Margaret Denise Quigley (born May 22, 1979), professionally known as Maggie Q, is an American actress, animal rights activist and former fashion model. She achieved international fame starring as the title role on The CW‘s action-thriller series Nikita that aired in 2010-2013. In 2014, she began portraying Tori Wu in the film adaption of Veronica Roth‘s bestselling novel, Divergent, and will star in a Kevin Williamson CBS drama series Stalker as Detective Beth Davis.
Quigley 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 Vietnam 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.
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.
1998–2009: Start of acting career
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 Copsthe 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 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.
Q also stars in the video game 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.
2010–present: Nikita, Divergent and Stalker
In 2010, she became the lead character, an assassin gone rogue, on the new CW series, Nikita, a revamp of the movie/TV title. Since the premiere of Nikita, Q 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.