Michelle Yeoh made history when she became the first Asian woman to win an Oscar for best actress for her role in 2022’s sci-fi action film Everything Everywhere All At Once . A defining moment in Hollywood, Yeoh’s success was celebrated globally – but especially in Malaysia and Hong Kong, after the actress mentioned both countries during her speech . Hong Kong government minister Kevin Yeung responded to her win by congratulating her and saying, “Michelle Yeoh first made a name in the Hong Kong film sector, then moved on to the international stage with her exceptionally outstanding acting skills and hard work,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Yeoh’s win marks a milestone for Asian stars in Hollywood and helps put Hong Kong films in the limelight more than ever before. After all, it’s where the talented kung fu mistress cut her teeth. Here’s how her Hong Kong films helped her on her path to the momentous Oscar win: Everything rises in the East Michelle Yeoh’s big journey to the Oscars started with her first step in Hong Kong when she was called by businessman Dickson Poon, the co-founder of D&B Films, to shoot a watch advert with Jackie Chan, per Hong Kong media. 6 dazzling celebrity jewellery looks at the Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong Yeoh, who had won the Miss Malaysia beauty contest, was just a “pretty face” at that time with few acting credentials to her name, but the young rising star wanted to be more than just a beauty on screen, per an interview with The Independent. She would later marry Dickson Poon, a reported millionaire and entrepreneur behind businesses like Harvey Nichols and Charles Jourdan, in 1988, but divorced after three years. Their marriage ultimately ended due to Yeoh’s inability to conceive, and the two remain on good terms, according to a recent interview with Bustle. To appear different from the traditional roles that were assigned to Asian women then, Yeoh went another route and tried to get herself into action films – something unheard of in Hong Kong films for actresses at that time but her determination paid off and within a year she landed her first big film Yes, Madam! in 1985 with a lead role as a policewoman. Yeoh’s role saw her beating up her opponents, evading gunfire, shattering glass and jumping over obstacles just like any other male action hero. The film was so well received that it became a classic and Yeoh helped open up a whole subgenre of Hong Kong films known as “girls with guns”, giving way to future female action stars, per Collider. “I was very lucky because once I started my career in Hong Kong action films, I was embraced very quickly and given amazing opportunities. Then I got married, and when I came back out, my first movie was Supercop , and I couldn’t have asked for more,” she told Bustle. Who is Michelle Yeoh’s fiancé, former Ferrari boss Jean Todt? Her journey to stardom She rose to further heights when she shared the screen again with Jackie Chan in his franchise Police Story 3: Supercop – this time as an actress who can take on enemies just like Chan. The film established her as one of the most skilled actresses in Hong Kong and she became known as the first lady ever to do stunt work in the city’s films, per Anothermag. From then on, a string of top-tier action films cemented her status as a martial arts master. In fact, it was Yeoh and her role in Police Story 3: Supercop that became the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino to make his iconic film Kill Bill , per The Independent. With Yeoh taking over Hong Kong films during the 1980s and 1990s, both Malaysia and Hong Kong claimed her as their hometown hero, states The Hollywood Reporter. Breaking into Hollywood Thanks to her reputation in Hong Kong films, Hollywood came knocking at her door with an opportunity to save the world with 007 in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies alongside Pierce Brosnan. Yeoh broke into the Western world with this film while hailing her own stunt team from Hong Kong, per The Independent. Yeoh further put Asian film on the map through the masterpiece Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon , a film that was a joint effort by Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and America. It became the first foreign language film to break US$100 million in the US, per the same source. 8 of Fish Liew’s best luxury looks, from gold Prada to see-through Ferragamo She then went on to become a huge name in Hollywood with blockbusters like Memoirs of a Geisha , Crazy Rich Asians and Marvel’s Shang Chi and The Ten Rings. Even after entering Hollywood, she still starred in Hong Kong films such as Moonlight Express , The Touch and Silver Hawk . She maintains her ties to the Fragrant Harbour With her colourful international career and bagging her first Oscar win, Yeoh has helped shine the spotlight on Hong Kong’s film industry. Louise Wong, the country’s rising star known for her roles in Anita and A Guilty Conscience said, “Yeoh has really blazed the path for us all. Now, there are more chances for Asian actresses and actors to try for international films and TV series – to have more chances to perform, and for more people to see them,” The Hollywood Reporter reported. And it’s not just films. Yeoh has given back to the Hong Kong community through multiple charity work projects. She constantly donates to the Hong Kong Cancer Fund, per AMFAR, and has also helped raise US$2.75 million for AMFAR’s life-saving Aids research programmes in Hong Kong gala, per Look to the Stars. ‘I actually worked’: Princess Siri of Thailand on her 18-year fashion career Yeoh’s lucrative career has certainly helped her invest in multiple properties across the globe, including a luxury flat in Hong Kong that she bought during her early years. Located in Vivian Court, Yeoh bought the flat for around US$780,000 in 1992 and it’s now believed to have a market value of over US$9.5 million, per Hong Kong media. Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .