Years of exhaustion and hard work are slowly taking their toll on Cheung. She used to take pride in maintaining a groomed appearance but she no longer bothers with make-up or dressing up.
“We are all turning old. To be honest, I am already 50 years old. I can get the elderly card soon myself,” she says calmly. Aging does not worry her much.
“In Canada, I was known for dressing well,” says Cheung. “I used to love shopping for pretty but cheap clothes, and I was proud of that.” This gradually changed after she started making documentaries.
“We have to look plain during shooting. Because you do not go there to attract attention, in fact you hope you can blend into the crowd,” she explains.
Cheung describes the change as “from being seen by others to seeing others”. No longer worried about how other people see her, she feels a lot more confident and at ease with herself.
“I think [the confidence comes from] becoming a complete person. Because as a complete person, you need not rely on looks,” says Cheung. “I personally think that to be confident is to let people appreciate me not for my appearance, but for the hidden things inside me, like my thoughts. This is concrete. It won’t change with your age, time or fashion.”
Cheung is currently working on a short film that focuses on love and relationships, a topic she has long wanted to get her teeth into. Unlike movies about love that typically revolve around romance, her documentary focuses instead on power relations and problems within relationships and between the genders.
What Cheung enjoys the most about making documentaries is the joy of creation. She compares the process to cooking. “You have a stack of ingredients, and you need to mix them together in a bowl and make them tasty,” she says.
Cheung treats every film she works on as a journey of learning. She says that each time she makes a film, she is able to “better understand an issue deeply. You can learn a lot from it, you will see the things that you never usually pay attention to.”