People Staff
May 14, 2001 12:00 PM


AGE: 22

HEIGHT: 5’5″



BIG BREAK: Role of kickboxing aristocrat Jen Yu in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

BEAUTY SECRET: Sleep. “There’s a saying in China. Men should eat and women should sleep. I try to get eight hours every night.”

RESUME: Raised by an economist father and kindergarten teacher mother, Zhang attended Beijing’s Central Academy of Drama for a year and began her acting career in the 1999 Chinese drama The Road Home. Next she stars opposite Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 2, due in August.

STAYING FIT: Making action movies means less time at the gym. “I really get my exercise during the fight scenes,” she says.

EFFECT ON OTHERS: “She’s sexy and she’s innocent, and beneath her exterior there’s something untamable,” says Crouching Tiger director Ang Lee. “In real life she is the hidden dragon.” Adds Rush Hour 2 director Brett Ratner: “To me, she is the Audrey Hepburn of Asia.”

WORDS TO LIVE BY: “In China,” Zhang says, “we don’t consider someone truly beautiful until we have known them for a long time, and we know what’s underneath the skin.”

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