Asia

Top Asian Actresses Who Made It in Hollywood

1. Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, 2. Mindy Kaling, 3. Awkwafina, 4. Jessica Henwick, 5. Fala Chen, 6. Chloe Bennet, 7. Liu Yifei, 8. Kelly Marie Tran, 9. Arden Cho, 10. Sonoya Mizuno. Asia has a lot of talented and beautiful actresses. Some are content with their stardoms at home, while other, more daring starlets decide to try their luck in Hollywood. In today's list, Toplist will talk about ten Asian actresses that managed to secure their places in America's cinematic history.

  1. Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh
  2. Mindy Kaling
  3. Awkwafina
  4. Jessica Henwick
  5. Fala Chen
  6. Chloe Bennet
  7. Liu Yifei
  8. Kelly Marie Tran
  9. Arden Cho
  10. Sonoya Mizuno

Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh

Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian actress, has been cast as Jiang Nan in Marvel’s debut Asian heroine picture, Shang-Chi And The Legends Of The Ten Rings, which is scheduled to release in 2021. She has just completed the Netflix series’ storyline for her Star Trek role Emperor Philippa Georgiou. The 59-year-old Crazy Rich Asian star, who was born in Ipoh, has long advocated for more Asian presence in Hollywood and has served as an inspiration to many, including Olivia Munn of The Newsroom.

From 1988 until 1992, Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh was wedded to Hong Kong businessman Dickson Poon, who founded enterprises such as Charles Jourdan and Harvey Nichols. Yeoh married Alan Heldman, a cardiologist from America, in 1998. In 2003, she started to date Jean Todt, the retired General Manager and President of Scuderia Ferrari who eventually served as the FIA’s president. In July 2008, she declared her commitment to him through an appearance on CBS’s The Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Yeoh is a devout Buddhist. She traveled to Vietnam in March 2008 to make a film for the Asian Safety Training Foundation. Yeoh is also a supporter of the Save China’s Tigers initiative, which works to rescue the South China tiger that is critically endangered.

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Nationality: Malaysia

Famous movies: Shang-Chi, Crazy Rich Asians, The Legends of the Ten Rings

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: Memory Alpha – Fandom

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: Richard Mille

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is no stranger to Hollywood as an actress, comedienne, writer, producer, director, and novelist. In her early twenties, the Massachusetts native began her writing career and performed on the television series The Office, eventually headlining in her own program, The Mindy Project.

Despite facing prejudice and discrimination in Hollywood as a South Asian woman, she finally established a reputation for herself by acting in blockbuster films such as Oceans 8 and A Wrinkle In Time. Never Have I Ever, Kaling’s Netflix comedy series, stars an Indian-American female protagonist whose life (and challenges) are inspired in part by her own.

Can we stop for a minute to appreciate Mindy Kaling’s comic genius? To begin, she won us over as The Office’s gossip queen Kelly Kapoor. Then, on The Mindy Project, she oozes charm and girlish comedy. And today, the actress is hard at work behind the scenes on series including Four Weddings and a Funeral and HBO’s The Sex Lives of College Girls. Moreover, Kaling is a 5-time Emmy nominee with directorial credentials and the author of two best-selling novels.

Nationality: India

Famous movies: The Mindy Project, Oceans 8, Never Have I Ever

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: Parade

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: Variety

Awkwafina

In 2020, Awkwafina (actual name Nora Lum), the Crazy Rich Asians star and comedienne, became the first female of Asian origin to take The prize Leading Lady at the Golden Globe awards for her role as Billi in the movie The Farewell. Awkwafina, who also was a member of Oceans 8’s star-studded ensemble, originally earned a reputation as a YouTube rapper.

The busy actress has previously featured in and created her own popular Comedy Central show, “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens”, and then appeared on the big screen as the voiceover of dragon Sisu in “Raya and the Last Dragon”, and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi”, as well as the “Legends of the Ten Rings”.

Awkwafina has come under fire for suspected culture exploitation of AAVE as well as African-American characteristics. “I welcome that discourse,” she said in 2018, “because as an American-Asian identity, we’re still figuring out what it exactly is.”

Nationality: China

Famous movies: Shang-chi, Crazy Rich Asians

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: NBC News

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: Black Enterprise

Jessica Henwick

Jessica Henwick was raised in Surrey, to a Singapore mom and a Zambian father. At the age of 16, she started acting in the children’s series Spirit Warriors, where she was among the first Asian stars in British television history.

Henwick attempted unsuccessfully as a teenager to get into major film parts in the United States, but eventually landed important roles in Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix, as well as Underwater, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and HBO’s Game of Thrones.

She has remarked in interviews on the paucity of Asian presence in the UK film business and her desire to take on even more parts that defy stereotypes without reinforcing them. Jessica Henwick also made her appearance in the highly anticipated Matrix 4 remake in 2021 opposite Carrie-Ann Moss, Keanu Reeves, and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Nationality: Singapore

Famous movies: Matrix 4, Game of Thrones, Underwater, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: TV Guide

Fala Chen

Fala Chen may be a fresh Asian actress to viewers outside of Asia, but she is a known face in Hong Kong. As one of the prominent actresses in the local film business, she vanished from Hong Kong’s screens in 2014, sparking speculation about her whereabouts.

Chen has participated in a slew of famous Hong Kong tv series since her start in 2006. However, she felt as if her career had hit a stalemate, and she left Hong Kong in 2015 to seek an MFA in theater at Juilliard in the hope that it would spark her passion for acting. Given that the prominent institution prefers students with little training, she took a risk by enrolling in the curriculum. Despite this, she distinguished herself from hundreds of candidates and began her four-year adventure at Juilliard, becoming the first Chinese alumnus of her school.

Now, seven years later, she returns triumphantly opposite Hong Kong’s great Tony Leung in the movies Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, a worldwide Marvel best-seller that swept Hong Kong. Fala Chen appears on the front of Vogue Hong Kong’s November “City Issue” in November 2021, in which she discusses her life after departing Hong Kong, including having a mother and obtaining a Marvel role.

Nationality: Chinese

Famous movies: Shang-Chi, Legends of the Ten Rings

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: South China Morning Post

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: Youtube, Marvel Entertainment

Chloe Bennet

Chloe Bennet rose to prominence as Skye in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Although “S.H.I.E.L.D.” officially concluded in August 2020 and Marvel moved on to Disney+ projects, it does not seem as if Bennet will be let go anytime soon. She has been in a lot of films and television series over the years, and she has even signed on to portray a live-action Blossom Utonium in the hotly anticipated “Powerpuff Girls” adaptation.

While the famous actress has acquired a sizable fan base over the last decade, there is still a lot about her that most people are probably unaware of. There’s her long-forgotten singing career in Beijing, her enormous family, her connection with a particular comedic artist, and even the origin of her given name.

It’s a sad reality that Hollywood has a mixed record when it comes to equitable representation. While the film industry is gradually heading in a more favorable and diverse direction, key concerns such as whitewashing and employing racial stereotypes continue to plague the industry today. Chloe Bennet, who was born to a Caucasian mom and a Chinese dad, is intimately familiar with these issues.

Famous movies: Agents of SHIELD, Powerpuff Girls

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: Animation World Network

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: WinterIsComing.net

Liu Yifei

In 2003, Liu Yifei began acting in the television series ‘The Tale of a Noble Family.’ She later appeared in the television series ‘Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils.’ Following that, she starred in the films ‘Love of May’ and ‘The Love Winner’. Yifei made her acting debut in 2005 with the dramas ‘Chinese Paladin’ and ‘Doukou Nianhua’. She then appeared in the series ‘The Rise of the Condor Heroes’ the following year. In the same year, she published her albums ‘Liu Yifei’, ‘All My Words’, and ‘Mayonaka no door’.

In 2008, the Chinese starlet was cast in the film ‘The Forbidden Kingdom.’ She appeared in the film ‘Love in Disguise’ two years later, and then in the films ‘Chinese Fairy Tale’ and ‘White Vengeance’ in 2011. Yifei starred as Lingju in ‘The Assassins’ and as Wu Qing in ‘The Four’.

She worked on the sequels of ‘The Four,’ ‘The Four II,’ and ‘The Four III,’ respectively, in 2013 and 2014. Following that, the actress appeared in ‘Outcast’ and ‘The Third Way of Love’. In 2016, she starred in ‘Night Peacock’ as Elsa and ‘So Young 2: Never Gone’ as Ying. Liu Yifei was given the roles of ‘The Chinese Widow’, ‘Once Upon a Time’, and ‘Hanson and the Beast’ a year later. However, it was not until Disney gave her the lead part in “Mulan” that the Chinese woman achieved worldwide celebrity status.

Famous movies: Forbidden Kingdom, Mulan, Once Upon A Time

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood
top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: Vogue

Kelly Marie Tran

Kelly Marie Tran understands personally what anti-Asian prejudice looks like. As the California-born child of Vietnamese immigrants, the star has been exposed to sexist and racist abuse, particularly after being the first lady to be cast in a major Star Wars part in 2017.

Now, after the tragic shootings at Asian-owned parlors and the frightening surge in anti-Asian racist violence over the previous year, Tran is talking out about the effect of this terrible news. “It’s been very, really tough, I believe, to experience so many things at once,” she stated on Ellen DeGeneres Show. “It’s such a terrible moment for the Asian population and I believe it strikes everyone uniquely. So many of my pals have been speaking on, ‘Okay, what are things which we can effectively help?’ and also understanding that we would all need to make absolutely sure that we’re going to take care of our physical and mental wellbeing at the same time.”

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Kelly Marie Tran also spoke on what it was like to market her new animated feature, “Raya and the Last Dragon”, amid such a difficult period for the American Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The movie which Tran portrays the central character, a princess on a mission to defend her homeland—is based on the imaginary world of Kumandra and influenced by Southeast Asian civilizations.

Nationality: Vietnamese

Famous movies: Star Wars, Raya and the Last Dragon

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood
top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: IndieWire

Arden Cho

Arden Cho is a Korean-American actress, singer/songwriter, and model. From Season 3 through Season 6, she starred as Kira Yukimura in MTV’s Teen Wolf. She also appeared in the ep The Fox and the Wolf as Young Noshiko.

Cho spent most of her life in Dallas and her late adolescent years in Minnesota. During this time period, she honed her musical abilities on the piano and cello. Arden Cho participated in athletics, cheerleading, and martial arts training while in high school. She attended Apple Valley High School in 2004 and earned a degree from the University of Illinois in 2007. Cho became Miss Korea Chicago in 2004, which qualified her to participate in Seoul, Korea, for the opportunity to represent Korea in the Miss World competition.

Cho has starred in a number of films, television programs, and advertisements both in the United States and Asia. She appears in Rizzoli & Isles, Pretty Little Liars, and the online series K-Town Cowboys as Sarah.

Nationality: Korean

Famous movies: Teen Wolf, Pretty Little Liars

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: TVLine

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: The Star

Sonoya Mizuno

Sonoya Mizuno had a dilemma a few years after finishing London’s Royal Ballet School. She’d auditioned for a tiny role in Alex Garland’s debut film, Ex Machina, and despite her lack of experience reading screenplays, he gave her a role that required weeks of shooting in London. However, she remained under contract with Scottish Ballet. She could either remain as a professional dancer, performing Sleeping Beauty for 70-year-olds, or she could breach her contract and try her hand as an actress.

Mizuno opted for the latter. She composed a resignation letter, booked a trip, boarded the aircraft, sent the emails, and switched off her phone. “So that’s what I tried, and it worked out like Hell,” she said to an interviewer over tea in Brooklyn on a rainy day. It’s an illustrative genesis tale for an actress whose first lead part is in a near-future science fiction miniseries that delves into our understanding of free choice. Devs, which stars her as Lily Chan, a software developer for a fictitious quantum computing firm named Amaya, is about defying what people, technology, and the cosmos mandate what we do and who we are. It warps our existential beliefs on the universe, reality, and autonomy, as directed and written by Garland, the creator behind the film Annihilation. And Mizuno got there by taking calculated risks.

After the success of Devs, Sonoya Mizuno rose to her deserved stardom. Now, she is one of the most beloved Asian actresses in Hollywood.

Nationality: Japanese

Famous movies: Devs, Annihilation, Crazy Rich Asians

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: Los Angeles Times

top asian actresses who made it in hollywood

Source: PopBuzz

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