Kelly Ann Hu

Kelly Hu

Kelly Hu, an esteemed actress in American cinema, transitioned into the acting realm following a triumphant stint as a model. She achieved a milestone as the first Asian victor in the Miss Teen USA beauty contest in 1985 and graced the cover of Maxim magazine, boosting its issue sales significantly. Hu secured a place in Maxim’s top 100 model rankings.

What we know about this person

Full name:

Kelly Ann Hu

Date of birth:

February 13, 1968

Zodiac sign:



Honolulu, Hawaii, USA





Marital status:





5' 5" (1.65 m)


116 lbs (53 kg)


actress, model

Early life

Born on February 13, 1968, in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, Kelly Ann Hu has Chinese heritage, with her lineage tracing back to China, Great Britain, and Honolulu. Her parents, Herbert and Juanita, were not linked to the fashion or cinema sectors; Herbert was engaged in the exotic animal trade, while Juanita worked as an engineer. Kelly’s elder brother, Glenn, embarked on a career in the U.S. Military.

Post her parents’ separation in 1974, Juanita remarried Roy Takara, becoming a stepfather to her children. Kelly’s education took place at the Kamehameha Schools in Oahu, known for its English-medium instruction. Her childhood interests included singing, dancing, and performing in school plays. Inspired by her brother Glenn, Kelly also pursued karate, earning a brown belt.

Modelling Pursuits

Kelly Hu, after graduating high school, enrolled at Pepperdine University in Malibu. Motivated by her cousin’s modeling achievements in Japan, 17-year-old Kelly ventured into Miss Teen USA, aiming to gain recognition and exhibit her modeling potential. Winning the pageant garnered her immediate attention, along with a year-long ban from modeling outside the competition, as stipulated in her contract.

After her contract’s expiry, Kelly journeyed to Japan and Italy to advance her modeling career, where her distinctive Asian appearance made a lasting impression. In Italy, she notably featured in a cheese advertisement, portraying Kaori, a Japanese student, which resonated despite her non-Japanese background.

At 25, Kelly Hu claimed the beauty queen title in Hawaii’s main pageant and emerged as a Miss USA finalist, reaching the top six. She also won the “Miss Photogenic” accolade. Her success thereafter included collaborations with renowned brands such as Mary Kay Cosmetics, Clothestime, Vidal Sassoon, and more. Kelly graced Maxim’s cover in 2003 and made a return appearance in 2005.


Kelly Hu in 1989 (Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan)

Kelly Hu’s artistic path

Kelly Hu’s acting journey started with roles in various TV series. By 1987, she had participated in over 50 TV projects. Her film career began with small roles in low-budget movies. In 1989, she featured in a “Friday the 13th” series installment that underperformed at the box office. That year, she also secured a part in “21 Jump Street,” working alongside Johnny Depp and others.

1991 saw Kelly in Oliver Stone’s “The Doors,” playing Dorothy Fujikawa, Ray Manzarek’s partner. Her breakthrough came in 2002 as the seer Cassandra in “The Scorpion King,” co-starring Steven Brand and Dwayne Johnson. In 2003, her confrontation with Wolverine in “X2” earned an MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Fight.

Kelly Hu has over 40 films in her filmography. She attributes her acting skills to her time on “Sunset Beach” (1997), where she portrayed Dr. Rae Chang. She described acting in the soap opera as a challenging yet formative experience, often memorizing extensive dialogues and medical terms.


Kelly Hu in 2023

Kelly Ann Hu Movies and TV Shows

  • 2017–present

    The Orville

    Admiral Ozawa

  • 2014–2020

    The 100

    Cece Cartwig

  • 2012–2020


    China White / China Na Wei

  • 2009–2017

    The Vampire Diaries

    Pearl Zhu

  • 2009–2016


    Scarlet Jones

  • 2009

    The Tournament

    Lai Lai Zhen

  • 2004

    The Librarian: Quest for the Spear


  • 2003


    Yuriko Oyama / Lady Deathstrike

  • 2002

    The Scorpion King


  • 1991

    Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man


Kelly Hu’s personal life

Kelly Hu, known for her discretion regarding personal matters, has successfully kept details of her private life away from media scrutiny. This includes her former husband’s name, with whom she co-owns a restaurant venture. While Hu didn’t have children, her past romantic endeavors are known to some extent. She was involved with music producer Mitch Allan in 2010, a relationship that lasted until their separation in 2015, the reasons for which Hu has chosen to keep private.

As a versatile sportswoman, Hu is enthusiastic about diverse physical activities, including karate, aquatic sports, inline skating, and jogging. Notably, in 2006, she triumphantly completed a marathon in Honolulu within a five-hour timeframe. Additionally, she exhibits a profound interest in poker, participating in renowned tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and Hollywood’s Celebrity Poker Night, where she outperformed nearly a thousand contenders to secure a position in the top 200 rankings.

In collaboration with Hollywood luminaries such as Victoria Pratt, Jean Smart, Mimi Rogers, Vicki Lawrence, Mena Suvari, and Anne Heche, Hu participated in poker teams. Further showcasing her artistic inclination, she ventured into fashion design, creating her clothing line, primarily driven by philanthropic intentions rather than a quest for designer acclaim.


Kelly Hu as Lady Deathstrike

Talk Shows

  • 2021

    Entertainment Tonight

    Role: Guest

  • 2013

    Hell's Kitchen

    Role: Guest

  • 2007

    The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

    Role: Guest

  • 2003–2007

    Last Call with Carson Daly

    Role: Guest

Kelly Hu now

Presently, Kelly Hu resides in the upscale Brentwood area of Los Angeles, a neighborhood historically associated with iconic figures like Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, and currently with celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Reese Witherspoon. Celebrated as one of Hollywood’s most distinguished Asian actresses, Hu remains active in television and film, frequently lending her voice to video game characters, including notable work in Mortal Kombat X.

Hu’s recent professional endeavor in 2021 was the lead role of Brenda Lee in the TV series “List of a Lifetime,” a narrative centering on combating breast cancer. This role resonated deeply with Hu, given her family’s history with the disease. Additionally, she appeared in the film noir “Joe Baby” by Steven Brand, alongside Dichen Lachman, Harvey Keitel, Ron Perlman, and Willow Fitzgerald.

Dedicated to philanthropic efforts, Hu initiated the charitable online platform 33 Edge amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on combating discrimination. This venture features an online apparel store showcasing her designs, with themes of “Humanity,” “Equality,” and “Unity.” The “Rescue” collection honors her late dog Mushu, with proceeds supporting animal rescue initiatives.

Published: November 17, 2023
Updated: April 17, 2024