Michelle Yeoh at the White House. Image: Instagram via @CNNPolitics

Michelle Yeoh at the White House. Image: Instagram via @CNNPolitics

Michelle Yeoh receives the US Presidential Medal of Freedom

Michelle Yeoh, the Malaysian-born actress, received the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden.

Michelle Yeoh at the White House. Image: Instagram via @CNNPolitics

Michelle Yeoh at the White House. Image: Instagram via @CNNPolitics

Michelle Yeoh, the Malaysian-born actress renowned for her groundbreaking roles in Hollywood, has been honoured with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom by US President Joe Biden.


The ceremony, held at the White House, saw Yeoh among 19 individuals recognised for their exceptional contributions to society.

President Biden, in his characteristic style, lauded Yeoh’s achievements, as reported by The Jakarta Post.

He stated, “Over four decades and on and off the screen, Yeoh has shattered stereotypes and glass ceilings to enrich, enhance American culture.”

Yeoh’s journey to this pinnacle of recognition has been one of resilience and determination.


Refusing to conform to stereotypical roles, she faced a two-year hiatus from the industry in the late 1990s, according to People.

Recalling those challenging times, Yeoh shared, “At that point, people in the industry couldn’t really tell the difference… They would talk very loudly and very slow.”

Her breakthrough role came in the form of Wai Lin, an action-oriented Chinese spy in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

This marked the beginning of her crusade against stereotypes.


Yeoh, fluent in multiple languages, refused to be cast merely as a “pretty prop” or a “damsel in distress.”

From her early successes in Hong Kong cinema to her Hollywood triumphs, Yeoh has consistently broken barriers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Her performance in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon earned her critical acclaim and a BAFTA nomination.

Time magazine hailed her as “criminally underrated,” cementing her status as a cinematic icon.


Michelle Yeoh‘s Oscar-winning portrayal in Everything Everywhere All at Once made history, with her becoming the first Asian woman to win the Best Actress award.

In her acceptance speech, she declared, “This is proof that … dream big, and dreams do come true.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom adds another jewel to Yeoh’s illustrious career.

President Biden, albeit momentarily flubbing her name, presented the medal to Yeoh. He praised her for transcending cultural boundaries and inspiring generations.


Michelle Yeoh joins a distinguished list of honorees.

These include civil rights icon Medgar Evers and astronaut Ellen Ochoa.

The diversity of the recipients reflects the ethos of inclusivity championed by the Biden administration.

As Yeoh gracefully accepted the medal, she epitomised the spirit of resilience and excellence.


Her journey from Ipoh to Hollywood serves as a beacon of hope for aspiring artists worldwide.

In her own words, “For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities.”

The ceremony concluded with a standing ovation, a fitting tribute to Yeoh’s indomitable spirit and her transformative impact on the world of cinema.

As she continues to break barriers and inspire millions, Michelle Yeoh stands as a testament to the power of perseverance and passion.