Asian women have been a force to be reckoned with for decades, but they are only recently gaining recognition. These Asian women hail from different parts of Asia, but they all share various things in common such as influence, beauty, and success.
If you want to learn more about these beautiful Asian women and their achievements, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive in…
- 1. Michelle Yeoh
- 2. Sandra Oh
- 3. Brenda Song
- 4. Simone Ashley
- 5. Lucy Liu
- 6. Constance Wu
- 7. Aishwarya Rai
- 8. Gemma Chan
- 9. Priyanka Chopra
- 10. Liu Yifei
- 11. Claudia Kim
- 12. HoYeon Jung
- 13. Freida Pinto
- 14. Ellen Wong
- 15. Lana Condor
- 16. Christine Ko
- 17. Natasha Liu Bordizzo
- 18. Sydney Park
- 19. Stephanie Hsu
- 20. Leah Lewis
- 21. Li Jun Li
- 22. Awkwafina
- 23. Arden Cho
- 24. Park So-Dam
- 25. Anna Akana
- 26. Naomi Scott
- 27. Jessika Van
- 28. Jenna Ushkowitz
- 29. Zhang Ziyi
- 30. Gong Li
- 31. Nikki SooHoo
- 32. Hayley Kiyoko
- 33. Kelly Hu
- 34. Mindy Kaling
- 35. Jamie Chung
- 36. Deepika Padukone
- 37. Bae Doona
- 38. Tina Desai
- 39. Jameela Jamil
1. Michelle Yeoh
Net worth: US$40 million
Michelle Yeoh is a Malaysian actress who rose to prominence in the 1990s due to her roles in various action movies. Some of her best-known early works include Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Her role in the latter earned her a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress.
Although Yeoh has been in various action movies, she is not a martial artist. She is actually a skilled dancer and uses dance moves to practice her stunts.
She has also appeared in many popular movies such as Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), and Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022).
2. Sandra Oh
Net worth: US$25 million
Many know Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang on the ABC TV series Grey’s Anatomy (2005-2014). She is a Canadian-American actress with numerous awards and accolades, including two Golden Globe Awards among various others.
Before joining Grey’s Anatomy, Oh gained popularity for her roles in films like Double Happiness (1994). She also voiced various characters in shows such as Phineas and Ferb and Invincible. Most recently, Oh voiced Ming Lee, the mother of the protagonist, in the animated movie Turning Red (2022).
3. Brenda Song
Net worth: US$5 million
Brenda Song is an American actress who gained fame with her role as London Tipton on the Disney TV series The Suite Life (2005–2011). Song started her career as a child model and starred in various Disney and Nickelodeon projects, such as 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd (1999-2002), Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (2006), and Get A Clue (2002).
Song made a transition to adult roles in 2010 with The Social Network. Since then, she has starred in Scandal (2012–2013), New Girl (2011-2018), Pure Genius (2016-2017), and Dollface (2019-2022).
In 2017, Song started dating Macaulay Culkin. The pair are still together and have a son.
4. Simone Ashley
Net worth: US$3 million
Simone Ashley is an Indian-British actress best known for her role as Kathani in Bridgerton (2022-Present) and as Olivia in Sex Education (2019-2021). Before being cast in Sex Education, Ashley’s first role was in Wolfblood (2012-2017).
Simone was born to Indian parents who migrated to the UK. Despite having a family full of academics, she gravitated toward the arts from a young age. She received training in acting from the Arts Educational School in West London.
5. Lucy Liu
Net worth: US$15 million
Lucy Liu is an American actress, producer, director, and the recipient of several awards and accolades. Her earliest roles include Amy Lee in Pearl (1996-1997) and Ling Woo in Ally McBeal (1998–2002). Liu’s most notable role is Alex Munday in Charlie’s Angels (2000) and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003).
Aside from acting, Liu is also an artist and has had several gallery shows over the years. One of her paintings was featured in Montblanc’s Cutting Edge Art Collection and shown during Art Basel Miami in 2008.
Liu is also involved in various charitable causes. She is an advocate for marriage equality and has donated to the UNICEF various times.
6. Constance Wu
Net worth: US$6 million
Constance Wu is an American actress of Taiwanese heritage. Her most notable role was Jessica Huang in the ABC TV series Fresh Off the Boat (2015–2020). The role garnered media attention and earned Wu four nominations.
Wu’s performance in Crazy Rich Asians (2018) was also applauded and received critical acclaim. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and Screen Guild Award. Most recently, Wu starred in the film Hustlers (2019) alongside Jennifer Lopez and Keke Palmer.
7. Aishwarya Rai
Net worth: US$100 million
Aishwarya Rai is an Indian actress who won the Miss World pageant in 1994. Rai is one of the most popular celebrities in India and a frequent name in local magazines’ list of “most beautiful women.” She has been in various popular Indian movies, such as Jeans (1998) and Devdas (2002).
Aishwarya is truly one of the most beautiful and influential Asian women in the world. In 2003, she became the first Indian actress to serve on the jury for the Cannes Film Festival, and in 2004, she was the sixth Indian person to have a wax statue at Madame Tussaud’s Museum.
8. Gemma Chan
Net worth: US$6 million
Gemma Chan is an English actress of Chinese-Scottish heritage. Chan joined the Drama Centre London to pursue a career in acting during her later years. Soon after, she was cast in supporting roles in various popular shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock.
Chan mostly had minor roles until her role as Mia in Humans (2015-2018), which garnered praise and attention. This led to leading roles in Crazy Rich Asians (2018) and Mary Queen of Scots (2018). Chan also starred in two MCU movies, including Captain Marvel (2019) and the leading role of Sersi in Eternals (2021).
9. Priyanka Chopra
Net worth: US$70 million
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’ romance had everyone swooning when the couple married in 2018, but Chopra has many other accomplishments under her belt. She is a successful Indian actress and has been in numerous Indian box-office hits. She won the Miss World pageant in 2000 and established herself as one of the highest-paid actresses in India.
To date, Chopra’s roles in Andaaz (2003), Barfi! (2012), Bajirao Mastani (2015) are considered some of her best performances. She has also worked in Hollywood with roles in Baywatch (2017), The White Tiger (2021), and The Matrix Resurrections (2021).
Aside from acting, Priyanka Chopra is an advocate for social issues such as climate change and gender inequality. She has worked with UNICEF since 2006.
10. Liu Yifei
Net worth: US$10 million
Liu Yifei, whose real name is Crystal Liu, is a Chinese-American actress, model, and singer. She is one of the most popular actresses in China, often referred to as the “Fairy Sister.” She has appeared in various Chinese shows such as Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (2003) and Chinese Paladin (2005).
In 2020, Yifei gained worldwide stardom after starring in Disney’s live-action Mulan. The role garnered critical acclaim and earned her several awards and nominations.
Aside from acting, Yifei also released her debut album Liu Yifei in 2006.
11. Claudia Kim
Net worth: US$3 million
Claudia Kim is a South Korean actress with roles in various Hollywood movies. Kim was born in South Korea but spent nearly six years of her childhood in the United States. In high school, Kim dreamed of becoming a TV anchor and joined Ewha Womans University.
Although Kim had a successful career as a reporter, she wanted to experiment with the arts. In 2005, she participated in a Korea-China modeling competition and won. Soon after, she starred in Queen of The Game (2005-2006), Marco Polo (2014-2016), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018).
12. HoYeon Jung
Net worth: US$4 million
HoYeon Jung is a South Korean model and actress best known for her role as Kang Sae-byeok in Squid Game (2021-Present). Jung began her modeling career in 2010, walking the runway for various brands during Seoul Fashion Week.
After being placed as the runner-up in Korea’s Next Top Model, Jung pursued a career overseas and made her debut for Louis Vuitton during New York Fashion Week. She also walked the runway for Miu Miu, Chanel, Tory Burch, and Zuhair Murrad to name a few.
Most recently, she appeared in the music video for The Weeknd’s Out Of Time (2022).
13. Freida Pinto
Net worth: US$14 million
Freida Pinto is an Indian actress with roles in various American and British films and TV shows. She had a passion for acting from a young age and participated in various amateur plays in high school.
Pinto rose to prominence when she made her debut in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) which garnered critical acclaim and earned her many nominations. Soon after, she also starred in the sci-fi film Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Trishna (2011), leading to more recognition and praise.
Pinto’s other notable roles include performances in Immortals (2011), Desert Dancer (2014), and Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018).
14. Ellen Wong
Net worth: US$0.6 million
Ellen Wong is a Canadian actress of Chinese-Cambodian heritage who rose to prominence with her role as Knives Chau in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). While attending high school, Wong began acting in community theatre to hone her acting skills.
Wong made her TV debut in 2005 on This Is Wonderland. Since then, she had leading roles in the CW series The Carrie Diaries (2013-2014) and the Netflix series GLOW (2017-2019).
Most recently, Wong starred in The Christmas Setup (2020) and the comedy film Bestsellers (2021).
15. Lana Condor
Net worth: US$4 million
Lana Condor is an American actress, producer, and singer of Vietnamese heritage. Condor made her film debut starring as Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). Soon after, her role as Lara Jean in the To All The Boys film series (2018-2021) earned her international fame and recognition.
In 2019, Condor appeared in the first season of Deadly Class (2018-2019) but the show did not get renewed for a second season.
Aside from acting, Condor created her own YouTube channel in 2020. Her channel currently has 845K subscribers.
16. Christine Ko
Net worth: US$0.6 million
Christine Ko is a Taiwanese-American actress with a successful career in America. She briefly worked as an actress in Taiwan in the 2010s but chose to relocate to the United States for more acting opportunities. Although Ko has no formal training in acting, her performances have earned her much fame and recognition.
Ko’s most notable roles include Emma in The Great Indoors (2016-2017) and Mandy in Upload (2020-Present). While Ko’s role in The Great Indoors was intended for a blonde woman, her audition earned her the role. She currently stars in the series Dave (2020-Present).
17. Natasha Liu Bordizzo
Net worth: US$3 million
Natasha Liu Bordizzo is an Australian actress and model of Chinese-Italian descent. Her most notable role is her debut as Snow Chase in the Netflix film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016). Although it was her first-ever audition, Bordizzo was still chosen for the role.
Bordizzo is a skilled martial artist with a black-black belt in taekwondo and Kenpō karate training. Despite that, she trained intensively for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016).
Aside from action movies, she has also starred in the musical film The Greatest Showman (2017) and The Voyeurs (2021).
18. Sydney Park
Net worth: US$3.8 million
Sydney Park is an American actress and comedian of African, American, and Korean heritage. Park started her career in 2003 and was the youngest comedian to ever perform at The Improv. In 2006, Park made her TV debut in That’s So Raven (2003-2007) after dropping out of America’s Got Talent. With an early start in the industry, Park honed her skills meticulously unlike others.
Her most notable roles include Cyndie in The Walking Dead (2010-2022), Makani Young in the film There’s Someone Inside Your House (2021), and Caitlin Park-Lewis in Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists (2019).
19. Stephanie Hsu
Net worth: US$4 million
Stephanie Hsu is an American actress of Chinese descent. Hsu received training in theatre long before she started taking on roles. Her career began with regular appearances on MTV’s Girl Code (2013-2015) and soon after, she had a recurring role in The Path (2016-2018).
Before achieving popularity as a film and TV actress, Hsu also performed on Broadway and received various nominations. Most recently, Hsu starred as Mei Lin in the third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2019-Present) and the film Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022).
20. Leah Lewis
Leah Lewis is an American actress best known for her role as Ellie Chu in the Netflix film Half of It (2020). Lewis began her career as a child actress and has many projects under her belt at the young age of 25. She and her biological sister were both adopted from an orphanage in Shanghai, China.
Lewis began her career by starring in numerous commercials. She also made an appearance on the fourth season of The Voice but unfortunately did not make it into the show. Aside from acting, Lewis sings, plays the guitar, and is a photographer.
21. Li Jun Li
Li Jun Li is an American actress best known for her role as Jenny Wah in the Netflix series Wu Assassins (2019). Originally from China and born in Shanghai, Li and her father shifted to Colombia when she was only six years old.
She made her acting debut alongside Mathew Morrison in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific (2008). From then onwards, her career took off and she landed roles in several different TV shows and feature-length films. Most recently, Li was cast as Anna May Wong in the upcoming film Babylon.
Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, is an American actress, rapper, and comedian. She rose to prominence in 2012 with a single and went on to release two albums, Yellow Ranger (2014) and In Fina We Trust (2018).
Aside from music, Awkwafina has had a prolific acting career with supporting roles in Crazy Rich Asians (2018) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019). Her most well-known role is her performance in The Farewell (2019), for which she won a Golden Globe Award.
23. Arden Cho
Arden Lim Cho is an American actress, model, and singer who rose to prominence for playing Kira Yukimura on Teen Wolf (2011-2017). Cho was born in Texas to Korean-American parents and often speaks about her experiences with childhood bullying.
Quite a talented person, Cho can perform ballet and play various musical instruments. Despite that, she has struggled to find many acting roles. Her modeling career has seen more success, with appearances in Vogue and Nylon magazine. Most recently, Cho became the CEO of Leonard & Church in 2019 but the company closed shop in 2020.
24. Park So-Dam
Park So-Dam is a South Korean actress who rose to prominence for her role in the critically acclaimed Korean film Parasite (2019). Park developed a passion for acting at an early age when she watched Grease for the first time. Known for her work in various independent films, So-Dam is a well-known performer in Korea.
Although Parasite (2019) skyrocketed Park So-Dam’s career to new heights, she was a well-established performer before her role in the movies. She has starred in numerous popular Korean shows and movies, such as The Silenced (2015), The Priests (2015), and Cinderella with Four Knights (2016).
25. Anna Akana
Anna Akana is an American actress, YouTube star, filmmaker, and music artist. Akana is a vocal advocate for suicide prevention and the pro-choice movement. In 2007, Akana’s younger sister committed suicide. This event changed Akana forever and she has been vocal about her struggles.
She started her YouTube channel in 2014 where she would upload comedic or documentary-style short films. She has also released a clothing line and starred in films like Ant-Man (2015). Akana currently has 2.8 million subscribers on her YouTube channel.
26. Naomi Scott
Naomi Scott is an English actress and singer of English-Indian descent. She rose to prominence in 2011 with her performance on Lemonade Mouth and the science fiction series Terra Nova.
Scott’s most well-known role is Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action musical film Aladdin (2019). Her performance earned her a Saturn Award nomination and a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress. In particular, Scott’s performance of Speechless garnered much praise.
Scott’s next big role came in the same years when she starred in Charlie’s Angels (2019) alongside Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinksa.
27. Jessika Van
Jessika Van is an American actress, musician, and dancer. Van’s best-known performance is her role as “Becca” in the second and third seasons of the MTV series Awkward (2011-2016). Another of Van’s well-known roles is her appearance in the Rush Hour TV series (2016) as Agent Kim.
Van’s first memorable performance was in the comedy film Foreign Exchange (2008) where she starred alongside Jennifer Coolidge. Aside from acting, Van has a passion for music and is a classically trained pianist and violinist.
28. Jenna Ushkowitz
Jenna Ushkowitz is a South Korean-American actress, producer, singer, and podcast host. Jenna was adopted at three months and raised in East Meadow, New York. She started her career at an early age, appearing in various print advertisements and TV commercials. In high school, she starred in various plays and musicals.
Ushkowitz made her Broadway debut in The King & I (1996). her most well-known role came more than a decade later when she was cast as Tina Cohen-Chang on Glee (2009-2015). Ushkowitz is also an advocate for marriage equality and ocean conservation.
29. Zhang Ziyi
Zhang Ziyi is a Chinese actress and model, often regarded as one of the most bankable actresses in China. She first appeared in The Road Home (1999) but rose to prominence with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Zhang Ziyi has consistently ranked in the Top 5 of Forbes China Celebrity 100 list from 2004 to 2010.
Ziyi’s most memorable performance was in Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), which earned her nominations for the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. In 2013, Ziyi appeared in The Grandmaster and won 12 different Best Actress awards.
30. Gong Li
Gong Li is a Chinese actress best known for her work with director Zhang Yimou. She debuted in his Red Sorghum (1987) and the pair soon began dating. While their romance received much media attention, it was their work together than propelled them to international recognition.
Li starred in various critically acclaimed movies directed by Zhang, such as Ju Dou (1990), Raise the Red Lantern (1991), and The Story of Qiu Ju (1992). Her notable performances include roles in Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Mulan (2020), and Leap (2020).
31. Nikki SooHoo
Nicole SooHoo, better known as Nikki SooHoo, is a Chinese-American actress who rose to prominence for her role as Wei Wei in Stick It (2006). She also appeared in the Disney channel TV series Phil of The Future as Fiona Larky.
SooHoo’s other notable roles include Denise “Holly” Le Ang in The Lovely Bones (2009) and Bring It On: Fight to the Finish (2009). Aside from acting, SooHoo is very athletic and trains traditional kung fu and wushu.
32. Hayley Kiyoko
Hayley Kiyoko is an American music artist, actress, and dancer. Kiyoko received dance lessons as a child and developed an interest in entertaining. This led to appearances in Lemonade Mouth (2011), Jem and the Holograms (2015), and a lead role in the TV series CSI: Cyber (2015-2016).
Aside from acting, Kiyoko has also had a successful music career. She released her debut album Expectations in 2018 after several singles and extended plays.
33. Kelly Hu
Kelly Hu is an American actress and former model. She won two beauty pageants, Miss Teen USA 1985 and Miss Hawaii USA 1983. Hu had an interest in singing, dancing, and martial arts from a young age. After winning the pageants, Hu went on to model in Japan and Italy and soon became the face of Philadelphia brand cream cheese after appearing in several commercials.
In 1987, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career. She starred as Michelle Chan in Nash Bridges (1996-2001), as Pearl in The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017), and as China White on Arrow (2012-2020). She has also starred in the films Yuriko Oyama / Lady Deathstrike (2003) and White Frog (2012).
34. Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling is an American actress, comedian, writer, director, and producer. She rose to prominence for starring as Kelly Kapoor in The Office (2005-2013). She also served as a writer, executive producer, and director on the series. In 2012, Kaling achieved even greater fame with the comedy series The Mindy Project (2012-2017).
Kaling has also appeared in various comedy films, including The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), The Five-Year Engagement (2012), and Late Night (2019). Mindy is the author of two New York Times best sellers.
35. Jamie Chung
Jamie Chung is an American actress of Korean-American descent. She began her career as a reality TV personality with appearances in The Real World: San Diego (2004) and Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II (2005). She made a transition to acting and had her first major role in the miniseries Samurai Girl (2008).
Since then, Chung gained success after success due to her hard work. She starred in Sucker Punch (2011), Premium Rush (2012), and Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015). In 2020, Chung received her most critically acclaimed role in Lovecraft Country (2020).
36. Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone is an Indian actress and one of the biggest celebrities in her home country. Known for not just her beauty but her acting roles in various popular movies, Deepika is also involved in multiple charitable causes. In 2017, Padukone achieved worldwide recognition with her role in the film XXX: Return of Xander Cage.
Aside from acting, Deepika is the founder of the Live Laugh Love Foundation which creates awareness about mental health and societal issues.
37. Bae Doona
Bae Doona is a South Korean actress and photographer. Doona is best known for her work in Korean thriller films, including Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and The Host (2006).
When it comes to Hollywood, Doona has frequently collaborated with the Wachowskis. She starred in Cloud Atlas (2012) and Jupiter Ascending (2015). Her most well-known role is Sun in the science fiction TV series Sense8 (2015-2018). most recently, Bae Doona starred in the Netflix series The Silent Sea (2021-Present).
38. Tina Desai
Tina Desai is an Indian actress who has appeared in various Indian and international projects. Desai began her career as a model, appearing in over 150 print advertisements and commercials. In 2004, she participated in the Indian reality TV show Get Gorgeous and was offered a contract with a prominent modeling agency.
Desai made her Hollywood acting debut with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) and also starred in its 2015 sequel. She gained worldwide recognition for her role as Kala Dankedar in Sense8 (2015-2018).
39. Jameela Jamil
Jameela Jamil is an English actress and presenter known for her social media activism. She started her career on Channel 4 in 2009 and has worked with BBC Radio 1. Jamil is best known for starring as Tahani Al-Jamil in the NBC series The Good Place (2016-2020) and as the host of the late-night game show, The Misery Index (2019-Present).
Jamil is one of the most vocal and outspoken advocates for women’s rights and body positivity. She has frequently been highlighted for bringing light to the “hypocrisy of the Kardashians.” Jamil has frequently brought attention to the Kardashians’ questionable endorsements such as slimming teas and appetite suppressant lollipops.
Aside from these endeavors, Jamil has received various honors and is involved in multiple charitable causes.