Yi began acting as a teenager, and though she made only a handful of films, she received top billing in most of them. After appearing in The Chase with James Tien in 1971, both she and Tien were cast in Bruce Lee's film The Big Boss. She also had a small role as a martial arts student in Lee's next film, Fist of Fury. Yi would co-star in two more films directed by Lo Wei, appearing with another star of the time, Jimmy Wang Yu.
Yi married a wealthy businessman in June 1974 (one of the guests at her wedding was Big Boss and Fist of Fury co-star Nora Miao). She made her final film, Tiger of Northland, in 1976.