Ming-Na Wen

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Spotlight: Legendary Handprints—Ming-Na Wen

In 2018, when Mulan celebrated its 20th anniversary, Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen, voice of Mulan, reflected on the film’s impact: “I am ecstatic to have played a character with such long-lasting influence. Mulan is a role model not just for little girls but little boys, too. And for adults! I love it when the moms bring their kids to meet me. They tell me what an impact Mulan has been in their lives, and now, in their kids’ lives, as well. It’s the magic of Disney to be able to translate a Chinese story and make it relatable to everyone for all generations.”

Born in Macau, China, and after living in Hong Kong, Ming-Na’s mother brought her and her older brother to the United States when she was 6. Settling in New York City, where Ming-Na learned English, the actress vividly remembers when the acting bug bit her. It was in third grade when she performed in her elementary school’s Easter play. After graduating with high honors from Carnegie Mellon University’s drama program, she made her big screen debut in 1993 with the lead role of June in Disney’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Amy Tan’s popular novel The Joy Luck Club for Hollywood Pictures.

One of Ming-Na’s most important roles came when she landed the title role in Disney’s animated classic Mulan (1998), for which she received an Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer. She was thrilled to take part in a Disney film that took a piece of renowned folklore from China and featured a timeless story about a young woman not only discovering herself, but also her strengths and beliefs. Ming-Na said, “That was my first voiceover job ever, and I knew nothing about the process. But I loved the challenge of bringing a character to life just using my voice and my imagination.”

Ming-Na has returned to the role of the heroic Fa Mulan in numerous projects, including an animated sequel, the video games Kingdom Hearts II and Disney Infinity 3.0, television shows House of Mouse and Sofia the First, and the 2018 Walt Disney Animation Studios smash hit Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Some of her other notable Disney credits include Phineas and Ferb (TV, 2008-2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (TV, 2015-2019), Milo Murphy’s Law (TV, 2016-2019), Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors (TV, 2018), Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV, 2013-2020), The Mandalorian (Disney+, 2019- ), and Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+, 2021- ). Upcoming projects for Ming-Na include the much anticipated The Book of Boba Fett coming to Disney+ later this year.