Liu Yifei

Liu Yifei (刘亦菲, born 25 August 1987), birth name An Feng (安风), legal name Liu Ximeizi (刘茜美子), is a Chinese American actress, model, and singer.

Liu Yifei, born An Feng on August 25, 1987, is a prominent Chinese-American actress, singer, and model. Known by her stage name, Liu Yifei (Chinese: 刘亦菲; pinyin: Liú Yìfēi), she has made a significant impact in both the entertainment industry and the modeling world. Her remarkable talents have earned her a place on the Forbes China Celebrity 100 list multiple times, and she was recognized as one of the New Four Dan actresses of China in 2009. Liu Yifei is widely acknowledged as the “Fairy Sister” in China.

Liu Yifei images

Early Life

Liu Yifei was born in Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, Hubei as An Feng (安风). She is the only child of her parents, with her father being An Shaokang, a 1st Secretary in the Chinese Embassy in France and a French language university professor from Beijing, and her mother, Liu Xiaoli, a dancer and stage performer from Hubei. When Liu Yifei was 10 years old, her parents divorced, and she was raised solely by her mother. In the same year, she adopted her mother’s surname and changed her name to “Liu Ximeizi” (刘茜美子). Her godfather is Chen Jinfei, the Chairman of Beijing Tongchan Investment Group.

In 1997, when Liu Yifei was 10 years old, she and her mother immigrated to the United States, where she lived in Queens, New York City and attended Louis Pasteur Middle School 67. In 2002, at the age of 15, she returned to China to pursue an acting career and took on the stage name “Liu Yifei” (刘亦菲). She was accepted into the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy and graduated in 2006.

Career

2003–2006: Rising Popularity

Following her admission to the Beijing Film Academy, Liu Yifei received offers to star in various television series. Her career took off with her first television appearance in 2003 in the period romance drama “The Story of a Noble Family” (金粉世家), based on Zhang Henshui’s novel of the same name. The series received the highest ratings on CCTV and garnered positive reviews from the audience.

In the same year, she was chosen to play Wang Yuyan in “Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils,” an adaptation of Louis Cha’s wuxia novel. The series achieved high ratings in Taiwan, becoming the highest-rated Chinese drama there. Liu Yifei’s portrayal of Wang Yuyan earned her the nickname “Fairy Sister” by the media and fans.

In 2005, Liu Yifei starred in “Chinese Paladin,” a fantasy action drama adapted from the role-playing game “The Legend of Sword and Fairy.” The drama gained a cult following and further solidified her popularity in China. The same year, she was honored as the “Golden Eagle Goddess” at the 6th China Golden Eagle TV Art Festival.

2008–2013: Transition to Film

After achieving success in television, Liu Yifei ventured into the world of film. In 2007, she joined William Morris Agency (WMA) and was cast in her first Hollywood production, “The Forbidden Kingdom.” In the film, she portrayed Golden Sparrow, an orphan seeking revenge against her parents’ killer. She continued to grace the screen with her presence in romantic-comedy “Love in Disguise” (2010) alongside Taiwanese-American singer and actor Wang Leehom.

In 2011, Liu Yifei starred in the fantasy supernatural film “A Chinese Ghost Story,” an adaptation of “Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio.” That same year, she was cast as Wu Qing (Emotionless) in Gordon Chan’s wuxia film “The Four,” based on Woon Swee Oan’s novel series. She reprised her role in two other installments of the film series.

Liu Yifei’s remarkable performance as Lingju and Diaochan in the historical film “The Assassins” (2012) earned her the Best Actress award at the fifth Macau International Movie Festival.

2014–Present: International Collaborations and Television Comeback

In 2014, Liu Yifei collaborated with Korean actor-singer Rain in the romance film “For Love or Money,” based on Hong Kong novelist Amy Cheung’s novel of the same name. She also starred in “The Third Way of Love” (2015), a film that led to her winning the Most Anticipated Actress award at the 16th Chinese Film Media Awards. During the same year, she became the first Chinese ambassador of Dior Prestige and was appointed as the global ambassador of Tissot.

In 2016, Liu Yifei starred in the romance film “Night Peacock,” a Chinese-France co-production directed by Dai Sijie. She also took on the role in the youth romance film “So Young 2: Never Gone.”

In 2017, Liu Yifei starred in the romantic fantasy film “Once Upon a Time” directed by award-winning director Anthony LaMolinara and Zhao Xiaoding. She also played a significant role in the historical film “The Chinese Widow” directed by Bille August. The latter film premiered at the Shanghai International Film Festival, and Liu Yifei was nominated for Best Actress. She reunited with her “White Vengeance” co-star Feng Shaofeng in the fantasy comedy film “Hanson and the Beast.”

In November 2017, Liu Yifei was cast as Mulan in the live-action adaptation of the 1998 Disney animated film, which was released in 2020.

In December 2017, it was announced that Liu Yifei would star in the fantasy mystery television series, “The Love of Hypnosis,” marking her small-screen comeback after 12 years.

In 2022, she received the Best Actress Award at the 13th Macau International Television Festival for her role as Zhao Paner in the costume drama “Meng Hua Lu” (梦华录).

Controversy

Liu Yifei has faced some controversies during her career:

Music Career

Liu Yifei signed with Sony Music Entertainment Japan in 2005. She released her first Japanese single “Mayonaka no Door” with Sony Music in 2006. Her debut album “Liu Yifei” was released the next month in various parts of Asia, featuring a diverse music repertoire including rap and soft rock. In the same year, her Japanese single “Mayonaka no Door” was chosen as an ending theme for the anime series “Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z” by TV Tokyo.

In 2020, she performed the Mandarin and English version of the song “Reflection” for the live-action “Mulan.”

Liu Yifei filmography

Poster for the movie "Mulan"

Mulan

When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Chinese Army to defend the country from Huns, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. She is spirited, determined and quick on her feet. Disguised as a man by the name of Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness … Read more

Poster for the movie "Once Upon a Time"

Once Upon a Time

Based on the best-selling fantasy novel Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, ONCE UPON A TIME is a story of epic battles, deep passion, and the powerful forces that drive mortals and gods alike toward revenge, loyalty, and eternal love. Bai Qian, a goddess and monarch from the Heavenly Realms, is sent to the mortal world to undergo a trial to become a High Goddess. There, she meets Ye Hua, with whom … Read more

Poster for the movie "The Third Way of Love"

The Third Way of Love

“The Third Way of Love” tells the sad love story of Lin Qi Zheng, who is from a rich family, and Zhou Yu who is a smart and beautiful lawyer.

Poster for the movie "For Love or Money"

For Love or Money

“For Love or Money” is based on a novel by Zhang Xiaoxian, which tells the moving story between a fallen noble lady and a rich heir to a large company. She’s broken and has lost the direction in life, whereas he chooses a life of poverty and freedom to pursue his passion as a painter. Together, will they be able to find themselves in this world of twists and turns before it’s too late?

Poster for the movie "The Four 3"

The Four 3

The reputation of the Four constables survives, but since Emotionless’s departure, there have been changes at the Divine Constabulary. The four Coldblood, Iron Hands, Life Snatcher, rescue Zhuge Zhengwo from An Yunshan’s mountain fortress, then with the Emperor and Di armies, they attack. But An Yunshan absorbs their power, which means the constables and their allies now face their most lethal opponent yet, a nearly invincible kung fu master who won’t stop until he has … Read more

Poster for the movie "A Chinese Ghost Story"

A Chinese Ghost Story

Government official Ling Choi Sin (Yu Shao Qun, taking over Leslie Cheung’s role) journeys to the parched Black Mountain Village to its inhabitants find water. As he leads a group of ‘volunteers’ up the haunted mountain, he encounters a bevy of sexy demons and well as a lovely ‘girl’ named Siu Sin (Liu Yi-Fei). After wooing her with some candy, he falls for her – and then realizes that he is caught in a deadly … Read more

Poster for the movie "White Vengeance"

White Vengeance

White Vengeance tells the story of two brothers contending for supremacy during the fall of the Qin Dynasty, which ruled Imperial China from 221 to 206 BC. As rebels rose, the nation fell into chaos. Liu Bang and Xiang Yu, became leaders of the rebellious army, and also became sworn brothers in battle.Xiang Yu and Liu Bang are close friends who both serve King Huai of Chu. King Huai uses a plot, saying that whoever … Read more

Poster for the movie "The Four"

The Four

An undercover agent is assigned by his corrupt chief to infiltrate a rival department and sabotage their investigation of counterfeit currency. What he discovers is the counterfeiter’s real plan. To overthrow the capital. Not by flooding it with funny money, but with an army of undead.

Poster for the movie "The Assassins"

The Assassins

In the year 198 BC, Cao Cao (Chow Yun Fat), Prime Minister of the Han Dynasty, ventured to the east and defeated China’s greatest warrior Lu Bu, terrifying every ambitious warlord across the country. Several years later, after taking the Han Emperor under his wing, Cao crowns himself King of Wei. He built a magnificent Bronze Sparrow Island to symbolize his power and rumors spread that he would replace the Emperor. Meanwhile, young lovers Mu … Read more

Poster for the movie "The Four 2"

The Four 2

The Sequel to The Four, based on the best-selling novel by Woon Swee Oan. The four constables, Emotionless (Crystal Liu Yifei), Iron Hands (Collin Chou), Life Snatcher (Ronald Cheng) and ColdBlood (Deng Chao), are specially skilled in their own individual super powers. When the four constables of the Divine Constabulary investigate a murder in the suburbs, they unexpectedly stumble on clues to the murder of Emotionless’s family 15 years ago. While investigating the case, the … Read more

Poster for the movie "Love in Disguise"

Love in Disguise

Famous from an incredibly young age, DMH (Wang Lee Hom) has only ever known a celebrity pop star existence. Yet, despite all the glamour, there is still something lacking in his charmed life – true love. With the help of fellow musician and friend WZB, DMH disguised himself as a regular Joe in the hope of finding true love. While incognito, DMH and WZB stumble across the performance of a classical Chinese orchestra and DMH … Read more

Poster for the movie "The Forbidden Kingdom"

The Forbidden Kingdom

An American teenager who is obsessed with Hong Kong cinema and kung-fu classics makes an extraordinary discovery in a Chinatown pawnshop: the legendary stick weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King. With the lost relic in hand, the teenager unexpectedly finds himself travelling back to ancient China to join a crew of warriors from martial arts lore on a dangerous quest to free the imprisoned Monkey King.

Poster for the movie "I Love How You Love Me"

I Love How You Love Me

In seven days, a young man must learn how to fight from a master, because, for the girl he is in love with, he have to challenge the current grand title owner, whose father is rivaling the smuggling business of the young man’s father.