Zhang Ziyi

A delicately beautiful Chinese actress, Ziyi Zhang first caught the attention of filmgoers at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival with her debut performance as a young girl who falls in love with a schoolteacher in director Zhang Yimou's acclaimed drama, "The Road Home" (1999). Her strong performance and the rumors of a romance with Yimou led many Asian journalists to dub the newcomer "little Gong Li," after the director's former leading lady, whom he helped raise to prominence in the United States. Within months, she enjoyed a further career boost when the martial arts romance "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000) premiered at Cannes. Her performance as the headstrong Jen Wu, a sheltered aristocrat with a taste for adventure, anchored the movie and demonstrated her astonishing range, while stealing the thunder from stars Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat. Already one of the biggest stars in China - and the frequent subject of many tabloids in her native land - Zhang reached mainstream success in America with "Memoirs of a Geisha" (2005), a role that earned her widespread critical acclaim and the rare opportunity to become a high-profile Chinese actress in the United States.