Saying she’s one of Hong Kong’s most respected and talented actresses of all time is definitely an understatement.

Maggie Cheung, 48, is a superstar in her own right and we have seen her grow from being just an actress to an international icon.

From winning the runner-up title at the Miss Hong Kong 1983 pageant to one of her first roles starring opposite Jackie Chan in Police Story 1 to Cannes Film Festival’s Best Actress, her rise to stardom is nothing less than meteoric, albeit with a whole lot of trials and tribulations along the way.

After watching her on the big screen countless of times, she always comes across as being cold and aloof, almost like an ice queen who’s too cool for the rest of us.

But being in the same room as her today and witnessing her aura up close and personal, she has definitely proven me wrong.

Maggie Cheung in town for Olay

In town for the first time in the capacity of Olay’s brand ambassador (personal trips and movie premieres notwithstanding), of which she has been the face of since 2003, Maggie Cheung was the picture of perfection.

Speaking in perfect English with a slight British lilt, Cheung was articulate, animated, self-deprecating but still so impeccably elegant, when asked about her start in show business.

“Not sure if any of you remember, but I used to wear braces. I was always the girl with the funny tooth, but at 25, I decided I wanted to be a serious actress and had to get my teeth done. No one wants to cast a funny girl with buck teeth in serious roles,” quipped Cheung with a laugh.

She also threw in a little anecdote about filming with Jackie Chan, adding that she wasn’t always as gungho as she should have been.

Whenever Chan told her that she would have to jump off a random high structure or into the water for a scene, she would spend the whole day crying her eyes out from fear before actually sucking it up and doing it when it was her turn to go on set.

It is this passion, determination and professionalism that got Cheung where she is today.

Maggie Cheung in town for Olay 1

Her close personal friend Stevie Wong, President, Global Strategy and Innovation, Premium Consumer, P&G, also attests to that fact.

Wong stated that the first time they met, Cheung was talking passionately about a movie role. She was mulling over how she was going to act out the very complicated character. A year later, it was this same role that won her the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Her fervent nature and passion for life won Wong over.

Cheung then shifted her focus from acting to philanthrophy where she co-founded the Olay Women Innovation and Dream Fund in 2008.

The fund co-sponsored by the cosmetic house Olay and the Soong Ching-Ling Foundation, sponsors 10 university students – providing them with financial backing and mentorship – to help them realise their dreams.

Incidentally, she was also appointed as the first-ever Chinese ambassador for UNICEF China in 2010.

We’re not sure how Cheung does it, but the multi-hyphenate is making all of her accomplishments look almost effortless. With such a packed schedule, she still manages to look amazing for her age.

Maybe having her priorities in the right place helps. Cheung insists that having the right skincare is of utmost importance.

She adds that, with your skin in tiptop condition, you won’t have to spend too much time on your makeup, especially when you can be doing something meaningful and contributing back to society with that same amount of time.

Spoken with class like a true superstar indeed. Considered us blown away, Maggie.