Cheong-Leen was born in Hong Kong and has Australian citizenship. Her father Hilton Cheong-Leen was born in Georgetown, British Guyana but is of Chinese descent and her mother Pauline Chow is from Beijing. In her youth, Cheong-Leen graduated from The Royal Ballet in U.K. and at the Paris Opera in France. After returning to Hong Kong, Cheong-Leen was selected as leading actress in ten full-length motion pictures including Life after Life (Cinema City), Duel to the Death (Golden Harvest), Chasing Girl (Cinema City), Return of the Deadly Blade (Champion International Film), Lung Gem Wei (Golden Harvest), and Cactus. After a brief career as a film actress, she went on to create fashion designs and costumes.
At the Royal Ballet in U.K. and the Paris Opera in France, Cheong-Leen studied in dance, choreography, costume design, stage direction and theatrical production.[ citation needed]
Cheong-Leen launched her first clothing line, Pavlova, in 1981. Pavlova was followed by the exotic Tian Art label, and now Cheong-Leen couture collection, inspired by her own life and family roots.[ citation needed]