Be sure to check out this fantastic new interview with Maggie where she talks Nikita as well as her work for animal rights and her upcoming role in Priest. It’s a pretty lengthy interview but since it’s Maggie I’m sure that it won’t be a problem!
Maggie Q’s Nikita is a pretty kick-ass chick. In the CW show, her character fights back against Division, the secret organization that stole her childhood. In real life, Q fights for animal rights. SheKnows recently got a chance to chat with Q about the show.
She spills on the relationship between Nikita and Michael, where we might see it go and what it’s like to do her own stunts.
Maggie Q also talks about her extensive work for animal rights. This lady walks the walk. She also shares how she became a lifelong vegetarian, gives us her favorite recipe and tells us how she’s making co-star Shane West healthier.
SheKnows: It’s really nice to see chicks kicking butt!
Maggie Q: Really? Thank you so much! I love talking to chicks that like that!
SheKnows: So what is it like to be a kick-ass chick on TV?
Maggie Q: Well, it feels really nice to have a woman in a position where she’s not only kick-ass, but she’s incredibly vulnerable, damaged…just like any other of these male characters that can never kind of find that reconciliation and have that atonement that they’re searching for. And what I love about Nikita is that she’s not just…sometimes when they do kick-ass chicks, they go gratuitously sexy or cheesy or…she’s not. She’s the real deal. And the way they write her and the way they present her is, I think, something substantial for women, instead of fluff. I really enjoy that.
SheKnows: A lot of times they end up making strong women men with boobs.
Maggie Q: Totally. And that also doesn’t feel natural, right? I think the whole thing about being tough and being strong is celebrating that you are a woman. That it’s okay. You don’t have to be a guy.
SheKnows: That, of course, brings me to Michael. I mentioned this interview on Twitter and got a zillion questions about when they’re going to hook up, if it’s ever going to happen or if the relationship is too damaged.
Maggie Q: Sure. It is a damaged relationship. I think Michael and Nikita…what I really like about them is that they represent something that we’ve all been through at one time or another, where there is so much you can’t say to each other. And I think for them, there is so much they should. They just don’t, by virtue of who they are and what they’ve been trained to hold back and how they’ve been molded as people. I personally never feel like it’s too late for people to find that again. I think it’s incredibly hard to do that. But we don’t know the reasons…well, I know them [laughs] but you guys don’t know the reasons yet of why they couldn’t be together. And that’s coming up in a sense. I mean we do know…there was a Michael-Nikita episode, episode nine, where you know he stayed at Division so he can find the people who killed his family, so we know that. So we know there is one thing that holds him back. We don’t yet know what the offer was and what she wanted of him and how that all sort of happened. It’s just one of those things. It’s unrequited. It’s true, but we’re going to deal with it this season.
SheKnows: I’m glad they’re letting it play out instead of rushing it all. It’s a cool dynamic.
Maggie Q: It is a cool dynamic. If you really, really love someone, I think those things are harder. I think you can be soft with somebody who you don’t feel there is any consequence with, because maybe your heart is not totally into it. I think with those two, there is something very, very deep there — so deep that it’s scary. And she would have been the first person that Michael cared about since his wife, and he would have been the first person that she loved.
SheKnows: I really like the relationships in this show. And speaking of the other big one, Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) just got promoted to field agent. How is that going to affect the relationship?
Maggie Q: Well, it changes in the sense that she’s now at a higher level of clearance, and there are going to be things that they can do on a higher level, but they still can’t work together yet, because she’s being tracked. And she’s being watched…I think you’re going to be really surprised where that relationship goes this season, because there is still so much we don’t know about what really happened with her parents and where she really came from, and how Nikita is involved in that and what that’s about. So I think when those things get uncovered, things are going to get really complicated.
SheKnows: The promos for the 27th have been promising bigger and better missions. Can you give us a little tease?
Maggie Q: Yeah, well, there is a new character you’re going to see a little bit more of. And yes, our action sequences are only getting better, and we now have a choreographer that has come up from LA, who I’ve worked with for many years and I’ve done a lot of films with him. I kind of stole him from LA and all the movies that wanted him. So I’m really lucky he’s working with us. The stakes are getting higher because the story is going to move forward in a different way. So that is actually what’s cool about it. It is getting bigger and bigger. We’re getting to a build where it might explode by the end of the season [laughs].
SheKnows: Talk a bit about the stunts. They’re pretty intense. I know you’ve been doing this for a long time, but give us a peek into what the training for the show is like.
Maggie Q: It’s sort of like one of those things…I read things about Robert Downey Jr., when he did Iron Man, like, “Oh, I had to do this,” and Ryan Reynolds like, “Oh, I had to do that,” and stuff like that. I feel like I’m that person all the time. I don’t feel like I can ever take a break from that. The films I’m involved in are…you need a level of physicality for those and then the series is ongoing. I don’t even get a day break between each episode [laughs]. So I never have the chance to eat pizza for a week and chill out. That never happens for me, ever. But I do a lot of yoga, copious amounts of yoga, because I need to stay strong, but I also need to stay really flexible so I don’t get injured. It really helps me with my choreography. This very Zen, sort of practice helped me kick people’s ass on screen [laughs].
SheKnows: I have to ask you about your work with animals. I’m a 21-year vegetarian and I have five animals in my house, so I had to bring this up.
Maggie Q: Oh my gosh! [Laughs] That’s so cool! It started for me in 1998. You know, I claimed to be an animal lover…you’ll understand this. I’m so glad you said you’re a vegetarian, because a lot of people who aren’t don’t entirely get it. And then when I say it, they think I’m trying to make them feel guilty, which I’m not.
SheKnows: I totally understand!
Maggie Q: So I claimed to be an animal lover and I claimed to love everything about them and to want the best for them and to support them, but I ate steak and I had fur-lined jackets. So what is this? And mind you, I was a kid. Kids nowadays are a lot more conscious about these things than we were. I was eighteen and I didn’t really get it. So I was on my way to a concert, a Bryan Ferry concert, how funny is that? And there was a woman sitting outside of the auditorium and she was tabling. She was at a table with brochures and no one was talking to her and I felt bad. So I walked over and asked what she was doing there, because I was waiting for a friend. She said, “I work with a group named PETA.” I said, “Oh, I know that group!” She said, “We’ve just opened an office in Asia and we’re trying to make people aware of the animal situation there.” I said, “My name is Maggie and I’m an actress,” and she said, “Oh, I know who you are.” I asked if she’d send me some research. PETA sent me a pile of research…photos, videos, world-wide statistics, environmental statistics, I mean, everything you could think of related to the animal world. I was on a flight to Bangkok, and I’d just finished the last page of the material, and that literally was it. I never touched meat again. I was done. Once you know the issues, it’s impossible. Forget loving animals or not, and I do, passionately. But besides their own welfare, the environmental aspects of what meat is doing to our planet, it’s disgusting. And the fact that we know other things and don’t know that, really hurts me. So I’ve made it my life’s mission to make this information available to people and promote what is good for the animals is good for all of us.
SheKnows: A similar thing happened with my husband. One brochure and he never ate meat again.
Maggie Q: Wait, your husband is amazing! God bless him! We love a man who is not afraid of that. Because a lot of men are like…well, we’ve been inundated for many, many years with the “real men eat beef” bullsh*t. All that stuff that makes men not feel like men if they don’t indulge in an animal meal. What does one have to do with the other in any shape or form? It’s bizarre. And also, we have alternatives these days. You look at our cancer rates and our obesity rates and cholesterol levels and diabetes…it’s not a secret. It’s not a mystery. People who don’t eat that way just don’t have certain diseases. I went to a doctor and got checked and he said that my cholesterol levels were incredibly low and that the only cholesterol I had was the good cholesterol. He said, “We should clone you. What do you do?” I said, “I don’t eat animals.” He said, “That will do it.” Now, mind you, this was a doctor who was just doing checkups for actors. So if he knows that, why don’t we tell everyone?
SheKnows: Tell me one of your favorite veggie recipes.
Maggie Q: Well, I’m the salad whisperer. That’s what my friends call me. [Laughs] I love to do salads as meals. I’ll do three kinds of kale and throw quinoa in it and nuts and fruit and I’ll caramelize onions and throw them on top and make my own dressing. Tahini, so it’s really meaty. People eat my salads and they’re like, “Okay, if I could eat like this, I could do it.” It’s really about people giving us those options that are healthy and available. It’s funny, I was actually on a plane with Shane. The stewardess asked, “Chicken or beef?” I said, “I’d rather die.” [Laughs] Shane was laughing and said, “She’ll have tea.” I’m actually making Shane healthier. He actually grew up a vegetarian. His mother was a vegetarian. He’s like, “I get it, Maggie. But I’m not eating the tofu sandwiches anymore.” His mother made him sprout sandwiches and scarred him for life. [Laughs] He was in high school and fourteen and people made fun of him. He’s slowly coming back to the light side. [Laughs] I’ll make him! I’m trying to do that with everyone a little bit.
SheKnows: I know I read that on one set, you kept it free of animal products and fur. Is that something that you’ve done on the Nikita set?
Maggie Q: Yeah. Oh yeah. No exotic skins, etc. And for my movie, Priest, that’s coming out in May…on a movie you can do this. I’m not Julia Roberts, but I do what I can. So for Priest, I was the female lead, so I went to the costume designer and said I didn’t want leather. She custom made my shoes, my outfits, everything from the ground up. She used neoprene and stamped it to look like leather. It was really cool! There are no exotic skins in Nikita, though there is leather here and there, but they tone it down as much as possible. I have a zillion wardrobe changes on Nikita so it would be impossible for me never to wear leather, but on my own, I don’t buy it.
SheKnows: I was on the set of Priest, and it looks so cool. Can you give the readers a tease about what we’re going to see?
Maggie Q: It’s another sort of damaged woman. What’s that about? [Laughs] As you know, it takes place in this sort of post-apocalyptic, Western sort of existence where man and vampire live separately. And at one point the vampire threat was very big and people had to retreat to walled cities. Basically Paul Bettany’s character…a family member of his gets kidnapped and has to investigate it as a former priest. He finds that the threat is back. They had fought as members of the church and the clergy who protected the people before, and they thought they’d gotten rid of it many years ago. So they kind of all band together to fight this threat. There is an undertone between Paul Bettany’s character and mine. He plays Priest. I play Priestess.
They spent many years together as comrades, fighting the war and there is something there between them that has never happened. That is unfinished. So you’ve got a very kind of damaged woman who has always loved this man, but she can’t tell him. She’s taken a vow of celibacy and so has he, within this institution. So it really, really can never be. [Laughs] So it’s really about their commitment to what they do and the people they protect. Scott Stewart (director) likes to say, the whole movie is about sacrifice, which is true. That the things and the people we sacrifice for, for our morals and ethics…that causes a lot of pain for these characters.