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Model-turned-actress Maggie Q feeds Q-riosity of excellence
( 2003-12-12 09:14) (straitstimes)

Tell Hong Kong-based Maggie Q that she is a Model-Turned-Actress and the beautiful one laughs out loud. 'Yes, I'm a cliche. But I don't care,' the 24-year-old exclaims in a girlish voice, unembarrassed.

Maggie Q - her surname stands for Quigley - was in Singapore on Aug 14 as the new flawless face for American skincare brand, Dermalogica.

Maggie Q is the new flawless face for American skincare brand Dermalogica.
'I don't blame these stereotypes,' she rattles in an American drawl. 'Look at Cindy Crawford and Elle MacPherson. Just because one can doesn't mean one should,' she says, referring to the lacklustre acting efforts by the supermodels.

While the sylph-like Eurasian would not comment on her own craft, critics have been kind towards her few roles to date. Her most famous role was playing an FBI agent in Gen Y Cops (2000), which also starred Nicholas Tse.

Last year, her stage debut in Hong Kong even earned her rave reviews. South China Morning Post journalist Tom Hilditch wrote that Maggie's was 'a star performance'.

In British playwright David Pinner's All Hallow's Eve, she tackled the role of a 16-year-old exploring her budding sexuality. She calls the 13-show stint one of her most memorable experiences, and believes the intense six-week rehearsals have honed her thespian skills.

'It was David who pushed and told me that I could do it at times when I doubted myself,' she says. For all her good luck in theatre and films, Maggie - who measures a stunning 34-24-34 and is dressed top-to-toe in an all-Celine get-up of blue satin top and smooth leather pants - still has her grouses.

The model-turned-actress will also be featured in Love Asia, a Sports Illustrated-styled publication lensed by Singaporean photographer Leslie Kee. -- THE NEW PAPER

At her suite at the Four Season's Hotel, she laments that rehearsal periods, which are common in Western film productions, are scarce in Asia.

'Here, it's one rush job after another because of insufficient funds or time,' she explains earnestly. 'Asian actors lack focus. Most dabble in a bit of this and a bit of that. The end product suffers.'

As if on an offensive, the 1.7m-tall vivacious star did not reserve her criticisms just for the Asian film industry. She also took shots at the Hong Kong paparazzi.

'I'm not nice to them because they aren't to me. It cuts both ways. The media there thrives on the bad press. I can do no good.'

She recounts one of her brushes with them.

'The media often ran pictures of me blinking or laughing, and the next thing, they'd say I'm high and drunk. Please,' she says, contorting her face for effect.

Her latest run-in with the media was related to her most recent film, Manhattan Midnight. She went topless for the 2001 film, which was directed by Alfred Chung and stars Michael Wong and American actor Richard Grieco.

'The scene was just three minutes. But the press made the entire film sound like a pornographic flick. The media never differentiates that it's the character I played that stripped, not Maggie Q.'

Then comes the coda.

'Press reports can hurt sometimes. It makes it hard to have a decent relationship,' she admits.

She ended a highly-publicised relationship with Chinese-American actor Daniel Wu in 2001. The couple were an item before either of them became famous.


BORN Margaret Denise Quigley in Honolulu, Hawaii, she is the youngest in a family of four girls and a boy. Her New York-born, Irish-Polish father met her Vietnamese mother while serving as a G.I. in the Vietnam War.

It explains her unique, head-turning looks: fine cheek bones and a smooth-as-china complexion accented with a few cute freckles.

At 17, she headed for Japan for six months of modelling after her Eurasian friends told her there was money to be made. A year later in 1998, she went to Taiwan for two months. It was a trying time - she did not get any assignments.

'I had a one-way ticket to Hong Kong. It was my last chance. If I didn't make money, I'd go home,' she recalls.

Thankfully, commercial work rolled in. She modelled for the likes of Chanel and Gucci and appeared on magazine covers. Her big break came in 2000, when she had a role in Gen Y Cops. These days, Maggie, who idolises fellow actress Maggie Cheung, takes it at a slower pace. She is in the process of developing her own low-budget independent movie about a supermodel who stalks her fans. It is co-written with her scriptwriter friend, Bey Logan, whose writing credits include Gen Y Cops and Twins Effects.

Then, there is Love Asia, a Sports Illustrated-styled publication, lensed by Singaporean photographer Leslie Kee. Maggie is one of 12 models featured in the title, which is due out later this year.

Probe her about her romances, and Maggie, who was last romantically linked with Nakata Hidetoshi, the midfielder of Italian football club Parma, becomes all pensive.

'I like Asian men. I cannot fathom dating Caucasians. They don't have to be pretty boys or beautiful. I can accept flaws in a man,' she says cautiously.

Have any of her former boyfriends come close to fitting that mould? She smiles. 'One of them was my ideal type, but I'm not naming names,' she teases.

And although she is a picture of composure and confidence, she admits to feeling insecure sometimes. 'I lack faith sometimes. I feel that I don't live up to other people's expectations of me,' she says.

But she looks confident, you point out.

Then comes her riposte, delivered with an exaggerated voice and impish expression.

'Why, that's because I'm a good actress!'

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