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Kelly Hu

Kelly Ann Hu (born February 13, 1968) is an American actress and former fashion model who held the Miss Teen USA 1985 title. Her fantasy hottie claim to fame is her role in The Scorpion King, and her portrayal of Lady Deathstrike in the X-Men. Hu was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the daughter of Juanita, an engineering drafter for Honolulu, and Herbert Hu, a salesman and exotic bird feeder; the two divorced during Hu's childhood. She is of English, Chinese and Hawaiian descent. She attended Maʻemaʻe Elementary School and Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, Hawaii. 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. To gain publicity, Kelly 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. 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 (she played a young Japanese college student named Kaori). Hu moved to Los Angeles and began her acting career in 1987 with a guest starring role 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. Hu also won the title of Miss Hawaii USA in 1993 and was a top 6 finalist at the 1993 Miss USA pageant held in Wichita, Kansas. She made the top 6 in 2nd place after the swimsuit and evening gown competition but fell to 5th place after a low score in the judges questions. Hu played an undercover police officer in the movie No Way Back. While the movie was not a major success, it opened a new career direction for Hu in action adventure roles. 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 Exile's party. Hu has been featured twice in Maxim magazine (May 2002 and May 2005).
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