Crystal Liu: Transcultural Artist Fits Perfectly As Mulan

Crystal Liu (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

In the Disney live-action movie “Mulan,” there is a brave and handsome girl who plays the title character: Crystal Liu. Many people also learn about this Chinese-American actress through this movie.

Born in China and Moves to the U.S.

Born in Wuhan, Hubei, Crystal — known by her stage name Liu Yifei — moved to the United States with his mother when she was 10 years old. Later on, she graduated from the Beijing Film Academy. Therefore, she knows about two different cultures since she was a child, so she is also a Third Culture Kid (TCK).

Liu begins transcultural movie shooting in 2008

Liu wanted to be an actress when she saw a photo album of Hollywood actors. She speaks English very fluently, and her language will not be an obstacle to her expansion into the U.S. market. Her understanding of Chinese culture has again become her characteristic in Hollywood. In 2008, Liu participated in the Hollywood movie “Kung Fu King,” a Western film based on Chinese culture. With “Mulan,” proficiency in English and martial arts made her the most suitable candidate.

Multicultural collaboration

In addition to filming in the United States, Liu also collaborates with many artists from different cultural backgrounds. For example, in January 2015, Liu collaborated with French director Dai Sijie to play the heroine Elsa in his movie “Night Peacock.” She also starred in South Korean director Lee Jae-Han’s “The Third Love.” It is fair to say that Liu’s work has international influence. She broke the cultural barriers and collaborated with artists of different cultural backgrounds to create wonderful works.

Further development as a singer

In addition to making movies, Liu also joined Sony Music Japan in 2005 and released a Japanese album. Since then, she has not only been an actor working in Eastern and Western film circles, but also a singer with international influence.

‘Mulan’ in Disney

In 1998, Disney created “Mulan,” an animated work based on traditional Chinese stories. Since then, the image of this girl has attracted a lot of attention. In order to properly integrate Chinese elements into this animated film, the team hired a large number of mainland Chinese, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwanese writers, artists, and historians to participate in the production of the film.

This animated film created by Chinese and Western experts over a period of two years earned more than US$300 million in the global box office when it was released that year. In addition to box office revenue, more importantly, it further stimulated the audience’s interest in Chinese culture. Therefore, based on the success of the previous work, Disney launched a live-action version of the “Mulan” movie.

Disney’s Mulan character can be seen at many Disney theme parks. (mydisneyadventures, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Liu’s TCK background and career

All in all, when we discuss Liu’s success as an artist, one thing that cannot be ignored is her TCK background. Thanks to her understanding of the different cultures of the East and the West, Liu has become a very successful actor and singer. At the same time, she also guides people like her to learn about different cultures through her works.


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Celebrating Cross-Cultural TCK Identity
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