Happiness the key to her beauty

Former Hong Kong actress Cherie Chung Chor Hung at the opening party of Jimmy Choo in Paragon.
Former Hong Kong actress Cherie Chung Chor Hung at the opening party of Jimmy Choo in Paragon.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Former Hong Kong star Cherie Chung does what she loves every day

Former Hong Kong actress Cherie Chung Chor Hung does not want to watch her old films again, lest they tempt her to return to show business.

"I don't want to watch myself act because I'll start criticising how bad my performance was. Then I may have to go back to acting again so I can fix things," the star of classics such as An Autumn's Tale (1987) and Once A Thief (1991) says with a grin, adding that when she sees her movies on television, she immediately switches the channel.

Why would she want to endure long hours on film sets again, when she appears to be enjoying her carefree way of life?

Chung, 55, quit acting in 1991 after marrying prominent advertising honcho Mike Chu, who died of colon cancer in 2007. They have no children.

Every day, she indulges in activities she likes, she says, such as photography and advocacy work for environmental and animalwelfare causes. She also makes appearances at events, such as the opening party for the Paragon boutique of luxury accessories brand Jimmy Choo. She was flown here to mingle with VIPs for an hour.

Guests and passers-by could not get enough of her, scrambling to take photographs as they heaped praises on her good looks.

In person, she looks effortlessly graceful and radiant, like she has aged little from the days she graced the silver screen more than two decades ago.

"Do you think I still look good?" she muses, before conceding that her lasting beauty may have to do with "just being very happy".

"I don't do anything special to maintain my looks. But if I know I have to take pictures at events like this one, then I try to eat a little less two weeks before," she tells Life in an interview in Mandarin.

"I do the things I love to do every day, so I think that shows."

During the 1980s, the former beauty queen was one of the hottest movie actresses in Hong Kong, winning over fans with her good looks and sultry image, for which she was nicknamed the "Marilyn Monroe of Hong Kong".

An Autumn's Tale, a romance in which she starred opposite Chow Yun Fat, is widely considered one of the iconic Hong Kong romantic dramas, sitting at No. 49 on the Hong Kong Film Awards' list of 100 Best Chinese Films.

The Mabel Cheung work also won Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Film and Best Screenplay, while Chung was nominated for Best Actress at multiple ceremonies, including the Golden Horse.

Chung has put all of that behind her - she says she does not even know where she keeps her awards, which include Best Actress trophies from the Asia-Pacific Film Festival for An Autumn's Tale and Hong Kong, Hong Kong (1983).

"I have no idea where the awards are. It's been so long. Wow, it's been more than 20 years," she says.

If she sounds surprised by the passing of decades, it may be because she has not cut ties with her past - she keeps in touch with her friends in show business, including Chow as well as singers Sally Yeh and Sammi Cheng.

"When I get together with Sammi, we never run out of things to talk about, especially when we start talking about food," she says.

With every aspect of her life going so well, does she harbour hope for another shot at romance?

"I believe in love and I think it's important to always have love in my life, but it doesn't have to be just the type between a man and a woman.

"Besides, I have no suitors. Not even a single one," she adds with a laugh.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2015, with the headline 'Happiness the key to her beauty'. Print Edition | Subscribe