Liu Yifei stars in the live adaptation of the Disney classic Mulan, now available on Disney Plus. Learn more about the Mulan actress as she is brought to the international spotlight thanks to the historical role.
Born in China
Liu Yifei was born on August 25, 1987, in Wuhan, China. Her mother brought her and immigrated to the United States. She lived in Queens, New York, and attended school at the Louis Pasteur Middle School. The Mulan star later went back to China in 2002 to focus on her acting career.
Her father was the 1st Secretary in the Chinese Embassy in France. In line with that, her father was also a French-language professor. But Crystal Liu inherited most of her artistic and performance skills from her mother, who was a stage performer and dancer. Her godfather Chen Jinfei is a business tycoon and the Chairman of Beijing Tongchan Investment Group.
Her original name when she was born was An Feng, derived from her father's surname An Shaokang. When her parents divorced, she took on the name Liu Ximeizi from her mother's surname. She later changed her name to Liu Yifei when she returned to China. Additionally, she is sometimes referred to as Crystal Liu.
Big Name in China
She was a big name in China and was known as the "Fairy Sister." That is because she was praised for her beauty and performance in the wuxia film "Demi Gods and Semi Devils." Wuxia is a genre of movies that revolves around "martial heroes" in Chinese historical fantasy. Exposure to the genre helped her develop her martial arts skills, which proved useful for her landing the role of the Mulan adaptation. She was also dubbed as one of the new Four Dan Actresses, a title reserved for star-quality names in entertainment, back in 2009.
Though the Mulan live-action adaptation is not a musical compared to the Disney classic, Liu Yifei would still be able to do the part since she is an accomplished singer. The Chinese actress pursued a career in music and signed with Sony Music Entertainment back in 2005.
The Mulan star released two albums in 2006. One is her self-titled Chinese album Liu Yifei in August under Sony BMG Music Entertainment Hong Kong. The other one is a Japanese album called All My Words in September under Sony Music Entertainment Japan.
Despite being hugely successful, she is referred to as "box-office poison" because some of the movies she was in ended up being flops. She landed roles in "Outcast" and "The Chinese Widow," but both films were not commercially successful.
The wuxia actress shared a post on Weibo, China's equivalent for Twitter, that reads, "I also support Hong Kong police. You can beat me up now," during the Hong Kong protests. This caused the hashtag #BoycottMulan to trend as netizens believed Crystal Liu supported police brutality. The actress shared her sentiments that it was a very "complicated situation" and admitted that she was not an expert. She acknowledges that it was a sensitive situation and also hopes that everything gets resolved soon.