Let’s start with the obvious and redundant, so you know I’m not a bot: Elodie Yung is extremely beautiful and very, very sexy.

And French, which is the same as sexy, really.

Yung, 36, is co-starring in Marvel’s new Netflix series The Defenders, which premieres on August 18, as the complex sociopath assassin Elektra, the same character she brought fire to in the Emmy-nominated Daredevil.

The half-French, half-Cambodian ex-law student—who’s also starring in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, in theaters now—got her big break in 2013’s GI Joe: Retaliation. We get a big break every time we see her.

Men’s Fitness: You grew up on the hard outskirts of Paris. How bad was it?

Yung: It was quite a tough area. But when you grow up there, it’s your reality. I think I only realized how tough it was when I studied in Paris in high school. But I can’t complain, I loved my childhood. I think it made me different, a bit more worldly.

Does being a woman with a black belt in karate intimidate dates?

I don’t know if it intimidates them, but people should get more used to having strong women in the room. They should embrace the rise of female power! [Laughs.] We all need challenges.

What kind of man impresses you, and what kind depresses you?

Am I impressed by men? I’m not sure I am…I’m intrigued by some of them, I admire some of them. Kindness is a quality I love in people. And a good sense of humor. I don’t think anything would depress me. I’ve known men who didn’t take care of their loved ones—that enraged me. And that doesn’t apply just to men, by the way.

What would your ultimate film role be?

I’d love a really gritty part in a gritty movie. Because with Elektra, I play a superhero, and I have no complaint, but you don’t always want to be the action hero, always doing the same thing.


“To be honest, I don’t think I’m a sex symbol. Some days I just want to be in my jeans, a T-shirt, and trainers, and chill out.”

How does it feel to be a sex symbol?

I’m not aware that I am—is that a compliment?

Ha, yes, it’s rarely an insult.

To be honest, I don’t think I’m a sex symbol. Some days I just want to be in my jeans, a T-shirt, and trainers and chill out. And some days I bump it up a bit and go out. But if I’m perceived that way by some people, I appreciate it.

What’s your workout regimen?

I go through phases. If I’m doing a role, I throw myself into it 100% and really train—when I have to do it, I do it. But I’m not going to lie and say I hit the gym all the time, because I’m quite lazy, to be honest with you.

You got a law degree from one of the best schools in the world, the Sorbonne. Why start acting?

I had the chance to do a French TV series—they asked me if I was an actress, so I lied and said yes, and got the part. It was a big paycheck for me at the time. When I finished school, I started acting full time.

Does having a law degree ever come in handy?

Yes, it helps me read the contracts.

What’s the hardest thing about playing Elektra?

The hardest thing, but also the thing I enjoy the most, is that Elektra is extremely complex, but I don’t think she understands herself very well. Deep down she has this blood thirst, but at the same time she’s the opposite of that. It’s exciting to play!