maggie q tca 2010 320 'Nikita': Maggie Q reveals her tattoo's origin storyWhat’s in a name? And if “Nikita” is a sequel, would it smell as kick-ass as the original?

The new fall CW drama continues the adventures of spy-assassin Nikita after she’s gone rogue, but also pays tribute to that dark origin story with a new generation of young kids, ready to be led astray by a shadowy agency.

Maggie Q — so jauntily named because the people in Asia had problems pronouncing her last name “Quigley” — identifies with the Nikita story about a girl who came from nothing and then was built up. Well, she didn’t become an assassin, but in a way, she was created to be a tough fighter by martial arts legend Jackie Chan.

At the “Nikita” session at Thursday’s (July 29) press tour, Q reveals that in her youth she traveled to Asia as a broke student, intending to only be there two months, but ended up staying eight years, working with Chan and doing martial arts projects.

“It was a struggle to be a woman in the business and I was incredibly inexperienced,” she says. “It has totally molded me into the actor I am, learning things on the fly, whether it’s languages, whether it’s action. We don’t have unions in Asia, so when I came to American and they told me ‘You’re going to work 12-hour days,’ I almost fainted. I couldn’t believe it. I had never worked a 12-hour day. I’ve worked 16-18-hour days every day.”

Another way her time in Asia changed her life can be seen in the “Nikita” poster, more specifically on her upper thigh and hip. The tattoo of a phoenix is her own, and Q is thrilled she doesn’t have to hide them with makeup to play Nikita.

“It’s keeping with who [Nikita] is. She was that street kid, she was hard core,” she explains.

nikita poster 500 'Nikita': Maggie Q reveals her tattoo's origin storyThe phoenix — just one of three tattoos Q sports — has a curious origin story of its own. Apparently, while living in Asia, she tagged along with friends who’d visit fortunetellers.

“They’d always look at me at the end of the session and tell me, ‘You’re a bird.’ Always,” she says. “I didn’t get it. As I started getting older, I got it. I met an artist who basically said, ‘You understand what bird you represent. You’re a phoenix because you’ve come from nothing and you’re building something.’ I wanted it to be the bird of strength.”

Maggie Q will bring her strength and tattoo to “Nikita” this fall, beginning Thursday, Sept. 9 on The CW.

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Photo credits: Getty Images, The CW

Posted by:Hanh Nguyen