Born in Malaysia to ethnic Chinese parents, Michelle began taking ballet lessons when she was very young. At fifteen she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dance in London and worked hard towards her dream of becoming a professional dancer until a severe injury ended her dancing career forever. She found a new career path a short time later when she appeared in several commercials in Hong Kong beside famous stars such as Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat. Michelle soon put her old dance training to use, learning martial arts, and very quickly became one of Hong Kong's leading action heroines. With critically lauded roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of Geisha, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Michelle is one of the most internationally renowned actors in the world today.