Life and Career
Hu is an American actress, voice actress, and former fashion model. She was Miss Teen USA 1985 and Miss Hawaii USA 1993. Hu starred as Dr. Rae Chang on the American television soap opera Sunset Beach and as Michelle Chan on the American television police drama series Nash Bridges. She has also starred in numerous films including The Scorpion King (2002) as Sorceress Cassandra, Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) as Sona, X2 as Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike (2003), The Tournament (2009) as Lai Lai Zhen, and White Frog (2012). Hu has had recurring roles as Pearl on the CW series The Vampire Diaries, as China White on the CW series Arrow, as Abigail Cho on the Syfy series Warehouse 13, as Stacy Hirano in the Disney Channel animated series Phineas and Ferb, and as Oroku Karai/Hamato Miwa on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Hu modeled in Japan and Italy, and became well known in the latter as the star of a series of television advertisements for Philadelphia brand cream cheese, playing a young Japanese college student named Kaori.
Hu won the title of Miss Hawaii USA in 1993, becoming the first former Miss Teen USA to win a Miss USA state title. In the 1993 Miss USA pageant, held in Wichita, Kansas, Hu entered the top 10 in second place, after winning the preliminary interview competition and placing second and third, respectively, in swimsuit and evening gown. She then 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 2/100 of a point from the final three.
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 various television series, including Night Court," Tour of Duty, 21 Jump Street and Melrose Place. Her first film role was in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. In 1995, Hu starred as an undercover police officer in the film No Way Back. Hu was cast as Dr. Rae Chang on Sunset Beach for six months in 1997. Afterwards, she was cast as police officers Michelle Chan in the television series Nash Bridges, and Pei Pei "Grace" Chen on Martial Law. Her subsequent film appearances include The Scorpion King (2002), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), and X2 (2003) as Yuriko Oyama/Deathstrike.
She was Agent Mia Chen on the last three episodes of the television series Threat Matrix in 2004. She also starred in 2005's Underclassman alongside Nick Cannon and in 2006's Americanese, Undoing and Devil's Den. During the first quarter of 2007, she completed filming the film Stilletto, followed by Farmhouse.
In January 2007, Hu began appearing in a full-time role on the television series In Case of Emergency. She played Kelly Lee, a Korean American woman who accidentally reunites with her high school classmates and realizes none of them grew up according to their high school plans. The show did not have a successful run, being cancelled after airing 12 episodes and leaving its season finale un-aired. The same year she appeared in films The Air I Breathe and Shanghai Kiss.
In 2009, she appeared in the film The Tournament as Lai-Lai Zhen. In April 2009, Hu developed the character JIA for Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology. She was the first guest actor to cross over between the television series NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS, playing Lee Wuan Kai in a two-episode arc within both series. In 2010 and 2011, Hu guest-starred as a vampire named Pearl on the CW television series The Vampire Diaries.
In 2010, Hu began a recurring role on the CBS television series Hawaii Five-0. In 2012, Hu was cast in the role of Karai in the animated series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She commented: "It wouldn't quite be the first time I played a ninja, I think. Yeah, I don't know why people think I'm dangerous, but for some reason, I keep getting these roles for the ninja, assassin, bodyguard, bad-girl type." In 2013, she joined the cast of the series Warehouse 13 as Abigail Cho, the new owner of the Warehouse-connected B&B.
She also provided voice talents in video games including Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords as Visas Marr, the Sith woman who joins the Jedi Exile's party, and Batman: Arkham Origins as Lady Shiva, among the eight assassins hired by Black Mask to kill Batman. In a personal first, she lent both her face and voice to the in-game character Khai Minh Dao in Battlefield Hardline, who partnered alongside the protagonist in roughly half of the game levels.
Hu has been featured twice in Maxim magazine (May 2002 and May 2005). In 2015, she became the face of Viagra, appearing in the commercials.
Notes and Trivia
- She was Miss Hawaii USA in 1993.
- She was the very first Asian American female to be crowned Miss Teen USA (1985).
- Her older brother is a Lt. Colonel in US Army.
- Her father raised exotic birds.
- She has a black belt in karate.
- She has a dog named Mushu.
- She was the first Asian-American to be featured on the cover of Maxim magazine. That issue was the biggest-selling issue in the magazine's history.
- In May 2005, she visited with soldiers in Iraq alongside Dean Cain and Amanda Swisten. Unfortunately, she had to cut her visit short due to personal matters.
- Co-owned a fast food restaurant, Basic Bites, with her ex-boyfriend.
- Her mother worked as a Draftsperson for City and County of Honolulu.