Maggie Cheung Man Yuk (Chinese: 张曼玉) is aHong Kong-born actress renowned for her roles in numerous award-winning films. She is the first Asian actress to win a prize at the Cannes Film Festival and has won the Best Actress award at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Taiwan Golden Horse Awards multiple times, setting a record that no other Chinese actresses have yet surpassed. In 2010, she was appointed as a UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) ambassador in China.
Born in September 20, 1964, Cheung has family roots in Shanghai, though she was raised in Hong Kong. She emigrated with her family from Hong Kong to Britain at the age of eight. As a teenager, she worked for a bookstore in London and had ambitious to be a model. In 1982, while vacationing in Hong Kong, she was discovered by a talent and fulfilled her dream of becoming a model. In 1983, she joined the Miss Hong Kong Pageant, where she was the runner-up. At the same year, she became a finalist in the Miss World pageant.
Gradually recognized by public, Cheung entered the entertainment industry in Hong Kong. In the beginning, she made about 30 films a year but did not show great talent in acting. Finally, she achieved a breakthrough in the 1988 Wong Kar-wai film "As Tears Go by". In 1990, she won her first Best Actress award at the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards for her role in Full Moon in New York. In 1992, her portrayal of China’s famous tragic actress Ruan Lingyu (1910-1935) won her another Golden Horse Award. Her winning streak continued in following years in a series of widely-acclaimed films, including, "New Dragon Gate Inn", "Green Snake", "The Soong Sisters" and "Clean", for which she won a Cannes Film Award.
In recent years, Cheung has reduced her appearances in films and shifted her focus to philanthropy. On May 10, 2010, she was appointed as a UNICEF ambassador in China and embarked on her charity career by visiting some of the country’s most impoverished villages. In 2011, she visited the remote Liangshan Yi Minority Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. In an interview with China.org.cn she was quoted as saying, "our presence (in the village) was the present. I think hugging (the local children) and playing with them makes them very happy."