She’s cracked skulls in a lotta sequels—Rush Hour 2, Mission: Impossible III, Live Free or Die Hard—but this weekend, Maggie Q helps start what could be a hot new franchise: priests vs. vampires. No, really. In Priest (trailer at bottom), she stars as a warrior priestess who helps Paul Bettany take a bunch of fang bangers out behind the woodshed. Of course, kicking ass while looking damn sexy is what Q does best, as anyone who watches the CW’s Nikita (season finale tonight, 8/9c) knows. She talks a good game, too.

MADE MAN: Heard the Priest audition was a little wacky.
MAGGIE Q: Every actress that walked in for this role was in heels, with their hair all done and boobage, and I really thought I was in the wrong place, as the last time I checked the role was for a priest! So why would you have all that smoky eye makeup and dress like you are going to a nightclub? I was just there in my ratty jeans and a Beastie Boys T-shirt and was mortified looking at everyone. I am thrilled the director loved what I did, which is how I got the part.

MM: You do a lot of your own stunts. Ever get tired of kicking ass?
MQ: No, I’m lucky. I think there are so many women who would just love to do what I do. It’s been 14 years in this action genre for me.

MM: Do you think that guys are afraid of you?
MQ: I hope so! They should be.

MM: If a woman can kick a guy’s ass, do you think he’d be less into her?
MQ: I don’t think so, I think he’d be more! I think men like that kind of a challenge. That makes it a little more interesting.

MM: On the flip side, if a guy has martial arts skills, would that make you more into him?
MQ: It’s sexy for any man to just be good at what they do, whatever it is. That’s sexy for men or women.


MM: Who wins in a fight, Nikita or Priestess?
MQ: Well, the priests have been given heightened abilities, a heightened gift, whereas Nikita has had to earn her gift. But Nikita is so well armed. My question is always, where do all the weapons come from? She is wearing a bikini in some scenes, so where does the gun get hidden?!?

MM: How exciting was it for you to be the first Asian-American lead actress on television?
MQ: Very! The biggest thing is, this opens the door for other people behind me who are just now coming up. I really don’t know why it hasn’t happened until now. As Asians, we have a responsibility to turn down the things that we feel aren’t respectful to us, or are stereotyping us, or are keeping us in a corner. And really, just holding out for the things that matter and will make a difference.

MM: You have a face tattoo in the movie. Any special stories behind your three actual tattoos?
MQ: Yeah. I only do things that mean something to me, very deeply. I’m a big animal rights activist, so one of the tattoos I have is about compassion, which is not something that will ever not be a part of who I am.

MM: You’ve done a lot of sexy work with PETA. If you were on a date and a guy ordered steak, would you give him a lecture?
MQ: I used to be that person, but I think that the power now is just leading by example. I so don’t like to tell people what to do, which is, I think, less convincing. People don’t like to feel judged. So, if they ask me, that means they’re ready for the information. That’s how I’m rocking it these days.

MM: Any other advice for dating tough girls?
MQ: I would say don’t try to change her. Just appreciate her and you’ll keep her.