Yang Mi (born 12 September 1986) is a Chinese actress and singer. She made her acting debut in historical television series Tang Ming Huang, and later received acclaim for her leading roles in various television dramas and movies such as The Return of the Condor Heroes (2006), Chinese Paladin 3 (2009), Palace (2011) and Tiny Times (2013–2015), The Breakup Guru (2014), Swords of Legends (2014) and Dear Translator (2016). Yang is one of the New Four Dan Actresses in mainland China.
Yang Mi was born to a police officer and a housewife. She was given name “幂” (exponentiation) because her parents are both surnamed Yang. The China Children’s Film Studio held a children’s television show training course and her parents signed her up for it. She graduated from the now-defunct Beijing Xuanwu Experimental Primary School. Yang is also a student of Beijing Film Academy’s Performance Institute.
In 1990, at the age of four, Yang made her acting debut in the historical television series Tang Ming Huang directed by Chen Jialin, playing the role of a young Princess Xianning. Two years later, she starred in the television series Hou Wa, which won the 14th Flying Goddess Award and 12th Golden Eagle Award for Best Children’s Television Series. She also had a minor role as Beggar So’s daughter in King of Beggars (1992), which starred Stephen Chow as the titular character.
In the early 2000s, Yang rose to fame for her roles in television series such as Strange Tales of Liao Zhai (2005), The Return of the Condor Heroes (2006) and Wang Zhaojun (2007). She gained more popularity after starring in popular wuxia-fantasy drama Chinese Paladin 3 (2009). The television series was broadcast on four major TV channels and garnered a strong audience following.
In 2010, she starred in The Dream of Red Mansions. Although her role was minor, she received praises for her acting performance. She then starred in the big-budget historical fiction television drama Beauty’s Rival in Palace. The series premièred on a Shanghai TV station in March 2010 with the highest rating of the year, which further boosted her acting acclaim.
Yang’s breakthrough role was the time-travelling protagonist Luo Qingchuan in Palace. The series became a commercial hit, placing first in its ratings slot nationally, and gained one of the highest viewership ratings of the year; online views also went on to surpass the 100 million mark. The success of the drama brought Yang mainstream popularity, and she won the Magnolia Award for Most Popular Actress at the 17th Shanghai Television Festival. The theme song sung by Yang, titled “In support of the love (爱的供养)”, also became very popular and won Best Theme Song at the 6th Huading Awards.
The same year, she starred in the horror film Mysterious Island. The movie broke box office records to become the most successful horror film in China, and Yang won Most Popular Film Actress at the 2011 Grand Ceremony. Mei Ah Entertainment announced that it will be producing four tailored-made films (Wu Dang, Chinese Princess Turandot, Windseeker, and Butterfly Cemetery) for Yang with a total investment of 300 million yuan for the four films due to the box office success of Mysterious Island.
In 2012, Yang set up her personal studio. She then released her first solo album Close to Me.
The year 2012 was also a transition year for Yang. In order to break out of her usual roles in the historical genres, Yang starred in modern drama Beijing Love Story, which won her Most Popular Actress at the 26th China TV Golden Eagle Award. She also starred in the romantic comedy Holding Love alongside Hawick Lau. The movie was released on the day of Qixi Festival, also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, and topped box office charts.
Due to her popularity, she landed a role in Painted Skin: The Resurrection, a sequel to Gordon Chan’s 2008 box office hit Painted Skin. The film grossed over 700 million yuan to become one of the highest grossing Chinese film of all-time. In recognition of her box office appeal, Yang was named the Film Actress with the Most Commercial Value at the 2nd LeTV Awards.
In January 2013, Yang collaborated with H&R Century Pictures to produce the drama series The Micro Era of Love, also known as the Chinese version of the Gossip Girls. Yang was awarded Best Producer at the 2013 Asian Idol Awards. The series was released in 2014 and stars Yang as the main character.
The same year, she reunited with Hawick Lau in his first self-produced drama A Clear Midsummer Night. Upon its premiere, it quickly became popular with the audience, becoming the first drama in 2013 to surpass 100 million views.
Yang then starred as the female protagonist Lin Xiao in the Chinese drama film series Tiny Times, based on Guo Jingming’s best-selling novel of the same name. The first installment of the film was released in 2013, and immediately became a commercial hit. The second installment was released in the same year, with subsequent films released in 2014 and 2015. Overall, the Tiny Times is one of the most successful local franchise in mainland China.
Following Yang’s success in 2013, she ranked #1 on 2014’s Top 100 most buzzed about stars in China and #7 in Forbes China Celebrity 100.
In 2014, Yang starred in Deng Chao’s self-directed film The Breakup Guru. The romantic comedy was a huge commercial success, and along with Yang’s other film Tiny Times 3, grossed more than 1 billion RMB in a month.
Yang then returned to television, starring in the xianxia drama Swords of Legends. The series captured the first-place spot among TV show ratings and online views surpassed a billion; cementing Yang’s status as a rating queen in television series. She ranked #6 in Forbes China Celebrity 100 that year.
Yang starred in numerous films in 2015. First, she starred in You Are My Sunshine, based on the popular novel Silent Separation written by Gu Man; alongside Huang Xiaoming and Angelababy. The film opened in China on April 30, 2015 and earned 6.7 million admissions in its opening weekend, debuting at number two at the Chinese box office.
She then starred in suspense crime drama The Witness, a remake of the hit Korean film Blind, in which plays a blind woman for the first time; and the romance film Fall in Love Like a Star, where she plays an agent who falls in love with a famous celebrity (played by Li Yifeng).
In December, Yang started filming for the science fiction action movie Fatal Countdown: Reset, produced by Jackie Chan.
In January 2016, Yang was cast in Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, adapted from the xianxia novel of the same name by TangQi Gongzi. In April 2016, she started filming for the wuxia film Brotherhood of Blades.
In June, workplace romance drama Dear Translator starring Yang and actor Huang Xuan premiered on Hunan TV. This marks her first appearance on TV after her childbirth. Dear Translator immediately attracted a large audience following, reaching viewership ratings as high as 2%, which is a huge success in China. It also acquired a national viewer rating share of 6.87%, and subsequently topped 2016’s overall market share for the first half of the year.
In September, Yang reunited with Tiny Times director Guo Jingming, starring in the film L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties. She also became a cast member of Hunan TV’s military variety show Takes a Real Man 2.
In October, it was announced that Yang would star in the spin-off of Dear Translator, titled The Negotiator alongside Huang Zitao. She has also been cast in the historical drama, Legend of Fu Yao.
In early 2012, Yang Mi revealed her relationship with an Hong Kong actor-singer Hawick Lau through her Weibo. Then on November 11, 2013 she announced their engagement.Yang Mi and Hawick Lau were married in Bali, Indonesia on January 8, 2014. She gave birth to their daughter, nicknamed Little Sticky Rice (小糯米) in June 2014 in Hong Kong. She has since gone back to her acting career as well as established her own agency.