Liu Yi Fei (born 25 August 1987 in Wuhan, China) is a Chinese American actress and singer. Although she is often credited as Liu Yi Fei (Traditional Chinese: 劉亦菲, Simplified Chinese: 刘亦菲), her legal name is Liu Qian Mei Zi (Traditional Chinese: 劉茜美子, Simplified Chinese: 刘茜美子). At the age of 15, Liu Yi fei’s role as “Wang Yuyan” in the television serial, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils propelled her to fame in China.
Born at Tongji hospital in Wuhan, China on August 25, 1987, Liu Yi Fei’s birthname was An Feng (Traditional Chinese: 安風, Simplified Chinese: 安风). Her father was a university professor while her mother was a dancer and a stage performer. They divorced when she was 7 years old. After her parents’ divorce, Liu lived with her mother, Liu Xiao Li (Traditional Chinese: 劉曉莉, Simplified Chinese: 刘晓莉) and her name was changed to Liu Qian Mei Zi. She began modelling at the age of 8 and was trained in singing, dancing and the piano. Moving to the United States in 1998 with her mother, Liu lived there for four years and attained her American citizenship. She returned to China in June 2002 to pursue an acting career and adopted her stage name Liu Yi Fei. In September 2002, she was accepted into the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy at the age of 15, making her the youngest student the school has ever had. She graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in July 2006.
Immediately following her admittance into Beijing Film Academy, Liu Yi Fei 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 portray the role of “Wang Yuyan” in Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, a drama based on the same-titled novel by the acclaimed wuxia writer, Jinyong. It was this role that established her fame in China. Her fame was further enhanced through her starring role in the video game adaptation of television drama, Chinese Paladin in 2004.
In 2006, Liu Yi Fei starred in another television production based on a book by Jinyong, The Return of the Condor Heroes. After intense speculation on who would get the role of “Xiaolongnü”, the part was finally offered to her. Liu Yi Fei was backed by Jinyong, who felt that she had all the necessary qualities to play the role of the young and innocent “Xiaolongnü”. Although the drama serials she has acted in were well-received, the movies she starred in, did poorly in terms of box office takings.