August 25, 1987
|Alma mater||Beijing Film Academy|
|Labels||Sony Japan (2005–2010)|
|An Feng (birth name)|
Crystal Liu (born An Feng; August 25, 1987), better known by her stage name Liu Yifei (Chinese: 刘亦菲; pinyin: Liú Yìfēi), is a Chinese-American[a] actress, singer, and model. She has appeared multiple times on Forbes' China Celebrity 100 list and was named one of the New Four Dan actresses of China in 2009. She is widely known as "Fairy Sister" in China.
In 2020, Liu became known to international audiences for starring as the titular character in the Disney live-action film Mulan. The role earned her nominations for a Critics' Choice Super Award, a Kids' Choice Award and a Saturn Award.
Liu was born in Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, Hubei as An Feng (安风). She is an only child. Her father is An Shaokang (安少康), a 1st Secretary in the Chinese Embassy in France and a French language university professor from Beijing, and her mother is Liu Xiaoli (刘晓莉), a dancer and stage performer from Hubei. Her parents divorced when she was 10 years old, and she was raised solely by her mother. That same year, she adopted her mother's surname and changed her name to "Liu Ximeizi" (刘茜美子). Her godfather is Chen Jinfei (陈金飞), the Chairman of Beijing Tongchan Investment Group.
In 1997, when Liu was 10 years old, she and her mother immigrated to the United States. She lived in Queens, New York City where she attended Louis Pasteur Middle School 67. In 2002, she returned to China to pursue an acting career and took the stage name "Liu Yifei" (刘亦菲). Several weeks after returning to China, Liu was accepted into the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy at age 15 and graduated in 2006.
2003–2006: Rising popularity
Immediately after her admittance into the Beijing Film Academy, Liu received offers to star in various television series. Her first television appearance in 2003 was 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 achieved the highest ratings on CCTV, and positive reviews from the audience. The same year, she was chosen by Zhang Jizhong to play Wang Yuyan in Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, an adaptation of Louis Cha's wuxia novel of the same title. The series was broadcast in Taiwan and achieved a rating of 5.69, becoming the highest-rated Chinese drama in Taiwan. Liu's role as the beautiful Wang Yuyan earned her the nickname of "Fairy Sister" by the media and fans.
In 2005, Liu starred in Chinese Paladin, a fantasy action drama adapted from the role-playing game The Legend of Sword and Fairy. The drama earned a cult following and solidified her popularity in China.
After the drama aired, Liu gained acclaim for her performance and swiftly experienced a surge in popularity. The same year, she was chosen 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 then ventured onto the big screen. In 2007, she joined William Morris Agency (WMA) and was subsequently cast in her first Hollywood production, The Forbidden Kingdom. She played Golden Sparrow, an orphan seeking revenge against her parents' killer. Thereafter, she starred in romantic-comedy Love in Disguise (2010) opposite Taiwanese singer-actor Wang Leehom.
In 2011, she starred in fantasy supernatural film A Chinese Ghost Story, adapted from Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. The same year, she was cast as Wu Qing (Emotionless) in Gordon Chan's wuxia film The Four, adapted from Woon Swee Oan's novel series The Four Great Constables. She subsequently reprised her role in two other installments of the film series.
Liu won the Best Actress award at the fifth Macau International Movie Festival for her role as Lingju and Diaochan in the historical film The Assassins (2012).
2014–present: International collaborations and television comeback
In 2014, Liu collaborated with Korean actor-singer Rain for the romance film For Love or Money, based on Hong Kong novelist Amy Cheung's 2006 novel of the same name. Though it did reasonably well at the box office, the film was criticized for its storyline and production.
Liu starred in The Third Way of Love (2015). Her performance in the film led to her win for the Most Anticipated Actress award at the 16th Chinese Film Media Awards. The same year, she was named the first Chinese ambassador of Dior Prestige and became the global ambassador of Tissot.
I made a Xixi [Liu Yifei] film festival for myself, and saw her works have the shock moments in her performance. That convinced me that she would be perfect for the part [leading actress in "The Chinese Widow"]. When you have two actors like Xixi and Emile, you know they are so intelligent and so clever and so talented...
—Academy Award-winning director Bille August
In 2016, Liu starred in romance film Night Peacock, a Chinese-France co-production directed by Dai Sijie. She then starred in the youth romance film So Young 2: Never Gone.
In 2017, Liu starred in romantic fantasy film Once Upon a Time by award-winning director Anthony LaMolinara and Zhao Xiaoding. She also starred in the historical film The Chinese Widow directed by Bille August. The film premiered at the Shanghai International Film Festival as the opening film, and Liu was nominated as Best Actress. The same year, Liu reunited with White Vengeance co-star Feng Shaofeng in the fantasy comedy film Hanson and the Beast.
In November 2017, Liu was cast as Mulan in the live action adaptation of the 1998 Disney animated film, which was released in 2020 to mixed reviews.
In December 2017, it was announced that Liu will star in the upcoming fantasy mystery television series, The Love of Hypnosis. This marks her first small-screen comeback in 12 years.
In August 2019, Liu reshared an image posted by Chinese newspaper People's Daily, an official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. The image included a quote from Chinese reporter Fu Guohao who worked for People's Daily-owned tabloid Global Times and was subsequently assaulted by protesters after stating during the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests: "I support Hong Kong police. You can beat me now. What a shame for Hong Kong." This sparked international controversy, with Liu being accused of supporting police brutality. Following this, the hashtag #BoycottMulan started trending supporting a boycott of the movie. In response to the controversy, Liu was not present at the 2019 D23 Expo, which gave fans an exclusive sneak peek of Mulan. When asked about the controversy in February 2020, Liu stated: "I think it's just a very sensitive situation."
During an interview with Variety magazine at the premiere of Mulan on March 10, 2020, Liu described herself as "Asian" instead of "Chinese", which caused anger among some Chinese social media netizens, who threatened to boycott the movie and accused her of forgetting her roots, as well as questioning why a non-Chinese national was playing the "legendary Chinese icon".
In March 2021, Liu cut ties with clothing brand Adidas over its support for the Better Cotton Initiative - a group funded by the United States government via USAID - after the trade body pulled out of Xinjiang, China citing concerns of forced labour involving Uighur Muslims. The move was echoed by other Chinese celebrities as part of a broader campaign by the Chinese Government to pressure Western brands and consumers into continuing their purchase of cotton produced in the region.
Liu signed with Sony Music Entertainment Japan in 2005. She released her first Japanese single "Mayonaka no Door" with Sony Music on July 19, 2006. Her debut album Liu Yifei was released the next month in various parts of Asia such as mainland China, Hong Kong and throughout Southeast Asia, featuring a diverse music repertoire including rap and soft rock. In the same year, Liu also released her Japanese album in which the single, "Mayonaka no Door" was chosen to be 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.
|2004||Love of May||Zhao Xuan|
|The Love Winner||Jin Qiaoli|||
|2008||The Forbidden Kingdom||Golden Sparrow|
|2010||Love in Disguise||Song Xiaoqing|
|2011||A Chinese Fairy Tale||Nie Xiaoqian|
|White Vengeance||Consort Yu|
|2012||The Four||Wu Qing|
|The Assassins||Lingju / Diaochan|
|2013||The Four II||Wu Qing|
|2014||The Four III||Wu Qing|
|For Love or Money||Xing Lu|
|The Third Way of Love||Zou Yu|
|So Young 2: Never Gone||Su Yunjin|
|2017||Once Upon a Time||Bai Qian / Si Yin / Su Su|
|The Chinese Widow||Ying|
|Hanson and the Beast||Bai Xianchu|
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Role||Notes|
|2003||The Story of a Noble Family||金粉世家||Bai Xiuzhu|
|Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils||天龙八部||Wang Yuyan|
|2005||Chinese Paladin||仙剑奇侠传||Zhao Ling'er|
|Doukou Nianhua||豆蔻年华||Teacher Xiao Zhao||Cameo|
|2006||The Return of the Condor Heroes||神鵰俠侶||Xiaolongnü|
|2022||A Dream of Splendor||梦华录||Zhao Paner|
|2023||Meet Yourself||去有风的地方||Xu Hongdou|
|TBA||The Love of Hypnosis||南煙齋筆錄||Lu Mansheng||Post-Production|
|Album information||Track list||Notes|
|Title: Liu Yifei
Label: Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) Limited
Release date: August 31, 2006
|Title: All My Words
Label: Sony Music Entertainment Japan
Release date: September 6, 2006
|Album information||Track list||Notes|
|Title: Mayonaka no Door
Label: Sony Music Entertainment Japan
Release date: July 19, 2006
|Year||English title||Chinese title||Album||Notes|
|2006||I Want My Taste||我要我的滋味||—||theme song for Yili milk|
|2011||Lan Ruo's Lyrics||兰若词||—||theme song for video game A Chinese Ghost Story Online|
|Song of Chu||楚歌||White Vengeance OST||with Feng Shaofeng|
|2012||Dreams Won't Die||梦不死||The Four OST||with Deng Chao, Ronald Cheng & Collin Chou|
|Waiting For Snow||等雪来||The Assassins OST||with Chow Yun-fat|
|2013||Letting Go||放下||The Four II OST|
|2016||Still Here||还在这里||So Young 2: Never Gone OST||with Reno Wang|
|2017||Three Lifetimes, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms||三生三世十里桃花||Once Upon a Time OST||with Yang Yang|
|2020||Reflection||自己||Mulan (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)||Liu Yifei also sung this song in English|
Awards and nominations
Competitive feature film festivals main competition unit
|2016||40th Montreal World Film Festival||Best Actress||Night Peacock||Nominated|||
|2017||20th Shanghai International Film Festival||Best Actress||The Chinese Widow||Nominated|||
Other film awards
|2013||5th Macau International Movie Festival||Best Actress||The Assassins||Won|||
|2016||16th Chinese Film Media Awards||Most Anticipated Actress||The Third Way of Love||Won|||
|13th Guangzhou College Student Film Festival||Most Popular Actress||Night Peacock, Never Gone||Won|||
|2017||9th Macau International Movie Festival||Best Actress||Once Upon a Time||Nominated|||
|2021||1st Critics' Choice Super Awards||Best Actress in an Action Movie||Mulan||Nominated|||
|34th Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Actress||Nominated|||
|46th Saturn Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|||
Forbes China Celebrity 100
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- ^ Yau, Elaine (March 27, 2020). "Yao Ming and Kris Wu not Chinese? Online witch hunt of Chinese celebrities with foreign passports". Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
Due to her long years studying and living in America, her mother eventually switched her nationality from Chinese to American.
- ^ "Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China". China-Embassy.org. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
Article 3 The People's Republic of China does not recognize dual nationality for any Chinese national ... Article 9 Any Chinese national who has settled abroad and who has been naturalized as a foreign national or has acquired foreign nationality of his own free will shall automatically lose Chinese nationality.
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Liu was born in China and moved to the U.S. at the age of 10. After staying there for five years, she became a U.S. citizen but returned to China and built a career in Chinese TV and films
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- ^ a b "Shanghai Festival: Danish Auteur Bille August's 'The Chinese Widow' to Premiere in Competition". The Hollywood Reporter. August 6, 2017.
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- 1987 births
- Living people
- 21st-century American actresses
- 21st-century Chinese actresses
- Actresses from New York City
- Actresses from Wuhan
- American women pop singers
- American film actresses
- American television actresses
- Beijing Film Academy alumni
- Chinese emigrants to the United States
- Chinese women singers
- Chinese film actresses
- Chinese Mandopop singers
- Chinese television actresses
- Japanese-language singers of China
- Musicians from Wuhan
- People from Douglaston–Little Neck, Queens
- Singers from Hubei
- Singers from New York City
- Sony Music Entertainment Japan artists
- People who lost Chinese citizenship
- Naturalized citizens of the United States