Ziyi Zhang was brought up in a middle class family in Beijing. Her father is a government economist and her mother a retired kindergarten teacher. She
also has an elder brother, Zhang Zinan. At the age of 11 she began a 6-year study of folk and modern dance training at the Beijing Dance Academy. After graduating, she decided to switch career paths. On a lark, she went for an entrance exam at the prestigious China Central Drama College and was
accepted right away.
Ziyi's first appearance on screen was also her first star turn - while still a
student the prestigious China Central Drama College, she was offered the lead
in Zhang Yimou's 1998 film "The Road Home."
-Sony Pictures Classics