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Kelly Hu
Chinese name 胡凱麗 (Traditional)
Chinese name 胡凯丽 (Simplified)
Birth name Kelly Ann Hu
Born February 13, 1968 (1968-02-13) (age 41)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Years active 1987 - present

Kelly Ann Hu (simplified Chinese: 胡凯丽traditional Chinese: 胡凱麗pinyin: Hú Kǎilì; born February 13, 1968) is an American actress and former fashion model who held the Miss Teen USA 1985 and Miss Hawaii USA 1993 titles. Of Chinese, Hawaiian and English origins, she played a pioneering role in the representation of Asian Americans in the United States, and actively encourages Asian Americans to participate in the democratic process.



Early life

Hu was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the daughter of Juanita, an engineering drafter for Honolulu, and Herbert Hu, a salesman and exotic bird breeder; the two divorced during Hu's childhood.[1] She is of Hawaiian, Chinese, and English descent.[2] She attended Maʻemaʻe Elementary School and Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Kelly Hu as Miss Hawaii Teen USA 1985

Hu has held a lifelong interest in singing and dancing and has also been interested in martial arts since her early childhood, when her older brother would arrange for her to fight neighborhood boys. Hu's cousin was a successful model in Japan and Hu decided to follow her example. She won the Miss Hawaii Teen USA 1985 title and competed in the Miss Teen USA 1985 pageant, becoming the third Miss Teen USA titleholder. Hu has mentioned in interviews that her mother had told her America was not ready for an Asian as such a prominent role model. However, Hu became the first Asian American to win the title. Ironically enough, she discovered after winning that she was prohibited from appearing in non-contest related activities for the year of her reign, this rule soon changed later on the coming years.


Hu worked in Japan and Italy, the latter in which she became well-known as the star of a series of ads for Philadelphia brand cream cheese, playing a young Japanese college student named Kaori. Hu moved to Los Angeles and began her acting career in 1987 with a guest starring role as Mike Seaver's Hawaiian love interest on the sitcom Growing Pains. Hu followed this with appearances on TV series such as Night Court, Tour of Duty, 21 Jump Street, and Melrose Place and her first movie role in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan as one of Jason Voorhees' victims. Hu also won the title of Miss Hawaii USA in 1993, became the first former Miss Teen USA to win a Miss USA state title, and went on to compete in the 1993 Miss USA pageant held in Wichita, Kansas. She entered the top 10 in second place, after winning the preliminary interview competition and placing second and third in swimsuit and evening gown. Then she made the top 6 ranked second, winning the top 10 evening gown competition and placing second in swimsuit. She was eliminated in 4th place after the judges' questions, just two hundredths of a point from the Final 3.

In 1995, Hu played an undercover police officer in the movie No Way Back. She was then cast as Dr. Rae Chang on Sunset Beach for six months in 1997. Afterwards, Hu was cast as police officers Michelle Chan in the television series Nash Bridges (1997 – 1998), as Pei Pei "Grace" Chen on Martial Law (1998 – 2000), and as Agent Mia Chen on the last three episodes of the television series Threat Matrix (2004). Her subsequent movie appearances include The Scorpion King (2002), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) and X2 (2003). She provided voice talents for the popular video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords as Visas Marr, the Sith woman who joins the Jedi Exile's party. Hu has been featured twice in Maxim magazine (May 2002 and May 2005).

In January 2007, Hu began appearing in a full time role on the TV series In Case of Emergency. She plays Kelly Lee, a Korean American woman who accidentally reunites with her high school classmates, yet realizes none of them grew up according to their high school plans.

During the first quarter of 2007, she completed filming the film Stilletto, and after that, Farmhouse.

In the fall of 2009, she is due to appear in The Tournament as 'Lai-Lai Zhen'.

In 2010, Hu is set to star in Sanzhar Sultanov's crime drama The Story.[3][4]

Personal life

At Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, 2008.

Hu, a member of CAUSE USA,[5] an organization which encourages Asian Americans to participate in the democratic process, was instrumental in creating the PSA "The Least Likely".[6] This clip purports to be a promo for a typical fantasy-adventure movie, only to reveal its message at the end. It aired on MTV and other networks with appeal to young people and Asian Americans.

Hu graduated from Pepperdine University in Malibu, and currently resides in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. She has never been married.

Her brother, Glenn, is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army.

She is an avid fan of poker, and has frequently taken part in World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour competitions (amongst others), most recently taking part in the WPT Celebrity Charity on March 3, 2008.[7] She has taken part in's "Celebrity Poker Night" (May 30, 2006),[8] and in July 2006 she placed in the top 200 in the World Series of Poker Ladies Tournament, besting nearly 1,000 other competitors. Her celebrity teammates included Mimi Rogers, Victoria Pratt, Anne Heche, Mena Suvari, Jean Smart, and Ricki Lake.[9]

In January 2008, she participated in a video for Barack Obama produced by called "Yes We Can".[10] She campaigned for Obama in their native Hawaii in the run-up to the February 19 Democratic caucuses.[11] In February 2008, Hu also appeared in another viral video in support of Obama, "Sí Se Puede Cambiar", written and performed by Andrés Useche, directed by Eric Byler.


Movie roles

Hu as Lady Deathstrike in the film X2.

Television roles

Live-action roles

Voice roles

Video games roles

  • Afro Samurai (2009) - Okiku, Osachi
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising (2009) - Suki Toyama AI
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (2008) - Suki Toyama[12][13]
  • Ninja Blade (2009) - Ryoko Kurokawa
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords (2004) - Visas Marr
  • Terminator Salvation (2009) - Wells



External links

Preceded by
Malia Yamamura
Miss Hawaii Teen USA
Succeeded by
Michelle Hardin
Preceded by
Cherise Haugen
Miss Teen USA
Succeeded by
Allison Brown
Preceded by
Heather Hays
Miss Hawaii USA
Succeeded by
Nadine Tanega

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