Mission Very Possible

At Mililani High, Margaret Quigley did not run with the popular kids — she ran track and swam. Today, known as Maggie Q, she’s one of the hottest models and actresses in the world

Yu Shing Ting
Friday - June 22, 2007
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Above, Maggie takes aim in Live Free Or Die Hard Left, Maggie in a publicity shot
Above, Maggie takes aim in Live Free Or Die Hard
Left, Maggie in a publicity shot

Sexy and seductive Maggie Q may be relatively new to Hollywood, but this Hawaii-born beauty who stars in the upcoming movie Live Free or Die Hard (in theaters June 27) is on track to making the impossible possible - becoming a famous movie star.

For the record, she was already a top model and actress in Asia before landing her first leading role in an American film, starring opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III , which was released last year. Now, in addition to Live Free or Die Hard, moviegoers can look forward to seeing Maggie in the upcoming comedy Balls of Fury (to be released in September) and The Tourist (to be released in December).

While Maggie,28, admits to having worked very hard to get to where she is today, the 1997 Mililani High School graduate says she never dreamed of having a career in film. In fact, most of her childhood was spent competing in local cross country, track-and-field, and swimming events.

Maggie’s senior picture in the 1997 Mililani High yearbook
Maggie’s senior picture in the
1997 Mililani High yearbook

“I was not one of the popular kids,“she confesses.“The only thing I was in school was an athlete. My year was full of athletics, and I dare say that was the only thing I was kind of good at.”

Known to the world as Maggie Q, her former classmates, teachers and coaches remember her as Margaret “Maggie” Quigley. They also might remember her as the winner for Best Bod in the Mililani High Hoss Elections her senior year.

“She was a sweet girl,” remembers Edward Sawada, Maggie’s high school cross country coach.“She was a good distance runner, and she was very strong.You could push her and push her and she would do it.

“She was a hard worker, very humble, very caring and very pretty. I’m really proud of her.”

After high school, at the suggestion of a friend, Maggie moved to Japan to pursue modeling. From there, she moved to Taiwan and then to Hong Kong, where she would eventually reside off and on for eight years.

“When I was in Taiwan,they were not using me, I was completely rejected,“recalls Maggie on how she ended up in Hong Kong. “I cried every night, but it was OK because there was a purpose in all of it. In life we have to realize there’s always a bigger picture, so when you’re down and somebody is pulling you down,somebody else is pushing you up.

Just a few of the magazine covers that Maggie Q has graced
Just a few of the magazine covers that Maggie Q has graced

“One night, when I was down and out in Taiwan, I met this woman at a market and she gave me a phone number in case I ever decided to go to Hong Kong. She asked me what I did, and I said I wasn’t a model because I don’t work, and models work, and since I wasn’t working I couldn’t claim to be a model.

“She asked me why,and I said you know they just don’t like me here, and she said I think Hong Kong is a better place for you.I was like look, I don’t speak the language, I don’t know anybody, I’m scared. But she encouraged me to go because she said Hong Kong was a more international place than Taipei.”

That night, she returned to her room and took the advice of this complete stranger. She bought a one-way ticket to Hong Kong,called the number from the airport and took a bus to the office of a woman who 10 years later is still her manager today.While in Hong Kong, Maggie, who is half Vietnamese (from her mother) and half Irish and Polish (from her father) and stands 5-feet-6-inches tall,has appeared on more than 100 magazine covers including various Asian editions of Time, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Madame Figaro, Marie Claire and Elle.

She also began her acting career

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