HomeBad Ass AsiansMichelle Yeoh speaks out on representation and power

Michelle Yeoh speaks out on representation and power

By Randall Yip, AsAmNews Executive Editor

New York City– At 60, Michelle Yeoh knows what it’s like to be invisible.

She took to the stage at a summit in New York Saturday organized by The Asian American Foundation.

“The important thing is not to judge, especially women,” Yeoh urged. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re past your prime. Stand up and own it,” said the Academy Award-winning best actress.

Her role as the flawed mother and wife in Everything Everywhere All at Once catapulted her back to prominence after decades of working in the industry largely under the radar.

Considered too old for many of the decision-makers in Hollywood, Yeoh ironically came into the spotlight largely because of a young audience that fully embraced the zany sci-fi family drama and comedy.

Michelle Yeoh and creative director Phillip Lim of American Born Chinese share a laugh

“The younger generation responded to the movie,” she said. “They said ‘you see us. You hear us.'”

Yeoh came to New York to receive the Heritage Heroes Award from TAAF Friday night. A packed house made up of mostly community and corporate leaders greeted her with a standing ovation.

Yeoh described herself as humbled to receive an award before people she “considers to be real superstars.”

“Your tireless work providing resources and safe haven and providing voices battling hate is the kind of day-in and day-out heroics that make a real and enduring change in the world.”

She revealed that she suffered from stage fright as a child and continues to be challenged by that today. She overcame that fear by finding “courage in purpose and that purpose has found community…They lift us up when we fall down and keep us grounded when we float away…We are done waiting for our turn,” she said to applause.

“We are ready for our close up and we are not going back to the background.”

She urged the audience to face the challenges and rise together.

“Let’s reclaim our power and reclaim our stories.”

You can catch her entire brief, but powerful speech here.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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