Following the success of live action adaptations of beloved animations from our childhood — like Maleficent, Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast, and the soon to be released Aladdin — Mulan is set to tear up the big screen next year with a star studded cast of the best in Chinese cinema.
And playing the titular role of the famous fabled Chinese heroine, is actress Liu Yifei (aka Crystal Liu) from China, who beat over a THOUSAND Chinese actresses to land herself that iconic feminist icon that we know so much and love.
Touted as the next big Hollywood production to boast an all-Asian cast — lest we forget the The Joy Luck Club in 1993 and, of course, 2018's iconic blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians (one of the two highest grossing films that changed Western cinema) — Mulan also stars Jet Li, Donnie Yen (who plays Mulan's mentor in the military) and Chinese cinematic treasure, Gong Li (who plays the female antagonist in the film).
Telling the tale of a young girl who sacrifices more than her hair for filial piety, this retelling also pays extra attention and specifically focuses on the cultural authenticity of the woman that chose to go to battle in her ailing father's place, dressed as a man — big shoes for Liu to fill.
Here, we find out three things about the ravishing Chinese actress that will surely bring honour to us all.
1. WARRIOR QUEEN OF QUEENS
Raised by a single mother since she was ten, Liu Yifei moved to New York, and the mother and daughter pair lived in the borough of Queens, where she attended middle school.
Liu then left the Big Apple to enrol at the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy after five years at the age of 15, before she found fame in films that exposed her to intense martial arts like 2008's The Forbidden Kingdom — opposite Jackie Chan — skills that will no doubt come in handy for Liu in Mulan.
2. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
OK, we just want to boast about Liu Yifei's impressive gene pool right now.
Liu's mother is a professional dancer and was an ensemble cast with a renowned performance troupe in her native place of birth, in Wuhan.
And Liu's father taught French Language and Culture at Wuhan University, where he was a professor, before joining the diplomatic corps when Liu was just a teen to work at the Chinese embassy in Paris. He is currently the Dean of The Confucius Institute at Paris Diderot University.
3. CRAZY ABOUT CATS
Between posting pictures of herself on location for the filming of Mulan — in where we believe is Urumqi, in the picturesque Chinese city of Xinjiang — Liu Yifei's Instagram feed is filled with pictures of furry little felines!
And it is reported by the South China Morning Post that the Chinese actress loves pussies so much that she often provides sanctuary for strays, and had more than 30 cats living in her house at one point. Oh my, talk about a full house, huh!