Zhang Ziyi is a name that many in the West may not be familiar with at first glance, but when you list some of the movies this stunning Chinese actress has been in, recognition becomes immediate. Beautiful and talented, she is a woman well worth admiration… and there can be no doubt that the word “hot” not only fits her, but actually falls short of just how sexy and attractive she truly is.
Most Americans first became aware of her through her role as Jen in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” the headstrong young girl who is the central figure in the film. While this movie does mark one of the many high points in her career, it isn’t where her story begins or ends.
Zhang Ziyi was born in 1979 in Beijing, China, where she lived with her family and attended school. Her life as an artist and performer started at the age of 11 when she joined the Beijing Dance Academy, but really began to develop at 15 when she enrolled in the Central Academy of Drama, the premiere acting school of China. At 19 she worked on her first film, Zhang Yimou’s “The Road Home” and she has since been in constant demand, working almost constantly.
Her next big film was “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, and with the resulting international acclaim that movie received, her fame soared. It was here that many in the West became aware of her (including myself), and she became an overnight sensation as a result, not just as an Asian actress but as an international sex symbol. She has since starred in many successful films including “Rush Hour 2” (with Jackie Chan, her first American produced movie), “Hero” (internationally acclaimed, directed again by Zhang Yimou), “House of Flying Daggers” (which won her a nomination for Best Actress from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts), “2046” (for which she won the Best Actress awards for both the Hong Kong Film Academy and Hong Kong Film Critics), and “Memoirs of a Geisha” (receiving award nominations from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA).
Besides being a leading actress, Zhang Ziyi has also worked as a model and spokeswoman for Maybelline and Garnier, her beautiful face gracing many magazines and television spots for these companies.
Zhang Ziyi has been routinely named to numerous “Most Beautiful Women in the World” and “Most Influential Stars” lists over the last decade, including People Magazine, Time Magazine, Stuff, FHM, Teen People, and Entertainment Weekly… and she is the Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics.