Zhang Ziyi (born 9 February 1979), sometimes credited as Ziyi Zhang, is a Chinese film actress and model. Chinese media have called her one of the Four Dan Actresses (四大花旦) in China’s film industry, along with Zhao Wei, Xu Jinglei and Zhou Xun.
Her first major role was in The Road Home (1999). She achieved fame in the West after leading roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Rush Hour 2 (2001), House of Flying Daggers (2004), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). She has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards and a Golden Globe Award.
Zhang was born and raised in Beijing, China. Zhang began studying dance when she was 8 years old; subsequently, she joined the Beijing Dance Academy by her parents’ suggestion at the age of 11.While at this boarding school, she noticed how mean the other girls were to each other while competing for status amongst the teachers. Zhang disliked the attitudes of her peers and teachers so much that, on one occasion, she ran away from the school. At the age of 15, Zhang won the national youth dance championship and began appearing in television commercials in Hong Kong.