Liu Yifei (born August 25, 1987, also known as Crystal Liu, is a Chinese actress, model, dancer and singer. Her legal name is Liu Ximeizi. The “茜” (Xi) is from the German film Sissi (Chinese translation 茜茜公主—hence the pronunciation of xi not qian; her mother calls her Xixi).
Early life and education
Liu was born in Tongji Hospital in Hubei, she was originally named An Feng. She is the only child of An Shaokang (安少康), a 1st Secretary in the Chinese Embassy in France and French language university professor, and Liu Xiaoli (刘晓莉), a dancer and a stage performer. Her parents divorced when she was 7 years old and she was raised solely by her mother. That same year, she changed her name to Liu Ximeizi and began modelling, along with training in singing, dancing and playing the piano. She is very close to Chen Jinfei (陈金飞), her godfather.
When she was 11 years old, Liu and her mother moved to New York City, where she attended Louis Pasteur Middle School 67. Returning to China in 2002 to pursue an acting career, she began to be known as Liu Yifei (刘亦菲). Several weeks later, Liu was accepted into the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy at the age of 15, where she graduated from in 2006.
Immediately following her admittance into Beijing Film Academy, Liu received offers to star in various television drama serials. Her first role on television was in The Story of a Noble Family. Shortly after, she was chosen to play the role of Wang Yuyan in Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, an adaptation of Louis Cha’s novel of the same title. Initially, Liu Tao was selected for the role of Wang Yuyan but it went to Liu Yifei eventually and Liu Tao was cast as A’zhu instead.
In 2005, Liu starred as Zhao Ling’er in Chinese Paladin, an adaptation of the action RPG The Legend of Sword and Fairy. The following year, she starred in The Return of the Condor Heroes, a television series adapted from Louis Cha’s novel of the same title. After intense speculation on who would play Xiaolongnü, the role was finally offered to her. She was backed by Cha, who felt that she had all the necessary qualities to play the role of the young and innocent female protagonist. Although the drama serials she has acted in were well-received, the films she starred in did poorly in terms of box office earnings with the exception of The Forbidden Kingdom.
Liu appeared in Jimmy Lin’s music video of the song “I Am Still Waiting For You” (我还在等你) from his 2006 album Can’t Stop Me (挡不住我). She has also previously co-starred with him in Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils and The Love Winner. Liu also attended one of Lin’s concerts as a guest, and in turn, he appeared at her birthday party in 2005. In conjunction with her acting career, Liu obtained a recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment Japan in August 2005. She has started studying singing and dancing in Japan since then. She released her first single “Mayonaka no Door” with Sony Music on July 19, 2006. Her song “Mayonaka no Doa” as recorded by Sony Music appeared on television as one of the ending themes to Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z.
In 2008, she co-starred with Jet Li and Jackie Chan in The Forbidden Kingdom, in which she played Golden Sparrow, an orphan seeking revenge against her parents’ killer. In 2010, she starred in Love In Disguise with Leehom Wang.