She studied drama at the Saturday Club for children, which was run by actor Joe Holroyd, and made her stage debut aged nine in a production of The Corn is Green at the Victoria Theatre. After auditioning for the Arts Educational School in Tring, she won a scholarship aged twelve. Later studying at the Mount View Theatre School in London, she graduated in 1981.
Continuing to act until 1990, she married Austrian salesman Peter Engel and moved to Vienna where she raised the couple's two children, although they have now divorced and Cheryl has since moved back to London with the intention of returning to the business once more.
Other credits include roles in All for Love, The Boy Who Won the Pools, Dempsey and Makepeace, The Ritz, The Bill, Stolen, Bergerac and Ruth Rendell Mysteries.