Maggie Cheung was born on September 20, 1964, in Hong Kong, and moved at the age of eight with her family to England. After finishing secondary school, she returned to Hong Kong, where she began modeling and appearing in commercials. In 1983 she participated in the Ms. Hong Kong pageant, winning first runner-up, which proved not to be a detriment since she went on to become a star of both Hong Kong television and film.
- No matter where I'm going, I feel like I'm leaving something behind. Every time I get on a plane, I cry. The flight attendants on Cathay Pacific must think I'm mad.
- ...you experience a lot more pain than normal people, your mom dies, your dad dies, your boyfriend chucks you, you live in the street, and you're really going through these emotions. You're trying to know what it feels like to watch a man die in front of you, as if you've really lived it. Once that division is gone, it gets blurry, you look back at a shoot and think, was I really that sad because in the film my boyfriend didn't like me -- or was it something else, something real? [on being an actress]
- If I was drinking something [in my house], they said, 'Oh, she got dumped, she's so miserable she's turning to drink'. Or if my mother and sister came over, they said, 'She's so miserable she needs her family to support her through this hard time.'" [on her experience with the Hong Kong paparazzi]
- Words like 'fabulous,' 'wonderful,' 'great,' 'absolutely gorgeous,' they don't exist in Cantonese. It's good, or it's O.K. That's it. It's very blunt, Cantonese. I appreciate that there are no fake words, but it's hard to switch channels, sometimes, after I've spent time in France. I'm just learning to use more generous words myself, but you know, 'gorgeous,' I just can't go to that extreme.
- It was heaven. We were in Los Angeles. And we could go anywhere. No one had any idea who I was.
- I think I started to have thoughts to really want to be serious about my work when I was about twenty five and I just kind of started to look into that direction and moved into it. But it didn't seem as though it was going anywhere because, you know, films without action or comedy are rare to find in Hong Kong, especially if the main character is a woman. But along the way, I've had a few good breaks.
- Even though we can say the European or North American market is bigger, no, for me, I want Hong Kong to be my main market. They want to own me and I want to own them. It's out of willingness.
- These two men, how they like their women to be is so different. The way Wong [Karwai]sees beauty, or women related to beauty, it has to be that sensual, perfect thing, whereas Olivier [Assayas] is more interested in something more internal and modern. But I feel happy to be able to fit into their desires of what they want to see on the screen. That's what interests me in my work, to transform according to different directors.
- Because I've done so many different roles, I don't want to repeat myself. It's getting harder and harder to find something interesting.
- I think it comes from far away inside me, to be strong to survive everything that comes my way. I think, going back to the beginning, feeling like an alien in an English school when I was eight, that set up my pride very early on. I think I'm very defensive, but I'm trying not to be like that any more.