Maggie Denise Quigley aka Maggie Q was born to a Polish-Irish American father and a Vietnamese mother. Her father met her mother during the Vietnam War. Maggie has two older half-siblings from her mother’s previous marriage, and two older sisters. The family moved to Hawaii and settled in Mililani.
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.
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. Maggie 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, Maggie 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. Then, in 2005, Maggie 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, which was narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.
Her mainstream breakthrough came in 2006, where 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 villain Mai Linh in the Bruce Willis movie Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth film in the Die Hard series. She also starred in comedy Balls of Fury as ping-pong specialist Maggie.
In 2008, Q played 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 starred 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.
In 2010, she became the lead character, an assassin gone rogue, on the new CW series, Nikita, a revamp of the movie/TV title. In addition, she also starred King of Fighters, the live-action feature based on the video game of the same name. Q also starred in the action/comedy Operation: Endgame as government assassin High Priestess. In 2011, she will star as Priestess alongside Paul Bettany in Priest which is set to release in May.