Ty Lee was a cheerful and energetic girl who hailed from the Fire Nation. As the daughter of a nobleman, she attended the Royal Fire Academy for Girls with her friends, Princess Azula and Mai.
Growing up, Ty Lee dealt with six sisters who shared identical appearances with her. This caused her to feel a loss of individuality and led her to have a longing to be a unique, recognizable person, and a desire for attention from other people.
Because of this, after she matured, she ran away from her home and joined a Fire Nation circus, becoming a skilled acrobatic performer and gaining more personal attention.
Ty Lee was a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, often utilizing chi blocking, a unique form of martial arts that targets pressure points located in the human body. By striking these, she was able to disrupt an individual’s chi flow and temporarily paralyze them, thereby also preventing the victim from bending for a period of time.
Mai and Ty Lee were recruited by Princess Azula to hunt down and capture Prince Zuko and Iroh, and later Avatar Aang and his friends.
Mai later betrayed Azula to save Zuko’s life, and when the infuriated princess retaliated, Ty Lee defended Mai by paralyzing Azula, which led to her imprisonment. While in prison, she met the Kyoshi Warriors for a second time and befriended them. In return for teaching them how to chi block, they allowed her to join their group.
Upon their release at the end of the Hundred Year War, Ty Lee adopted their makeup and clothes, effectively becoming part of a matched set once again, though this time with the reassurance that she could become a unique individual again whenever she wanted, simply by removing her makeup and uniform.
Born into a Fire Nation noble family, Ty Lee was one of seven identical sisters, the others being Ty Lin, Ty Lat, Ty Lao, Ty Liu, Ty Lum, and Ty Woo.
In order to preserve a sense of individuality, the sisters each chose a different hobby and agreed to stay away from each other so their parents could not compare them with one another.
Ty Lee claimed acrobatics for herself, even though her sisters were also skilled in this regard. Despite that, Ty Lee still felt like she was part of a matched set and constantly had to compete for attention, often feeling neglected by her surroundings.
She attended the prestigious Royal Fire Academy for Girls where she met Azula and Mai, both of whom she developed a close friendship with.
Due to her close association with the Fire Nation princess, Ty Lee was permitted to play with Mai and Azula at the Palace. During one of those outings, Ty Lee demonstrated her superior acrobatic skills by performing a series of cartwheels and somersaults, which Azula proved unable to mimic.
As a result, Ty Lee was pushed to the ground by a jealous Azula, who subsequently laughed at her. Despite her indignant reaction to the princess’ behavior, Ty Lee happily went along with Azula’s plan to humiliate Zuko, on whom Mai had a crush.
After Azula orchestrated a situation in which Mai and Zuko fell into a fountain, Ty Lee teased the pair about being “cute” together. She, Azula, and Mai also played hide-and-seek at the palace, but Azula always won due to knowing secret passageways in the complex. Eventually, Ty Lee and Mai discovered this secret.