Margaret Denise Quigley (born May 22, 1979), professionally known as Maggie Q, is an American actress and model. She achieved international fame starring as the title role on The CW's action-thriller series Nikita that aired from 2010 to 2013. In 2014, she portrayed Tori Wu in the film adaption of Veronica Roth's novel Divergent, and stars in the Kevin Williamson CBS drama series Stalker as Lieutenant Beth Davis.
Q was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her father is of Irish and Polish descent and her mother is a Vietnamese immigrant. Her parents met while her father was stationed in Vietnam during the war. Q grew up with four siblings.
Q attended Mililani Waena Elementary School and Wheeler Intermediate School. She then attended Mililani High School, where she was on the cross country, track and field, and swim teams. She won the title of "Best Body" senior year, and graduated from Mililani High School in 1997. She won an athletics scholarship to a private university and intended to study veterinary science. Q's family was unable to assist her financially; she left Hawaii during the summer in hopes of earning enough money so that she could start her studies in the autumn.
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. 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." 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."
In 1998, 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.
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.
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, 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 who introduced Jackman's character to an exclusive anonymous sex club list.
In 2010, she became the lead character, an assassin gone rogue, on the new CW series, Nikita, a revamp of the movie/TV title. Q since the premiere of Nikita has been incorrectly stated as the first Asian American series lead in an American television drama, this is not true as it was actually the actress Anna May Wong who was the first Asian American series lead of an American television series with her show The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong which aired back in 1951.
A vegetarian for many years, she once said that giving up meat is one of the most rewarding decisions she has ever made. "I feel better, I have more energy on and off the set, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I'm doing something to help stop animal suffering." In 2008, Maggie Q was named PETA Asia-Pacific's "Person of the Year." The same year, the organization also listed Q as one of the "Best-Dressed Celebrities" of 2008. She has since taken the step to cut all animal products from her diet by becoming a vegan.
Q previously dated Hong Kong actor Daniel Wu who also was a costar of Naked Weapon. 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. Q also suffered temporary hearing loss in her right ear, when her eardrum was blown out in an explosive stunt.
In 2007, she lived in Studio City, Los Angeles, California with her two (at one point, eight) rescued dogs. She also has a house in Pound Ridge, New York.