Detour into TV action series fires up actress

New Faces for Fall:
Sharon Horgan | Jon Michael Hill | Billy Gardell | Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe | Andrew Lincoln | Holt McCallany | Michael Pitt | Maggie Q | Ruth Wilson | James Wolk
Fall TV Preview 2010

The large swirling phoenix tattooed on Maggie Q’s hip makes a dramatic statement about both her life and her starring role on the CW’s “Nikita.”

“The tattoo is a symbol of me, rising from nothing and working hard to make something,” says Q, who left her native Hawaii just after high school to pursue modeling and acting in Asia. “It’s been a long road — 13 years.”

The former Margaret Quigley, daughter of an American serviceman and Vietnamese mom, quickly found success in high-octane Asian films before appearing in “Mission: Impossible III” with Tom Cruise (2006) and “Live Free or Die Hard” with Bruce Willis (2007).

“As lucky as I’ve been in other people’s films, it’s good to have my own thing,” she says. “It’s hard being a woman known for action films. Now you have Angelina (Jolie) in ‘Salt,’ but when I started, it wasn’t the cool thing to do as an actress.”

She didn’t consider television until she was offered “Nikita,” a layered character with much to build on. And it falls right in line with a path she feels she’s been destined to walk.

“There’s no room to get your bearings when you do Asian films, which are emotionally and physically draining. I was groomed to be in this role right now,” Q says of making movies in as little as two weeks to a month. “It’s a workload I can handle and a genre I’m familiar with. The road I’ve traveled has brought me here.”

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