Pride of the nation and family

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh’s family in Malaysia are practically bursting with pride over her Best Actress win at this year’s Oscars.

“I really love my daughter and she has made Malaysia proud,” said mum Datin Janet Yeoh after a special Oscar viewing party at a cinema venue here yesterday. The event was hosted by the Yeoh family, and attended by a number of local celebrities, as well as two ministers.

“I’ll call her to come back (to Malaysia) and celebrate very soon. Next month is my birthday,” said the 84-year-old Janet.

She added that the family would be celebrating Michelle’s victory until the day she returns to Malaysia.

“I’m very certain that she will be returning soon. We will be throwing a big party to celebrate this momentous occasion,” Janet said.

Michelle’s nephew Kelvin Yeoh added that the family was proud that his aunt made history at the Oscars.

“We hope she breaks more records and wins more awards. This is not the end,” Kelvin, 28, said.

Victory!: Yeoh’s family cheering while watching a live broadcast in Kuala Lumpur of Michelle receiving the best actress award in Hollywood. — YAP CHEE HONG/The StarVictory!: Yeoh’s family cheering while watching a live broadcast in Kuala Lumpur of Michelle receiving the best actress award in Hollywood. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Meanwhile, his sister Vicki Yeoh said Michelle had made Malaysia popular.

“Not many people in the world know where Malaysia is. When I was at university (in England), everybody was, ‘Where is Malaysia?’ Now, Michelle has put Malaysia on the map!” Vicki, 29, said.

Michelle has won multiple accolades for her role as a laundromat owner in the multiverse-skipping film Everything Everywhere All At Once.

On Feb 26, she nabbed the Best Actress in a Leading Role trophy at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG), making her the first Asian woman to win a leading acting award at SAG.

She also made history as the first Malaysian and second Asian woman to win Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture at the Golden Globe Awards on Jan 10.Describing Michelle as smart, hardworking and a talented actor, Janet said her daughter totally deserved the victory.

In fact, it was Janet who nudged Michelle to enter the Miss Malaysia World pageant, which led her to starring roles in Hong Kong and, eventually, Hollywood.

“She won the Oscar because she is hardworking and never gives up.

“You can see that in the way she fights in movies, the way she performs,” said Janet, who loves all of her daughter’s films, especially Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the James Bond flick Tomorrow Never Dies where Michelle played Bond girl Wai Lin.

Kelvin agreed that tenacity is one of Michelle’s biggest traits.

“The thing that she taught us since we were kids is to work hard in whatever we choose to do and to strive for perfection,” he said.

Vicki also spoke of her aunt’s advice to her.

“She taught me that whatever we do, we must have passion, the drive.

“If you fall, you will get better. You’ll learn to be better.

“Growing up, I remember watching her practising her action choreography in front of me.

“And it’s really amazing because she would do it non-stop, working on it just to make sure her performance is there, just the way the director wanted it ,” she said.

Vicki, who studied film production, added that she followed Michelle to movie sets to assist her.

“Her daily routine consists of going for fittings, script-memorising, and also test runs.

“It’s a very hectic job. It’s not as easy or as glamorous as everyone thinks it is,” she said.

Another trait of Michelle that Vicki and Kelvin admire is her dedication towards her family.

“We grew up not thinking of her as a movie star. She was like any other auntie. She’s like a mother to us as well. She’s always there for us,” Vicki said.

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