With her starring role as a former assassin on the CW drama Nikita, plus film roles opposite Bruce Willis in Live Free or Die Hard and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III, Maggie Q has established herself a force to be reckoned with. The Coldwater Canyon resident teased what’s to come in the season finale of Nikita (“There will be death,” she says) and chatted about the healthy, active lifestyle that’s lent itself to her butt-kicking roles—not to mention a rocking body. —Jessica Radloff
How did the nickname Maggie Q come about?
I started my career in Asia. I’m Vietnamese, but I’m also half Irish and Polish. The Asian community couldn’t pronounce my last name [Quigley] because it’s so Irish. They named me Maggie Q in all the papers. So it began…. I had no choice in it! [Laughs.]
Do you think having a unique name has helped you be remembered in the industry?
I can’t say. I only know that my theater friends call it my porn name.
You began your acting career in Hong Kong. What made you decide to move from your native Hawaii to Hong Kong and then to L.A.?
I was a broke student with very few options. I was lucky a friend brought me with her on a trip to Asia. It was so exciting as I had barely left the island as a kid. I was [instantly] hooked. I had to explore and never thought it would have led me to entertainment. In 2005, I was cast in Mission: Impossible III, which brought me back to the States.
Are there any action stars you’d like to work with?
Maybe Zoe Saldana. I think she’s beautiful and smart, and such a wonderful actress—very believable. She’s an example of [someone who is] furthering females in the genre, too.
You won the title of “Best Bod” in your senior year of high school. How do you stay active?
Ha! Well, I suppose in high school having a little boy body is what was in, because I was just an athlete! Definitely not hot at all! It makes me laugh. I really only do yoga. And I take advantage of all the hiking in L.A.
Who do you see for your beauty needs?
Louise Deschamps and Cristina Radu [for facials]. You would be lucky to know them, but good luck getting an appointment!
You’re a vegetarian and an animal-rights activist. Does that inform where you like to eat?
I do choose restaurants based on where they source and a variety of vegetarian options. Cru in Silver Lake is great. I also like RFD (Real Food Daily), Cafe Gratitude, Madeleine Bistro in Encino, Sun Cafe, The Vegan Plate and Vegan World in Studio City. These are all perfect examples of compassionate, natural, sustainable, incredibly delicious eating!
You’re also an animal lover. You’ve rescued dogs, right?
I have three rescues, named Lady, Pedro and Cesar. Two are 14, and one is 10.
Do you have any favorite pet boutiques?
Maxwell Dog in Studio City is the best dog store on the planet. And even better is Jillian who works there. I want to squeeze her every time I go there!
Cafe Gratitude 639 N. Larchmont Blvd., L.A., 323.580.6383 Cristina Radu European Skincare 8712 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.855.0888 Cru 1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Silver Lake, 323.667.1551 Madeleine Bistro 18621 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, 818.758.6971 Maxwell Dog 12336 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818.505.8411 Real Food Daily 414 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A., 310.289.9910 Sun Cafe 3711 Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City, 818.308.7420 The Vegan Plate 11943 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818.506.9015 Vegan World 11044 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818.985.9544