Meet Maggie Q, Daughter of Vietnamese Immigrant

Margaret Denise Quigley (born May 22, 1979),[1] professionally known as Maggie Q, is an American actress and former fashion model. She currently stars in the title role on the action-thriller TV series Nikita.

Early life

Q was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.[2][3] She speaks English and Cantonese. Her father, a government employee,[4] is of Irish and Polish descent.[5] Her mother, a golf course employee,[4] is a Vietnamese immigrant.[3][6] Her parents met while her father was stationed in Vietnam during the war.[7][8] Q grew up with four siblings.[3]

Q attended Mililani Waena Elementary School and Wheeler Intermediate School. She also attended Mililani High School, where she was on the cross country, track and field, and swim teams. She won the title of “Best Bod” senior year, and graduated from Mililani High School in 1997.[3]


At the suggestion of a friend, Q began modeling in Tokyo at the age of 17, before making an unsuccessful move to Taipei, and finally trying in Hong Kong.[3][7][9] She has said it was not easy for her: “I had twenty bucks in my pocket. I mean, I literally did the same thing that my mother did when she left Vietnam… didn’t speak the language… had no money.”[6] But, it was in Hong Kong that she was selected by Jackie Chan, because he saw a potential action star. His intensive training taught her the importance of professionalism and always doing her own stunts. Q later said, “I had never done a day of martial arts in my life when I started in the business. I couldn’t even touch my toes.”[7]

In 1998,[10] she started her acting career in the TV drama House of the Dragon, which was a huge hit in Asia. In 2000, Q made her film debut as Anna in the horror film Model from Hell, and went on to star as an FBI agent Jane Quigley in the action thriller Gen-Y Cops the same year. Her appearance in Gen-Y Cops impressed Jackie Chan so much that she was cast in Manhattan Midnight and Rush Hour 2.[3]

In 2002, she starred as martial artist assassin Charlene Ching in the action film Naked Weapon. In 2005, Q played Harmony in the German-Singaporean TV mini-series House of Harmony, opposite Fann Wong. The same year she also co-produced the animal treatment documentary Earthlings narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.[11]

In 2006, she starred alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III. She played Zhen, the only female member of the IMF team. In 2007, she appeared as Mai Linh in the Bruce Willis movie Live Free or Die Hard,[3] the fourth film in the Die Hard series, and as Maggie in Balls of Fury.

In 2008, Q played fictional Cao Ying, a granddaughter of the warlord Cao Cao in Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon, her first ancient Chinese costume performance. That same year, she also appeared in the drama/thriller movie Deception starring Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman, as Tina, an investment banker[10] who introduced Jackman’s character to an exclusive anonymous sex club list.

Q also stars in the video game in the Need for Speed franchise Need for Speed: Undercover, as the seductive lead character, federal agent Chase Linh, who is the player’s only contact to the Tri-City Police.[12]

In 2010, she became the lead character, an assassin gone rogue, on the new CW series, Nikita, a revamp of the movie/TV title.[7]

Personal life

Q has been a vegetarian[4][13] for many years, and was featured in two almost nude ads for PETA Asia-Pacific.[13] She was also responsible for the removal of all real fur from the wardrobe on the set of Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon.[14] In 2008, Maggie Q was named PETA Asia-Pacific’s “Person of the Year.”[15] The same year, the organization also listed Q as one of the “Best-Dressed Celebrities” of 2008.[14]

Q previously dated Hong Kong actor Daniel Wu who also was a costar of Naked Weapon.[16] She has three tattoos: one on each arm and one of a phoenix on her left hip, which she has had to conceal for most of her roles except Nikita.[17] Q also suffered temporary hearing loss in her left ear, when her eardrum was blown out in an explosive stunt.[18] She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her three (at one point, eight) rescued dogs.[3][19]


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Model from Hell (鬼名模) Anna  
Gen-Y Cops (特警新人類2) Jane Quigley  
2001 Manhattan Midnight Susan & Hope (twins)  
Rush Hour 2 Girl in Car  
2002 Naked Weapon (赤裸特工) Charlene Ching  
2003 The Trouble-Makers (一屋两火) Clary  
2004 Rice Rhapsody (海南雞飯) Gigi  
Around the World in 80 Days Female Agent  
Magic Kitchen (魔幻廚房) May  
2005 House of Harmony Harmony  
Dragon Squad (猛龍) Yuet  
Taped Maggie  
Earthlings Co-Producer Film Documentary
2006 Mission: Impossible III Zhen Lei Asian Excellence Award for Supporting Film Actress
The Counting House Jade  
2007 Live Free or Die Hard Mai Linh  
Balls of Fury Maggie Wong  
The Counting House Jade  
2008 Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon (三國之見龍卸甲) Cao Ying  
Deception Tina  
Need for Speed: Undercover Chase Linh Video Game
2009 The Warrior and the Wolf (狼災記) Harran Woman  
New York, I Love You Janice Taylor On segment “Yvan Attal”
Operation: Endgame High Priestess  
2010 The King of Fighters Mai Shiranui  
2011 Priest Priestess  
Year Title Role Notes
1998 House of Dragon Devine  
2010–present Nikita Nikita Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actress: Action[20]


  1. ^ Chozick, Amy (September 1, 2010). “‘Nikita’: Don’t Make Maggie Q Have to Hurt You”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ “The 5-minute Interview: Maggie Q, Actress”. London: The Independent. October 31, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h “Mission Very Possible”. Midweek. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c “Mission Very Possible (Page 2)”. Midweek. Retrieved April 15, 2011.  “Her dad works for the government and mom at Leilehua Golf Course.” and “I’m a vegetarian and there are all these great sandwich places and vegetarian eateries…”
  5. ^ “Talking Mission: Impossible III with Maggie Q”. MovieWeb. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b “Maggie Q (7/27/2010)”. Lopez Tonight. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d Yuan, Jada (August 22, 2010). “Hong Kong’s Hit Girl”. New York Magazine. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  8. ^ “Kick ass girl”. London: The Times. April 23, 2006. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  9. ^ Ito, Robert (February 8, 2007). “The Maggie Q story: Gone to Asia with an eye toward Hollywood”. New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Burke, Jodie (April 24, 2008). “Maggie Q in ‘Deception’”. Los Angeles Times.,0,5726076.story. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  11. ^ “Single Most Powerful Information With Professional Cast and Crew in EARTHLINGS”. Nation Earth. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b “Nearly Nude Maggie Q Says, ‘Spice Up Your Life—Go Vegetarian’”. PETA Asia-Pacific. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b “PETA Announces the Best-Dressed Celebrities”. PETA Asia-Pacific. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  15. ^ “MAGGIE Q NAMED PETA’S PERSON OF THE YEAR”. PETA Asia-Pacific. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  16. ^ “Maggie Q”. Hong Kong Movie World. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  17. ^ “‘Nikita’: Maggie Q reveals her tattoo’s origin story”. Zap2it. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  18. ^ “Maggie Q”. Maxim UK. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  19. ^ “Interview with Maggie Q”. CNN. November 19, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  20. ^ “Teen Choice Awards 2011 Nominees”. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 

External links