Kelly Hu

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Kelly Hu
Kelly Hu on April 10, 2013 (by May S.Young).jpg
Hu at From Scotland With Love Fashion Show in New York City, April 2013
Born Kelly Ann Hu
(1968-02-13) February 13, 1968 (age 46)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Occupation Actress, former model
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. She was Miss Teen USA 1985 and Miss Hawaii USA 1993. Hu is best known for her role as Dr. Rae Chang on the American television soap opera Sunset Beach (1997). She has since starred in numerous TV shows and films including Nash Bridges (1997–1998), The Scorpion King (2002), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), X-Men 2 as Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike (2003), Underclassman (2005), The Tournament (2009), The Vampire Diaries (2010–2011) and White Frog (2012).

She currently recurs as China White on the CW series Arrow (2012–present) and Abigail Cho on the SyFy Network series Warehouse 13 (2013–present).

Early life[edit]

Hu was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the daughter of Juanita, an engineering drafter for Honolulu, and Herbert Hu, a salesman and exotic bird breeder. Her parents divorced during Hu's childhood.[1] Her brother, Glenn, is a Resource Manager in the United States Army.[2] She is of Native Hawaiian, English American and Chinese American descent.[3] She attended Maʻemaʻe Elementary School and Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

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


Kelly Hu as Miss Hawaii Teen USA 1985

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 movie 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 (1997–1998), and Pei Pei "Grace" Chen on Martial Law (1998–2000). Her subsequent movie 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 (2004). She also starred in 2005 Underclassman alongside Nick Cannon and in 2006 Americanese, Undoing and Devil's Den. During the first quarter of 2007, she completed filming the film Stilletto, and after that, 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 years she appeared in films The Air I Breathe and Shanghai Kiss.

In the fall of 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 spring of 2010, Kelly Hu played Pearl, a vampire, on the CW television series Vampire Diaries.[4]

In fall of 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 (2012). 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."[5] In 2013, she joined the cast of the series Warehouse 13 as Abigail Cho, the new owner of the Warehouse-connected B&B.

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).

Personal life[edit]

She is an avid poker fan and has frequently taken part in competitions such as the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour, including the WPT Celebrity Charity match on March 3, 2008.[6] She was part of's "Celebrity Poker Night" on May 30, 2006,[7] and in July 2006 placed in the top 200 in the World Series of Poker Ladies Tournament, besting nearly 1,000 other competitors.[8]


Kelly Hu in September 2010

Hu has supported the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment[9] and in 2004 starred in a public service announcement for them entitled "The Least Likely"[10] to encourage young Asian Americans to register and vote.

In 2007, Hu was a driver in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race a national fund-raising program supporting children’s hospitals throughout the United States.[11] In April 2011, Hu was a celebrity host for Save the Children's "Caring for Japan's Keiki" a benefit for Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims.[12][13] Also in 2011 she hosted a Celebrity Poker Tournament[14] in support for Best Buddies International, a charity to which she has given support for several years.[15][16]

In January 2008, Hu participated in a video for Barack Obama produced by called "Yes We Can".[17] She campaigned for Obama in Hawaii in the run-up to the February 19, 2008 Democratic caucuses.[18] 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. She was the emcee of the Asian American Action Fund's annual fundraiser on June 10, 2008.[19][20][21]

Hu has been active to protect the Hawaiian ecology. She supported[22] Reef Check Hawaii[23] by running in and successfully completing the Honolulu Marathon to raise awareness for the organization. She also gave support to the Shark Fin Ban which took effect in Hawaii July 2010.[24] This made it illegal to possess, sell, or distribute shark fins in Hawaii.


Film roles[edit]

Year Title Role
1989 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan Eva Watanabe
1990 American Eyes Emily
1991 The Doors Dorothy
1991 Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man Suzie
1993 Surf Ninjas Ro-May
1995 No Way Back Seiko Kobayashi
1995 Strange Days Anchor Woman
1996 Star Command Ens. Yukiko Fujisaki
1997 Fakin' da Funk Kwee-Me
2002 The Scorpion King Cassandra
2003 Cradle 2 the Grave Sona
2003 X2 Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike
2004 The Librarian: Quest for the Spear Lana
2005 Underclassman Lisa Brooks
2006 Americanese Brenda Nishitani
2006 Undoing Vera
2006 Devil's Den Caitlin
2007 The Air I Breathe Jiyoung
2007 Shanghai Kiss Micki Yang
2007 Succubus: Hell Bent Detective Pei
2008 Farmhouse Lilith
2008 Stiletto Detective Hanover
2008 Dim Sum Funeral Cindy
2009 The Tournament Lai Lai Zhen
2011 Almost Perfect Vanessa ("Van")
2011 What Women Want Girl in Lotto Commercial
2012 White Frog May Chung
2013 They Die By Dawn TBA[25]

Television roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1987–1988 Growing Pains Melia 3 episodes
1997 Sunset Beach Rae Chang 63 episodes
1997–1998 Nash Bridges Insp. Michelle Chan 23 episodes
1998–2000 Martial Law Chen Pei Pei (Grace Chen) 44 episodes
2003 Boomtown Rachel Durrel 2 episodes
2004 Threat Matrix Agent Mia Chen (3 episodes)
2005 Mayday Sharon Crandall (TV movie)
2005–2006 CSI: NY Detective Kaile Maka 4 episodes
2005–2006 Las Vegas Natalie Ko (1 episode)
2007 In Case of Emergency Kelly Lee (13 episodes)
2008 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Kelly Sun (1 episode)
2008–2009 Army Wives Major Jordana Davis (4 episodes)
2009 NCIS Lee Wuan Kai (1 episode)
2009 Dark Shadows Dr. Julia Hoffman (Unaired)
2010–2011 The Vampire Diaries Pearl (8 episodes)
2010–2011 Hawaii Five-0 Laura Hills (3 episodes)
2011 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Angie Salinger (1 episode)
2012 Fairly Legal Lydia (1 episode)
2012 Breakout Kings Executive Director Kendra Park (1 episode)
2012–2013 Arrow China White[26] (5 episodes)
2013 Castle Scarlet Jones (1 episode)
2013 Warehouse 13 Abigail Cho
2014 The 100 Callie "Cece" Cartwig (1 episode)

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Role
2012 "Outta My Head" Daughtry Leading Woman

Voice roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2005–2007 Robot Chicken Additional Voices 5 episodes
2007 Afro Samurai Okiku
2007–present Phineas and Ferb Stacy Hirano 51 episodes
2008 Dead Space: Downfall Shen
2009 The Spectacular Spider-Man Sha Shan Nguyen 5 episodes
2009 Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword Miyumi/Miss Mirimoto
2010 Batman: Under the Red Hood Ms. Li, Lead assassin of The Fearsome Hand Of Four
2011–2013 Young Justice Cheshire, Paula Crock, Lian Nguyen-Harper 10 episodes
2011 Green Lantern: Emerald Knights Laira
2011 Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension Stacy Hirano
2012–present Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Karai 11 episodes

Video game roles[edit]

Year Title Role
2004 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords Visas Marr
2008 Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Suki Toyama[27][28]
2009 Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising Suki Toyama AI
2009 Ninja Blade Ryoko Kurokawa
2009 Terminator Salvation Wells
2009 Afro Samurai Okiku, Osachi
2012 Sleeping Dogs Inspector Jane Teng[29]
2013 Batman: Arkham Origins Lady Shiva



  1. ^ "Kelly Hu Biography - Yahoo! Movies". 1967-02-13. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  2. ^ "Glenn Hu". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  3. ^ Official website biography
  4. ^ ML House (November 30, 2009). "Kelly Hu to Guest Star on The Vampire Diaries". TV Fanatic. 
  5. ^ Exclusive: Interview with Kelly Hu on TMNT, Arrow, Surf Ninjas, Michael Bay and braces - Nerd Reactor
  6. ^ World Poker Tour Celebrity Charity - Commerce Casino by Manoj Gera, March 2008. Retrieved March 14, 2008
  7. ^ Celebrity Poker Night with Kelly Hu, May 25th 2006. Retrieved March 14, 2008.
  8. ^ Sunday July 16, 2006 entry. Retrieved March 14, 2008.
  9. ^ "New GOTV PSA From CAUSE Features Kelly Hu, George Takei". 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  10. ^ "The Least Likely". The Least Likely. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  11. ^ "Toyota Motorsports > Toyota Pro/Celebrity > History". Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  12. ^ "On the Scene - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser". 2011-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  13. ^ "Blog Post". Trump Waikiki. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  14. ^ "Celebrity Poker Tournament at Bartels' Route 66 in Marina Del Rey, CA: The Kelly Hu/Best Buddies Second Annual Charity Poker Tournament Rocked the House". Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  15. ^ "Best Buddies International". 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  16. ^ "Best Buddies International". 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  17. ^ February 02, 2008 (2008-02-02). "Yes We Can - Barack Obama Music Video". YouTube. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  18. ^ Chelsea Clinton, Kelly Hu campaign on Oahu, The Honolulu Advertiser
  19. ^ "AAA-Fund Makes Politico!". Washington, DC: Asian American Action Fund. 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  20. ^ Schroeder Mullins, Anne (2008-06-11). "Random assortment of stuff". Washington, DC: Politico. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  21. ^ "Kelly Hu for Asian American Action Fund 2008" (Video). Washington, DC: Asian American Action Fund. 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  22. ^ "Kelly Hu Lends Star Power To Protect Hawaii's Reefs - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL". Hawaii News Now. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  23. ^ "Reef Check Hawaii - -Home Page". Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  24. ^ The Humane Society of the United States (2010-07-01). "Aloha, Shark Fin : The Humane Society of the United States". Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  25. ^ "First Looks At All-Star Cast Of Black Cowboy Opera "They Die By Dawn" | Shadow and Act". Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  26. ^ "CCI: Arrow Casts X2′s Kelly Hu As DC Comics Villain China White « Spinoff Online – TV, Film, and Entertainment News Daily". 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  27. ^ McWhertor, Michael (2008-08-20). "Games Convention 08: Meet Your Sexy New Red Alert 3 Cast". Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  28. ^ Cast Announcement
  29. ^ "Behind the Scenes: Voice-Over Talent (UK)". YouTube. 2012-07-17. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Heather Hays
Miss Hawaii USA
Succeeded by
Nadine Tanega
Preceded by
Malia Yamamura
Miss Hawaii Teen USA
Succeeded by
Michelle Hardin
Media offices
Preceded by
Marcia Strassman and Angela Visser
Miss Teen USA color commentator
(with Leeza Gibbons)

Succeeded by
Leeza Gibbons and Bridgette Wilson
Preceded by
Leeza Gibbons and Bridgette Wilson
Miss Teen USA color commentator
(with Arthel Neville)

Succeeded by
Daisy Fuentes and Jamie Solinger