Charismatic, classy and chic – these are just a few of the words people use to describe Carina Lau Kar-ling, the actor and entrepreneur who turns 54 on December 8. Over the years she has maintained an elusive status of reverence reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour, but there is more to this Hong Kong icon than you may know. From the humble beginnings of a 1980s TVB starlet, Lau has become an international film star, having worked with the likes of auteur Wong Kar-wai. In 2013, she was nominated at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Actress for her portrayal of a struggling housewife in Bends . 10 of Andy Lau’s best films Lau, like her husband Tony Leung Chiu-wai, is part of an elite class of Hong Kong celebrities who flourished during the golden era of Hong Kong entertainment. But unlike many of their peers, Lau has been able to remain relevant for diversifying into different businesses. She has also become a symbol of resilience for women everywhere for talking candidly about overcoming her kidnapping experience at the hands of triad members. Let's take a look back at how Lau has maintained her place in the spotlight. Fashion designer and muse Growing up, my aunts would admire Lau the same way they would approve of Audrey Hepburn. It was as if Lau embodied a type of elegance the industry had never seen before. The world soon took notice, and Lau became as synonymous with film as she did with fashion, commonly seen at the front row of significant fashion weeks representing looks from Valentino to Saint Laurent. In 2015 she attended the ultra-exclusive MET Gala hosted by Anna Wintour, where she wore a stunning black and white Schiaparelli for the theme “China: Through the Looking Glass”. So, it came as no surprise when she decided to start her own brand Anirac (Carina spelt backwards), which focuses on a sophisticated and polished sense of style that Lau exudes herself. In 2017, she also launched her lifestyle brand +01 on her birthday. Canto-pop queen Anita Mui was the ‘Madonna of Asia’ How she stays fit View this post on Instagram 運動讓自己吃起來更心安理得 A post shared by Carina Lau/劉嘉玲 (@carinalau1208) on Nov 22, 2019 at 2:07am PST Staying active has been one of Lau’s beauty secrets. She’s always hiking and going off on her next big adventure accompanied by her husband. Most recently she went paragliding in Switzerland. Next, she plans on bungee jumping. 5 of Louis Koo’s best movies – from Throw Down to Paradox She enjoys theatre acting Lau is as charming on-screen as she is off. Some of us might remember her in turn of the century Cantonese musical Red Boat playing opposite Tony Leung Ka-fai and living legend Chan Po-chu. In recent years, Lau’s love of theatre has become more apparent, again playing opposite Leung in Tonnochy , a drama about the infamous 70s nightclub, as well as her most recent performance in a Cantonese rendition of Agatha Christie’s famous play The Witness for The Prosecution . Lau has said in interviews she loves the challenge stage offers and how it sharpens her acting skills. Why fans are obsessed with what Korean star Jun Ji-hyun wears A taste for the finer things She wouldn’t be an all-around lifestyle influencer without dabbling in the F&B industry. Lau opened three restaurants at The One mall in Tsim Sha Tsui and nightclub Muse in Shanghai. Sadly, all have since closed, but Lau is investing in other restaurants and is selling her brand of champagne and wine on Alibaba’s Tmall platform. With the new year on the horizon, we wonder what else Lau will dip her hands into. We can’t wait to find out. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .