Woman of the Week: Constance Wu

Who She Is

Wu was born in Virginia, the child of two Taiwanese immigrants. She began performing in local theaters at the beginning of high school. She then went on to study acting in New York, earning her BFA in 2005. Eventually, she moved to New York to pursue roles in theater, movies, and TV. For a short time, she took a break from working in theater so that she could pursue a degree in psycholinguistics at Columbia University, but eventually, she decided to continue acting. While pursuing acting in LA, Wu was in credit card, car, and college debt, but she continued to try and find acting opportunities. She eventually guest starred in TV shows like Law and Order, and then went on to be cast in the ABC show Fresh off the Boat, gaining her fame and eventually leading to her blockbuster role as Rachel in Crazy Rich Asians.   

Why You Should Love Her

Wu is a huge advocate of Asian and Asian-American representation in film and tv. When Scarlett Johansson was cast in The Ghost in the Shell, and Matt Damon was cast as a starring role in The Great Wall, Wu spoke out against Holywood for whitewashing traditionally Asian characters. She’s also spoken out against how the film industry does not take sexual assault allegations seriously enough. She’s said before that her fame helped her to find a platform from which she could do something good and speak out about contemporary issues, especially in relation to Asian representation in film. Crazy Rich Asians is the first major studio film with a predominantly Asian cast in 25 years; Fresh Off the Boat is the first TV sitcom featuring an Asian American family in the past 20 years. Wu often speaks about the lack of Asian representation in film while she was growing up and about how Asian-American actors have not been given the same complex, interesting roles as their white counterparts.  

In 2018, Wu walked and spoke at the second Women’s March in LA, and she is a huge supporter of the #MeToo movement (founded by Tarana Burke, a previous Woman of the Week). Wu has also spoken out against discrimination that she has faced during in the industry and has drawn attention to the male-centered world of the film industry. In 2016, she left her agency because of racist comments her agent had said. Wu also loves reading, advocating for the use of libraries, and —guess what?— one of her favorite authors is David Foster Wallace, who famously spoke at Kenyon’s commencement in 2005.

 

Featured Quote: “Public service is about serving all the people, including the ones who are not like you.”

 

How to Support Her

Buy or rent Crazy Rich Asians when it comes out on DVD (or rent it from Amazon). If you like reading as much as Constance Wu does, check out this awesome list of books by Asian American writers. Also, check out this awesome list of Asian American Female artists and support their work by going to art museums and galleries.     

 

 

Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2