Michelle Yeoh joined & won Miss M’sia World 1983 only to shut her mother up


Fasiha Nazren |
February 6, 2023, 7:12 pm

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Many people would recognise Michelle Yeoh as an Oscar-worthy actress, having acted for almost 40 years.

Some of her better-known films include Everything Everywhere All at Once, Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Photo from Michelle Yeoh’s Instagram page.

Here’s a lesser-known fact about the 61-year-old actress: She joined Miss Malaysia World in 1983.

What you may not know, however, is that she didn’t sign up for the pageant.

In an interview with Irish host Graham Norton on The Graham Norton Show, she recounted the time she went home to Malaysia for a holiday while she was still a student at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, UK.

Once home, her mother told her that she should “go on stage more” because there are some things that you “can’t do” after the age of 21.

Michelle was puzzled, thinking: “What on earth is she on about?”

Her brother was also in cahoots with her mother, encouraging her to “try it out”.

Joined Miss Malaysia World

This “it” in question happened to be the Miss Malaysia World pageant in 1983.

It looks like Michelle didn’t really have a say, as she told the audience: “She had entered me for Miss Malaysia.”

“She actually signed the form so technically, I’m not legit,” she joked.

Her mother seemed to have good foresight because Michelle ended up winning the coveted crown.

Photo from Miss World – Malaysia Facebook page.

As Malaysia’s representative in Miss World 1983, she placed in the 18th position.

Only to shut her up

She explained that she only joined the pageant to “shut her [mother] up”.

“We had a deal. (Talking to her mother) If I do this, you are never gonna do something like this again,” she said.

A pretty good deal, might we add.

The following year, she made her debut in the film industry starring in The Owl vs Bombo.

Eventually, she catapulted to fame after sharing the limelight with Jackie Chan in movies like the Super Cop series and broke into Hollywood as a Bond Girl in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Mother knows best, as always.

Photo from Michelle Yeoh’s Instagram page.

In a tongue-in-cheek Instagram post, Michelle clarified that she “would never dare say shut up” to her mother “in a million years”… much like a lot of us Asian kids.

Photo from Michelle Yeoh’s Instagram page.

Top image from @michelleyeoh_official and screenshot from The Graham Norton Show.

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