Maggie Q, the star of The CW’s new spy drama ‘Nikita,’ may be just has mysterious to American TV audiences as her character is on the show.
Movie fans will remember her from roles in ‘Mission Impossible III,’ ‘Live Free or Die Hard,’ ‘New York, I Love You’ and ‘Rush Hour 2,’ but to TV audiences, she’s a very fresh face.
Want to know what the Q in Maggie Q stands for? Or who gave her the martial arts training that’s made her into such a fearsome force on ‘Nikita’? Find out as we declassify Maggie Q.
1. Maggie Q is really Margaret Denise Quigley
The actress was born in Hawaii, her father is of French-Canadian, Polish and Irish decent and her mother is Vietnamese. Her parents met while her father was stationed in Vietnam. She got the Maggie Q nickname from a Hong Kong newspaper and it stuck since Asian audiences had difficulty pronouncing Quigley.
2. She’s an animal rights activist
Q has been a supporter of PETA for years. She appeared in two campaigns for PETA Asia-Pacific and both involved her naked, covered in vegetables. Working on the Chinese film ‘Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon,’ Q refused to wear fur and her costume had to be constructed out of faux fur. In addition to her ad campaigns, PETA Asia-Pacific named Q its Person of the Year in 2007 and in 2008 she was named one of the best-dressed celebrities.
3. Jackie Chan thinks she’s special
At the age of 17, Q took off for Asia. She traveled to Tokyo, Taiwan and Japan before ending up in Taipei, trying to work as a model. Q told New York Magazine that she didn’t have much luck. The modeling rejections got to her and she would eat cheap food and cry in the sleazy motel room she paid for by the night. After making her way to Hong Kong, Q was tapped by Jackie Chan and trained to be an action star. “I had never done a day of martial arts in my life when I started in the business,” she said. “I couldn’t even touch my toes.”
4. Fame isn’t her favorite thing
After starring in 11 films, Q said she felt like a “hunted animal” in Hong Kong. She was a mega-star there, but ‘Nikita’ is pretty much her introduction to mainstream American TV audiences. “I could never have a boyfriend,” she told New York Magazine. “I couldn’t grocery shop for myself. I got very depressed by it.”
5. Bruce Willis thinks she’s perfect
Q didn’t have to audition for her role in ‘Live Free or Die Hard.’ In an interview with CNN, Q said Willis and the director offered her the part. “Bruce was basically like, look, you’re it. I mean, I see you, this is you, this role. And I was like, oh, uh, OK. I had no idea what to say in response to that.” Willis told BANG Showbiz he was impressed with Q’s skills. “I hit her with a light-switch, I give her my best left-hook, and she gets up and I’m like, damn this girl is rough. So, she really sold it. Well done, really well done.”
6. She does most of her own stunts
After receiving training from Jackie Chan, Q said she feels the need to do her own stunts. “I owe it to my audience. And I’m not 70, so I might as well while I can,” she told New York Magazine. However, these stunts don’t come without harm. “I got smashed in the face with a piece of two-by-four, which left one side of my face completely black for two weeks,” she told Maxim UK. “I’m also deaf in one ear where my eardrum was blown out in an explosive stunt.”
7. That phoenix tattoo is real
Q has a tattoo of a phoenix on her hip that often required covering up, but not for ‘Nikita.’ Posters for the series have Q in a very revealing outfit, the tattoo front and center. According to Zap2It, Q said the tattoo helps her character. “It’s keeping with who [Nikita] is. She was that street kid, she was hard core,” she said.