also been difficult for Michelle to reach this point in her career, since Asian actors are often sidelined with minor roles or forced to play stereotypical characters. “It shouldn’t be about my race, but it has been a battle,” she said before an LA screening of Everything Everywhere All at Once. “At least let me try.”
After the wild success of her latest film, she told Time that her “biggest joy” is reaching a younger audience. “Now I have youngsters who come up on the street to me and say, ‘You’re cool. Can I take a selfie with you?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah!'” she said.
“I’ve worked in this industry for almost 40 years, and to finally be recognized for the work that you do…I’ve been everywhere, and I’ve done everything, and now I get it all at once,” she joked. “So it’s worth the wait.”