Michelle Yeoh reveals she won Miss Malaysia to ‘shut her mother up’

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Michelle Yeoh revealed that she entered and won the Miss Malaysia beauty contest in 1983 to “shut her mother up.”

In an interview on “The Graham Norton Show” on Feb. 3, Yeoh recalled how her mother, Janet, signed her up for the beauty pageant when she was in her early 20s.

The “Everything Everywhere All at Once” actor, 60, recounted coming home for the holidays from England when she was 21 years old to find her mother was “suddenly looped into this whole thing about” how she should be on stage more.

I’m thinking, "What on earth is she on about?" Next thing I knew, my brother – she looped my brother into doing [the same], he was like, "Yeah, yeah, you should try that." She had entered me for Miss Malaysia. She actually signed the form, so technically, I’m not legit.

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As Yeoh laughed along with the audience, host Norton said, “But you’d think, ‘Oh, terrible thing to do’, but – you won!”

“I did it to shut her up. Because she wouldn’t stop about it, so we had a deal. If I do this, you will never do something like this again,” Yeoh replied.

In the interview, Yeoh also spoke about how her strict mother would chaperone her dates when she was a teenager.

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Now, you have to remember moms are very protective, right, for all the right reasons. She always went on a date. Always, until I went to England to study. I don’t even know why she let me go to England.

The Golden Globes Best Actress winner also recounted an awkward moment when she sat between her mother and the boy she was on a date with when she was 17 years old.

I suddenly realized, "Why are there two hands on my leg?" So, it was his hand on my mom’s hand. He was holding the hand he thought was mine, and then I looked at it and go like, "Excuse me, guys."

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Yeoh, who was notably praised for her recent work in films “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” was named Time magazine’s Icon of the Year in 2022 and became the first Asian to win National Board of Review Award for Best Actress in its 45-year history.

The actor was recently nominated for Best Actress in the 2023 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards and for the 95th Academy Awards.


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