Having represented Hong Kong at both the Rio and Tokyo Olympics, professional swimmer Camille Cheng is a familiar face in the sports and wellness industries. In addition to her stellar swimming career, Camille also has a master’s degree in occupational therapy – and she intends to use her background as an athlete and psychology graduate to raise awareness about mental health for athletes and the younger generation.
For the latest edition of ‘8Shades Of’, we caught up with Camille to hear all about how she maintains a sustainable lifestyle amidst her busy training schedule.
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do.
I’m a professional swimmer, who represented Hong Kong in the last two Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.
2. Why are you an 8Shader?
There have been a few experiences in recent years that made me think about sustainability, my consumption and what changes I could make in my daily life to be more sustainable. When I realised that I didn’t know much about sustainability, I sought opportunities to learn more – whether it was connecting with individuals, reading or watching sustainability-related content.
As a swimmer, I love being in the water. When I’m not training, I like to spend time by the ocean; it makes me so sad to see all the litter in the sea and on beaches. I’ve done a few beach clean-ups but have also become a lot more mindful about minimising the use of items that I see washed up.
I’ve also moved and travelled a lot for personal and professional reasons. Last spring, I did a huge decluttering session. It was a really painful experience to see how many clothes I’d never worn, with the tags still on, or things worn only once – items that I could’ve bought second-hand but didn’t. I wanted to donate everything. I had four big boxes of stuff to donate but finding places that would accept a variety of items was not the easiest in Hong Kong.
I now consume more intentionally, really asking myself whether I would use an item often before buying it. I also am happy to pay a bit more to support sustainable businesses.
3. Your best eco habit?
I would say it’s viewing things in a sustainable lens. This includes minimising the use of single-use containers, buying from sustainable brands, buying products without or with minimal packaging, reducing my consumption of meat and using dairy alternatives.
4. Guilty not-so-green habit?
I’ve been in Europe for the past eight months, which would have been the perfect opportunity to bike different places – but I didn’t take advantage of that…
5. Fave eco product?
Ecostore’s body, hair and skin care products
6. Fave veggie dish in Hong Kong?
Tough question! What I love about Hong Kong and Asia in general is the number of different vegetables available in most dishes.
7. As an athlete, you need to travel often; are there any sustainable packing and travel hacks you can share?
Pack properly – a reusable shopping bag and coffee mug is a must!
Athletes are always provided with lots of sport drinks and packaged water; I try to refrain from taking those and fill my own water bottle up instead. I also try to remember other small things like not asking to have my room made up, not asking for new towels daily and bringing my own toiletries instead of using the hotel ones.
Transportation-wise, I try to walk more – it’s more eco-friendly and helps me get a better sense of the place I’m in.
8. What shade of green are you?
I’d probably be closer to light green. Given that I’m on-the-go a lot, there are many sustainable habits I want to incorporate but struggle with – there’s still so much not only for me to learn but actually to put into practice!
Follow Camille on Instagram
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