My mother came back from Asia recently with a gift for me, a gorgeous jade bangle. We Chinese are big on jade bangles. You often see them on babies. I was wearing a jade bangle around my fat wrist in my first baby portraits. Jade is supposed to protect babies in their early days and when I was growing up, the practice in ma’s village was that you wouldn’t take the bangle off until it broke off by itself. Babies or toddlers will eventually bang on something and snap it off, symbolising that they no longer need the jade’s shield. In my case, ma used the broken jade fragments from the bangle to create new pieces: a pendant worn on a necklace for me and a pendant carved in the shape of the goddess Guanyin for her.
When I was 7 or 8, ma got me another jade bangle. I think it lasted a day before I split it. Then she tried again. That one didn’t last long either. Since then I’ve always admired people who can keep their jade bangles intact. Like Michelle Yeoh. You’ve probably heard about Michelle’s legendary jewellery collection and the emerald ring, her own, that she wore in Crazy Rich Asians, the one that Nick eventually gives to Rachel when he proposes. Michelle Yeoh for sure has one or two jade bangles kicking around. She wears them often, not just when she’s offset but also when she’s in character – in FIGHTING CHARACTER:
The style right now is to position the jade bangle up on the forearm. That’s how my new jade bangle, fresh from Hong Kong, is designed - to sit between my elbow and my wrist, the way Michelle is wearing it below, again in martial arts pose:
Sure, this is just for movie promotion. But I feel like Michelle Yeoh could actually make it through a fight scene with the jade bangle intact, and probably has already done it before, several times. This is a woman who was trained in the anything-goes, safety-is-secondary environment of Hong Kong action filmmaking in the 80s and 90s. The woman has been through some sh-t. And remains unbroken. Stronger than ever, in fact.
It was confirmed earlier this week that Michelle’s getting her own Star Trek spinoff, once again playing Captain Philippa Giorgiou, all of this while she’s been out there on the circuit campaigning for Crazy Rich Asians. Ang Lee recently joined her at a screening in New York:
Earlier this week, @MovingImageNYC and Academy Award winning director Ang Lee celebrated the groundbreaking career of #CrazyRichAsians star Michelle Yeoh! 🙌 (Photo: Fai Chen / Courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image) pic.twitter.com/v2DA60BT8C— Crazy Rich Asians (@CrazyRichMovie) January 10, 2019
He talked about the early days of their collaboration, how she threw herself – literally – into her roles. How beaten her body was by the action sequences. How he once had to leave set and weep for 15 minutes because he was so overcome by the pain she was in while they were shooting Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The details are included in a Vanity Fair piece published this week about Michelle, her career, the year she’s had, what a gift she is to the business.
Will it be enough to secure her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her quiet but ferocious performance as Eleanor Young in Crazy Rich Asians? She has a shot…but I doubt it. That spot is probably going to go to Claire Foy. But you’ve seen it, right? You’ve seen Crazy Rich Asians? You’ve seen the power and the vulnerability Michelle carries in that role? It definitely belongs in the conversation.
Yours in gossip,