If given the opportunity, I just go kick ass.
August 18, 2018 11:51 AM   Subscribe

There’s something fascinating about an actress who has made her name not through sex appeal, but the way she moves, punches, and scorpion kicks. Hollywood rarely allows women to be powerful like this. To be taken seriously, they must be EMOTIONAL and FRAGILE. Instead, Michelle Yeoh is STRONG and PLACID and GOOD AT BEATING PEOPLE UP. Michelle Lhooq interviewed Michelle Yeoh for GQ.
posted by ChuraChura (16 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Best space person.
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

As an aside if ”Lhooq” is a pen name it’s an extremely good one.
posted by silby at 12:34 PM on August 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

"To be taken seriously, they must be EMOTIONAL and FRAGILE."

I honestly don't know how many female characters in the top films of the last ten years that would even describe. It seems to me that to be taken seriously, they now mostly have to act like MMA fighters but still look like models.
posted by seraphine at 12:37 PM on August 18, 2018 [12 favorites]

Kicking people in the head is a terrible thing to do
posted by thelonius at 1:15 PM on August 18, 2018

She was also one HELL of an amazing Starfleet Captain. I will fight anyone who thinks different.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 1:22 PM on August 18, 2018 [11 favorites]

She's also a United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador. Here's “Made in Forests”, a short video which was released last month in which she discusses sustainable fashion.
posted by XMLicious at 1:51 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

It seems to me that to be taken seriously, they now mostly have to act like MMA fighters but still look like models.

I guess the difference is that Michelle Yeoh wasn't exactly acting like an MMA fighter - she actually was a legit fighter. She did her own stunts, which was pretty groundbreaking for a female in her industry at that time. After she set the precedent for females doing their own fighting stunts in the Hong Kong film industry, she went on to Hollywood - and was known as the first Bond girl who actually fought, for real, alongside Bond. And I like how in that Bond photo in the article - they're both holding onto the handlebars of the bike (he's holding one end and she's holding the other), both steering the bike. In the film, she was meant to be portrayed as Bond's equal, not an objectified reward for Bond. She was a breath of fresh air that was intended to break the tradition of Bond girls being not much more than eye-candy in previous Bond films.

Put it this way - if you say that the trend for many female characters in top films of the last ten years is to act in "tough but beautiful" roles where they "fight", Michelle Yeoh was pretty instrumental in paving the way and setting this trend decades ago. Except she was the real deal - she actually did fight.
posted by aielen at 2:01 PM on August 18, 2018 [16 favorites]

OMG, Michelle Yeoh! When I studied martial arts my martial arts club LOVED to watch old-school martial arts movies, and that was when I was first exposed to her. She was billed at Michelle Khan in those movies, and was SO INCREDIBLE. She was a real inspiration to myself and the other young women in the club. Not only was she stunningly gorgeous and a great actress, she could FIGHT - and, for every time she was rescued, she rescued the main male character right back.

I literally squeed when she turned up in Tomorrow Never Dies, and have eagerly followed her work ever since.
posted by dancing_angel at 2:02 PM on August 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

Michelle Yeoh's performance is what made Crouching Tiger a standout for me years ago. On a recent rewatch, I felt exactly the same way.

That final shot of her as Yu Shu Lien, giving Xiyi Zhang's character a hint of what would befall her if Lien weren't so disciplined. She's completely credible as an ultra-trained athlete and warrior, making her tragedy that much more resonant.

For years I wondered why the hell she wasn't on every screen imaginable. It's so rewarding to see her career pick up steam as she ages (a rarity for screen actresses).
posted by Sheydem-tants at 2:16 PM on August 18, 2018 [18 favorites]

My favorite Bond girl
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:07 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

My first time knowing her was when I was a kid watching Police Story 3, and I remember feeling so surprised that the actress spoke Malay really well, and finding out that oh, she's Malaysian!
posted by cendawanita at 8:31 PM on August 18, 2018

Post-Crouching Tiger, I could never figure out why we didn't get a whole set of Michelle Yeoh/Yun-Fat Chow movies like Bogart and Bacall or Hepburn and Tracy. I still hope we do.
posted by scrump at 5:04 AM on August 19, 2018 [12 favorites]

She is legend. For my money, though, there is still nothing that she's done since that has surpassed Wing Chun.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:36 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeoh flexes all her talents in Crazy Rich Asians, where the fighting takes place in the form of mental jiu jitsu hashed out over dagger-eyed death stares in lavish dinner parties. Says Henry Golding: “If looks could kill, holy crap, Michelle is slaughtering.”

She's fantastic in the movie, but "all her talents"? Not unless I somehow missed a fistfight at the garden party.
posted by pykrete jungle at 8:58 PM on August 19, 2018

I really liked her in Star Trek: Discovery, but I can't elaborate without spoilers. Has the statute of limitations expired? Vs lbh jrer qvfnccbvagrq ol ure yvzvgrq ebyr va gur bcravat gjb-cnegre, lbh unira'g frra gur orfg ovg -- juvpu vf zhpu yngre, naq (V gubhtug) zhpu orggre.
posted by confluency at 5:33 AM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

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