Kelly Hu

Active - 1989 - Present  |   Born - Feb 13, 1968 in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Comedy Drama, Action, Drama, Thriller

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Biography by Rovi

Beautiful Hawaiian actress Kelly Hu parlayed early experience as a model and beauty pageant winner into a busy career as an actress in television and film. Kelly Hu was born in Honolulu, HI, on February 13, 1968. While a student at Kameameha High School, Hu began taking modeling jobs on the advice of her friends, which led to her spending four months in Japan working on various assignments. Hoping to advance her career, Hu entered a local beauty pageant, which led to her being named Miss Teen U.S.A. in 1985, making her the first Asian-American to hold the title. While winning the prize ironically put her modeling career on pause (pageant regulations prevent winners from taking modeling assignments), it did help her launch an acting career; after her reign, Hu moved to Los Angeles, and in 1987, after landing a number of television commercials, she scored her first high-profile acting job when she was cast as Melia, Kirk Cameron's love interest, on several episodes of the TV sitcom Growing Pains. Hu began receiving a steady stream of television work, making guest appearances on such shows as Tour of Duty, Night Court, and 21 Jump Street, before she earned her first film role, a small part in Friday the 13th: Part VIII -- Jason Takes Manhattan. Hu's next film assignment would be a bit more prestigious -- she played the wife of musician Ray Manzarek (played by Kyle MacLachlan) in Oliver Stone's The Doors. More film and television work followed, including a brief run in 1992 on the daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful, before Hu took another stab at the pageant circuit, representing Hawaii in the 1993 Miss U.S.A. Pageant. Hu soon returned to acting, making memorable appearances on Melrose Place and Murder One, before she won the role of Michelle Chan on the action-drama series Nash Bridges. Hu lasted two years on the show; her next long-term TV role allowed her to make use of her martial arts skills (she holds a brown belt in karate) when she was cast opposite Sammo Hung on the action-comedy series Martial Law. Hu starred opposite Dwayne Johnson (aka the Rock) in 2002's The Scorpion King, the prequel to the runaway hit The Mummy. In 2003 Hu played the villainess Lady Deathstrike in X-Men: Reunited, and joined the cast of CSI: NY in the reoccurring role of Detective Kaile Maka (2005-2006). She played one-time valedictorian Kelly Lee in ABC's sitcom in 2007, though the show would unfortunately be cancelled after its first season. Luckily, the actress found more success on the small screen in The CW's popular supernatural romance series The Vampire Diaries in the role of Pearl (2010-2011), and appeared briefly on numerous television shows including Hawaii Five-0, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and NCIS. Hu took a starring role in Almost Perfect (2011) to play Vanessa, a thirtysomething career woman whose sudden familial problems threaten her seemingly ideal new relationship.

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  • Took ballet and tap-dance lessons as a child.
  • In 1985, became the first Asian-American to be crowned Miss Teen USA.
  • Competed in the Miss USA pageant as Miss Hawaii USA in 1993, placing in the Top 6.
  • Made her TV debut in 1987 on Growing Pains as a love interest for Mike Seaver.
  • Despite having a fairly large role in X2, her character only has one line of dialogue.
  • Played the recurring role of the vampire Pearl on The Vampire Diaries.