Video: Charlene Chong
She may have injured her knee from a badminton session earlier, but retired screen siren Cherie Chung was still a picture of poise and grace (in high heels!) at the grand opening of Jimmy Choo’s first dual-gender boutique in Singapore last night (November 4).
Dressed in a lacy, low-cut black jumpsuit, the 55-year-old radiated an aura of beauty that would give starlets half her age a run for their money - the same charm that elevated her to become one of Hong Kong’s top actresses in the 1980s, with appearances in classics like An Autumn’s Tale and Peking Opera Blues. Sadly for fans of her onscreen work, the “Marilyn Monroe of Hong Kong” left showbiz for married life in 1991, after starring in John Woo’s Once a Thief alongside Chow Yun Fat and the late Leslie Cheung.
However, being an idle housewife was never in the cards for her. Instead, Cherie turned into - and still remains - an active ambassador for the environment, and pursued her love for photography. These two causes continued long and strong after she lost her husband, advertising executive Mike Chu, to stomach cancer in 2007; in fact, she revealed during our doorstop group interview that she doesn’t think she’s doing enough for Mother Nature.
“I hope to contribute more to the earth,” she said. “I believe it’s important to love the planet during our time on it.”
Much less certain is whether she will make what would undoubtedly be a highly-anticipated return to the silver screen, although it is not an idea she has written off completely. “It’s hard for me to say right now, but I would consider acting again if it’s a particularly good opportunity,” she said, before adding with a laugh, “If Chow Yun Fat invites me back, I will definitely think about it - I have to give him face!”
On that note, read on as we uncover more tidbits from our nine-minute conversation with the “goddess”:
She isn’t seeing anybody at the moment
Despite being romantically linked to a number of men in recent years (including a male assistant named Leo and entrepreneur Donald Yau), Cherie clarified that she is still very much a single woman, and currently - much to our surprise - does not have any suitors.
“It’s such a shame! (laughs) But if I can’t find one then what can I do about it? None means none!” she chuckled. When asked if she misses being in love, she replied, “I’m already overflowing with love for other things, such as animals, nature and my family.”
She knows nothing about pal Rosamund Kwan’s failed marriage
Yesterday, Cherie’s friend and fellow Hong Kong actress Rosamund Kwan dropped two bombshells in one: her marriage to Taiwanese billionaire Pierre Chen, which was never officially announced, had ended.
“We’re not breaking up; we’re getting divorced,” Rosamund told reporters at a promotional event. Insiders claim that the ex-couple tied the knot overseas last year, but things started going downhill when Rosamund became unhappy with Pierre’s unwillingness to publicise their relationship.
“This is the first time I’m hearing about it, she never told me anything,” Cherie claimed when prompted to share her thoughts on the matter. “But this is their private business, and it’s better not to interfere; besides, we can’t be sure how truthful these reports are!”
She reveals the secret to her age-defying beauty
The ever-modest Cherie bashfully brushed off a reporter’s high praise of her well-maintained looks, but did not deny her healthy lifestyle.
“I wake up very early and I exercise every day,” she disclosed. “I also watch what I eat - I love vegetables.”
Time to load up on those greens, folks.
She’d rather not be labelled a “goddess”
Okay, we know we - along with many others - are guilty of bestowing her that title, but it’s a flattering compliment Cherie could do without.
“I don’t feel pressured to live up to that name, but I’d rather not be called that - it’s embarrassing!” she said with a chuckle. “I’ve never considered myself a ‘goddess’.”
She’d love to write her own cookbook
Although she has made many appearances at top fashion and beauty events (including last night’s shindig), Cherie has not thought about launching her own label. “I’ve never had this big of an ambition because I already have many good things in life,” she said.
However, when it comes to food, it’s a different story. “I love cooking, so hopefully I can come up with my own recipes for healthy dishes. Inventing recipes is a creative process, so I believe it would be a lot of fun.”