Maggie Q

Margaret Denise Quigley[2] (born May 22, 1979),[3] professionally known as Maggie Q, is an American actress, model and animal rights activist. She is known for starring as the title role on The CW action-thriller series Nikita (2010–13). She also starred as former-FBI agent and CIA Case Officer Hannah Wells in the political drama series Designated Survivor (2016–19).[4]

Maggie Q
Q at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2010
Margaret Denise Quigley

(1979-05-22) May 22, 1979[1]
ResidencePound Ridge, New York
Other namesMaggie D. Quigley
OccupationActress, model, health advocate
Years active1998–present

Q had starring roles in the action films Mission: Impossible III (2006), Live Free or Die Hard (2007), and Priest (2011). She portrayed Tori Wu in the dystopian science-fiction action film Divergent (2014), and reprised her role in the sequels, Insurgent (2015) and Allegiant (2016).[5]

Early life

Q was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.[6][7] Her father is of Irish and Polish descent[8] and her mother is a Vietnamese immigrant.[7][9] Her parents met while her father was stationed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.[10][11] Q has four siblings,[7] and was raised Catholic.[12]

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 in 1997.[7] 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 fall.[13]


1996–2005: Modeling and Hong Kong films

At the suggestion of a friend, Q began modeling in Tokyo, Japan, at the age of 17, before making an unsuccessful move to Taipei, Taiwan, and finally trying in Hong Kong, where she started going by the stage name "Maggie Q" because the locals couldn't pronounce Quigley properly.[7][10][14] 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."[9] But it was in Hong Kong that she was selected by Jackie Chan, who saw in her 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."[10]

In 1998,[15] 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 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.[7]

In 2002, she starred as martial artist assassin Charlene Ching in the action film Naked Weapon. In 2004 she co-starred with Kelly Hu, Russell Wong and other Asian-American actors in a 30-second PSA produced by Mark Allen for CAUSE USA (Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment), The Least Likely, encouraging Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to register and vote.[16][17][18][19] 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.[20]

2006–2013: Hollywood career and Nikita

In 2006 Q made her Hollywood breakthrough as co-star in Mission: Impossible III alongside Tom Cruise. 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,[7] 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[15] 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.[21]

In 2010, Q became the lead character, an assassin gone rogue, on the CW series Nikita, based on the 1990 French film of the same name.[10] Since the premiere of Nikita, Q has been incorrectly described as the first Asian American series lead in an American television drama;[22] actress Anna May Wong is the first Asian American series lead of an American television series with her show The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong which aired 1951.[23] Q received mostly positive reviews for her role in the series.[24][25] The character was included in TV Guide's lists of "TV's Sexiest Crime Fighters" and "TV's Toughest Ladies".[26][27]

2014–present: Television work

In 2014, Q played the role of Dauntless faction member Tori Wu, in the film Divergent, the adaptation of the same-titled novel.[5] Q reprised her role in the sequel to Divergent, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, which began filming on May 27, 2014 and was released on March 20, 2015. She also starred in the CBS drama series Stalker[28] by Kevin Williamson as Detective Beth Davis along with Dylan McDermott and Mariana Klaveno.[29] The series premiered on October 1, 2014 for the 2014–15 fall television season.[30][31] The series was ordered for a full season on October 27, 2014.[32] The series however was canceled after one season, leaving the show on a cliffhanger.[33] In October 2013, Q started filming for A Conspiracy on Jekyll Island, starring alongside Frank Grillo, AnnaSophia Robb, Dianna Agron, John Leguizamo, Ed Westwick, Mary McCormack, Christopher McDonald and Minnie Driver.[34] The film is directed by Aram Rappaport and produced by Hilary Shor, Atit Shah and Aaron Becker. Jekyll Island is set to release in 2016.[35]

She reprised her role in The Divergent Series: Allegiant, the third installment of the Divergent series, which was released on March 18, 2016.[36] In February 2016, it was announced that she would co-star opposite Kiefer Sutherland in the ABC drama series Designated Survivor as Hannah Wells, a leading FBI agent.[4] The show was renewed by Netflix for a third and final season, which was released on June 7, 2019.[37]

Personal life

Q dated Los Angeles based businessman Paul Alfonso from 2009 until they split in 2010. Having met on-set in early 2014, on January 14, 2015, it was announced that Q was engaged to her Stalker co-star Dylan McDermott,[38] though the couple stated, in 2017, that they are not in any rush to have an actual wedding ceremony.[39] As of February 2019, the couple have split after a four-year engagement.[40]

She has five tattoos: a cross on her right forearm, Tibetan script and a little triangle on her left forearm, and an Zulu proverb on her side "umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu", which means "a person's character is made by the collective". She has one of a phoenix on her left hip, which she has had to conceal for most of her roles except Nikita.[41] Q also suffered temporary hearing loss in her right ear, when her eardrum was damaged during an explosive stunt.[42]

In 2007, she lived in Studio City, Los Angeles, California with her two (at one point, eight) rescued dogs.[7][43] She also has a house in Pound Ridge, New York.[44][45]


Q is outspoken on the subject of animal rights and has taken part in PETA Asia's campaigns promoting vegetarianism.[46]

A vegetarian for many years, she has 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."[47] 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.[48] PETA declared her to be one of three "Sexiest Vegans" of 2017.[49] Maggie Q is currently an ambassador for Animals Asia Foundation.[50]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Model from Hell Anna Chinese: 鬼名模
Gen-Y Cops Jane Quigley Chinese: 特警新人類2
2001 Manhattan Midnight Susan / Hope
Rush Hour 2 Girl in car
2002 Naked Weapon Charlene Ching Chinese: 赤裸特工
2003 The Trouble-Makers Miss Clary Chinese: 一屋兩火
2004 Magic Kitchen May Chinese: 魔幻厨房
2004 Around the World in 80 Days Female Agent
Rice Rhapsody Gigi Chinese: 海南雞飯
2005 Taped Maggie Short film
Dragon Squad Yuet Chinese: 猛龍
2006 Mission: Impossible III Zhen Lei
2007 The Counting House Jade
Live Free or Die Hard Mai Linh
Balls of Fury Maggie Wong
2008 Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon Cao Ying Chinese: 三國之見龍卸甲
Deception Tina
New York, I Love You Janice Taylor Segment: "Yvan Attal"
2009 The Warrior and the Wolf Harran Woman Chinese: 狼灾记
2010 Operation: Endgame High Priestess
The King of Fighters Mai Shiranui
2011 Priest Priestess
2014 Divergent Tori Wu
Unity Narrator Documentary
2015 The Divergent Series: Insurgent Tori Wu
2016 The Divergent Series: Allegiant Tori Wu
2017 The Crash Hilary
Slumber Alice
2018 The Con Is On Irina
Modest Heroes Mom (voice) Segment: "Life Ain't Gonna Lose"
2020 Fantasy Island N/A Post-production
TBA The Death of Me Actor Post-production
TBA The Argument Sarah Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1998 House of the Dragon Devine Recurring role
2002 Mission in Trouble Yeung Lan Main role; Chinese: 雄心密令
2005 House of Harmony Harmony Television film
2010–13 Nikita Nikita Mears Lead role; 73 episodes
2012–19 Young Justice Wonder Woman (voice) Recurring role; 6 episodes
2014–15 Stalker Beth Davis / Michelle Webber Lead role; 20 episodes
2016–19 Designated Survivor Hannah Wells Main role; 50 episodes
TBA Queen of Canton Ching Shih Lead role

Video games

Year Title Voice role Notes
2008 Need for Speed: Undercover Chase Linh

Music videos

Year Artist Title
2000 Chris Yu "Subway"
2002 Santana featuring Michelle Branch "The Game of Love"

As producer

Year Title Notes
2005 Earthlings Co-producer
2006 Love Asia Producer
TBA Queen of Canton Executive producer

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result
2007 Asian Excellence Awards Supporting Film Actress Mission: Impossible III Won
2009 Hawaii International Film Festival Maverick Award The Warrior and the Wolf Won
2010 IGN Summer Movie Awards Best TV Hero Nikita Nominated
2011 Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Action Nominated
2012 IGN Summer Movie Awards Best TV Hero Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Action Nominated
2013 TV Guide Awards Best Ensemble Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Action Nominated
2014 Young Hollywood Awards Best Cast Chemistry – Film Divergent Nominated


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