Chinese actor Zhang Ziyi has appeared in blockbuster movies in both her native country and the West, including critically acclaimed films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). Her elegance, poise and style on the red carpet have also won her the admiration of many fashion enthusiasts and publications, such as Time and People magazines.
Born in the Chinese capital of Beijing to an accountant father and a teacher mother, Zhang is the youngest of two children and started taking dance lessons at the age of eight. Displaying a natural grace and talent, she was quickly enrolled at the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy, an all-girls boarding school. While there, she won a national dance competition and also started acting in television commercials.
After she moved onto the acclaimed Central Academy of Drama, she was cast in director Zhang Yimou’s film The Road Home (1998), before being cast as the main character of director Ang Lee’s breakout hit, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The movie remains one of the most influential Chinese films to come out of the country and catapulted Zhang onto the international stage. It was nominated for multiple Oscar Academy Awards (winning "Best Foreign Film") and a Golden Globe. Since then, she has continued to appear in films both in Asia and the West and has become an important member of several industry organisations, including a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and a jury member at the 2006 and 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Zhang’s ascent to the global cinema stage has also landed her much attention from the media for what she wears, as well as lucrative endorsement deals with brands like Omega Watches, Visa and cosmetics line Maybelline. Her red carpet and everyday outfits are also carefully chronicled on many celebrity fashion blogs, including The Cut and The Huffington Post. Elle China has put her on the cover and she was also chosen to run a leg of the Olympic route with the Torch leading up to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Although Zhang continues to star in and produce films, she has expressed a desire to settle down and raise a family. “As a woman what I really want is marriage and a family. Maybe now I am focused on my work and career, but I think getting married is something I will do sooner or later. In my opinion, my sister-in-law is very successful, even though she doesn't have a so-called career, because she has a very happy family, two cute children and the love of her whole family,” she once told China Times Weekly.