How I Thrive//

Maggie Q on the Routines That Bring More Calm and Joy Into Her Day

Lessons in sustainability, selflessness, and success.

Judging by her IMDb profile alone, Maggie Q seems hyper-focused on her successful acting career. She came to prominence on The CW’s action series “Nikita,” and has starred in countless films including Divergent, Mission Impossible III, and Live Free or Die Hard. But Q’s real passion is saving the world’s oceans — a mission that became the backbone of her new sustainable activewear collection called Qeep Up (pronounced “Keep Up”). “I find my soul in nature. I find my soul in the oceans, I find my soul in clean air and mountains,” the actress and activist says. Her collection is made from 100% recycled marine waste — everything, right down to the packaging the clothing comes in, is made from recycled materials. Q explains, ”There are no hang tags. We heat press all the information on the clothing. We wanted to make sure that when you get the product, you’re using a product that was recycled, but you’re also not creating more trash.”

Here, Q sat down with us to share how she lives a sustainable life and why she thrives on routine.

Thrive Global: Your company is called Qeep Up — What are some of the healthy ways you keep up your energy to get everything done?

Maggie Q: Today is a busy day, I’m running around, but I know what little steps to take. I need to make sure my immune system is strong, and I need energy. So I double up on a probiotic, and keep it light in the morning in terms of what I’m eating or drinking to make sure that I can have more energy for the day. Meditation, even if it’s five minutes, will change your day. That is another tool that helps calm my mind and just gives me clarity. I think all of us are searching for that.

TG: How do you live sustainability?

MQ: Sustainability is an interesting word. I don’t like the fact that it’s been overused. You can’t say that something’s sustainable because you just don’t use it a bunch or you want it to be. It actually has to be. There has to be some data and some research and some motivation behind what it is that you’re saying is sustainable. I have to live in a way that’s conscious of how the planet will respond to my decisions. So my diet is a sustainable diet. I don’t eat land animals and I don’t eat meat. I make sure that my carbon footprint in my diet is low. And ten there’s recycling, obviously, but it’s also about consuming less. My house is 90% antiques. I shop at mostly farmer’s markets rather than grocery stores because they have a footprint that’s bigger than farm-to-table food. It’s really about creating a lifestyle. 

TG: You were born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Did the environment that you grow up in shape how you live and work today?

MQ: It really did. The landscapes and the beauty and appreciating nature and all that came from my roots growing up on an island — especially my love for the oceans — made a huge impact. The other thing that living on an island — being sort of isolated and wanting more — did for me was that it drove me to eventually leave. I wanted to be out in the world and understand the way the rest of the world worked. The positive things that influence us are super important, but also the things that drive us a little bit crazy are the things that we’re not comfortable with. In that moment when you’re not comfortable, you want to make changes in your life.

Maggie Q in Qeep Up; Photo credit : Greg Kadel 

TG: When you wake up, how do you set your day up for success?

MQ: I’m a big prayer person, and this is not a religious thing. It’s about setting intentions and making sure that my heart is cleara. I want to wake up with a heart that is good, a heart that is led. I know that whatever I do in my day, there has to be a part of the day that’s in service. Whether that service is a conversation or whether it’s showing up for a friend or my animals, there has to be something in my day that’s not about me, my wants, needs. If you have that in your mind as your intention, you’ll find it. It’ll manifest in your day and it’ll come and you’ll go, “Oh good. There was something bigger than me in this day.” That’s actually the most important part of my day.

TG: How do you prioritize when there’s an overwhelming amount to do?

MQ: I’m really bad at prioritizing. When I was in school, if I had a math exam the next day that was super important, I would work on the art project that was due in two weeks. It was so impractical and awful. I was a creative person and so I was like, “I don’t want to value this test that’s tomorrow. I want to value the thing that I have to mold with my hands and create that’s due in two weeks.” I’ve learned a lot since then. Now, I go by instinct, which is weird. Obviously there are things that are prioritized because of importance, but I also think that you have to prioritize your desires. I gravitate toward the things that I love the most and I’ll get them done quick and then I get everything else done.

TG: What helps you recover from burnout?

MQ: I love routines because my life is so wildly unpredictable. I’m here, I’m there, I’m traveling. Routines keep me calm and make me feel like a normal person again. Once I get back into routine, the stress starts to fall away and I start to feel like me again.

Directed by Matt Kwiecinski

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