These select ladies bring a bit more dignity and sex appeal to the portrayal of the average leading lady in film. I felt these women were enough to warrant a top 10 list of a topic we often overlook. It is no doubt these women are gorgeous but they have held together single-handedly alot of the films we have grown to love with their excellent acting abilities. After finishing this list I was a bit taken back by how many of these women have entered their 40’s, but no complaints here as you can see they are still as big of eye candy as they ever were. So let us pay homage to these wonderful Asian Actresses and kick off the list:
For many people, just getting out of communist China and starting a new life in America is enough of an accomplishment. Bai Ling is one of the workingest actors in Hollywood with nine projects in various stages of production. She is an author, singer, blogger and above all, an award winning actress. I used to think of Bai Ling as Paris Hilton without the rich family. Famous for no discernable reason, but she puts herself together well. Which lands her quite snug at the bottom of the list.
Not many actresses, especially ones so young, can bring such dedication to a role. Jeeja Yanin, spent two years training for her role in Thailand’s latest martial arts showcase. Thats quite impressive given she has only been in two roles her whole life. Simply put, Jeeja Yanin is the female version of Tony Jaa, she is amazing. What she lacks in general sex appeal she more than makes up for it by making the biggest debut splashes in Asian film history by bringing heat to the screen. She makes the list purely on the fact that we will definetely be seeing more and more of her in the future.
Lucy Liu is everywhere from movies to TV. She’s been on the X-Files, to Futurama, to Jerry Maguire. She is also the first Asian American woman to host Saturday Night Live. Liu is also an artist in several media, and has had three gallery shows showcasing her collage, paintings, and photography. In, March 2, 2010, Liu made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage. Is there anything she can’t do? Lucy Liu gets the well deserved number 8 slot for being ecclectic, as well as beautiful.
Joan Chen became famous in China for her performance in the 1979 film Little Flower and came to international attention for her performance in the 1987 Academy Award-winning film The Last Emperor. Tired of being cast as an exotic beauty in Hollywood films, Chen moved into directing in 1998 with the critically acclaimed Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl. It isn’t often that a woman can take the reigns in her career and move in a direction that makes them happy on their own terms. For this, she claims the number 7 slot and proves that like wine, she only gets better with age.
Gong Li sometimes lets her emotions overpower her reasoning and logic, and consequently she is sometimes biased in her opinions. However, she has twice been awarded the Golden Rooster and the Hundred Flowers Awards as well as the Berlinale Camera, and the Cannes Festival Trophy. Not bad for the youngest in a family of five children. Despite her popularity, Gong avoided Hollywood for years, due to a lack of confidence in speaking English. Couple that with a highly publicized collaboration with director Zhang Yimou due to an affair, the scandal that ended their professional relationship in 1995, you can see she has had a hard road to walk. They were, however, reunited in 2006 for Zhang’s Curse of the Golden Flower. We are glad they did, as she proves she is a great talent and an exceptional beauty.
This might seem like a surprising choice for some. Tia Carrera lost some steam in the 90’s but what I like about her is she has remained consistent. From 1999 to 2002, Carrere starred as archeology professor Sydney Fox in Relic Hunter, a syndicated action-adventure series strongly reminiscent of the Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider films and video games. Carrere posed nude for the January 2003 issue of Playboy magazine. It was the top selling Playboy of 2003. In 1993, her first solo album, Dream, was released, and went platinum in Mexico. From voice overs, to video games, to movies, to singing, she is talented across the boards that spans a 20 year career. You can’t deny her longevity and thats why she lands at number 5.
Maggie Cheung has over 70 films to her credit since starting her career in 1983. Cheung was a jury member at the 1997 Berlin Film Festival, the 1999 Venice Film Festival and the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. For the first time in its history, the 59th Cannes Film Festival (2006) used a photographic image of a real actress on its poster — that of Cheung. After 25 years of making movies, she decided to retire from acting to pursue a career as a film composer. She would like to compose music and paint, after fulfilling her acting potential. How many actresses do you know have actually bowed out of the spotlight due to being fulfilled? My hat is off to this beautiful woman and she lands at the number 4 spot.
We all know this one. The ever so pretty Zhang Ziyi rose to fame by starring in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she won several awards in the West, such as Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Toronto Film Critics Association Awards and Independent Spirit Awards. Her great work on the screen resulted in her accepting an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, placing her among the ranks of those able to vote on the Academy Awards. She also became the youngest member to sit on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival. Impressive? That’s why she’s in the top 3.
My personal vote as the hottest Asian actress on the list, Maggie Q is appropriately placed at number 2. Because of her non-Chinese heritage, many of her Asian film appearances are in English or dubbed in Chinese languages. She has starred in some of the largest blockbusters America has offered in the past few years and she is still humble enough to provide video game voice overs. Her future looks bright as she is rumored to star in the new Wolverine film filming later this year. It was also announced that she would be the lead character on the new CW series, Nikita, so needless to say, this woman stays busy.
Putting it simply, Michelle Yeoh is a phenomenon. She can act, she’s beautiful, she carries herself with immense grace and she’s one of the ten best screen fighters ever. Yeoh learned English and Malay before Cantonese, and cannot read Chinese characters. As she does not speak Mandarin, she learned the lines for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon phonetically. Now that’s dedication! She was even offered the role of Seraph in the two sequels to The Matrix, but she could not accept due to a scheduling conflict. As you can tell, she is STILL in heavy demand even after all these years. She is gorgeous, and amazingly talented and steals every scene she is in. I see nobody else as fitting to take the number one spot then Miss Michelle Yeoh.
Please comment below on your thoughts and opinions of these lovely leading ladies and if you feel I have left someone out of the spotlight, feel free to let us all know! Thanks for reading!