Constance Wu is a force to be reckoned with. That’s because she’s an actress that’s a full package, which is something that you don’t encounter very often in Hollywood these days. She’s not only incredibly beautiful, but she’s wickedly funny, she’s smart, she’s got a good head on her shoulders and she knows what she wants. She’s determined to help actors like herself gain more visibility in the entertainment world and she’s not going to stop until it happens.
Not only has Constance made history, but she’s also about to make history again by doing it on the big screen, too. Constance stars in a major new 2018 film and the world is taking notice. For Constance, things are only getting started. She believes that her new movie will help many people like her feel a new sense of empowerment. And by that we mean an empowered sense of confidence in one's self. With that being said, here are 20 things we didn’t know about Constance Wu and her career so far.
20 She’s One Of The Funniest Women On Television
Constance Wu hasn’t been in the spotlight for very long, but she’s been called one of the funniest women on television. That’s because she’s managed to bring a whole lot of life to her character, Jessica, on the hit ABC show, Fresh Off The Boat. One of the reasons why Jessica stands out so much is that she’s very unapologetic about who she is. Add that with Constance’s great comedic timing, and you have television gold. It’s no wonder millions of people tune in to the show every week – and they are certainly tuning in. Fresh Off The Boat is one of the highest rated comedies on ABC.
19 She Wants To Show To Last
As many people know, there are sitcoms that come and there are sitcoms that go. After all, the entertainment industry is a cutthroat business. But for Constance, she’s not worried. She wants to see Fresh Off The Boat last as long as Friends did. “In the United States, it was historic — it had never happened in over 20 years, which is kind of like déjà vu in my life right now,” Wu said to the Hollywood Reporter a few years ago. “Going into our fifth season right now, we’re going to be the first show that’s ever had an Asian-American lead that’s going to be syndicated. And syndication is a huge deal for TV actors.”
18 She Loves Working With Her FOTB Co-Stars
One of the great things about Fresh Off The Boat is that everyone gets along. There’s no drama. And best of all, Constance gets to work with the next generation of talented actors. She told Variety, “It’s opened up my memories of what I was like when I was that age. I started in the theater when I was Hudson’s age. I remember how things felt. It’s awakened a dormant compassion in me, which I think is always good for any actor or artist. The richer your compassion and empathy is, the more reach you have. Being around them has really opened me up.”
17 She’s In A Major New Movie
Constance is starring in the new movie, Crazy Rich Asians. She plays Rachel, a girl from New York City who has no idea that her boyfriend Nicholas is one of the most eligible bachelors in his home country of Singapore. Once she finds out though, her mind is blown. That’s because Rachel has never seen so much opulence in her life. She told WWD, “We haven’t had an Asian-American movie star who has always been number one in all her films. We have a lot of great, great talented actors who sometimes get to play leads in films, but mostly get to play supporting roles.”
16 She Knows She’s Part Of A Movement
After CRA, things will never be the same for actors of her race in the entertainment industry. That’s because more doors will open up than before, and in rapid pace, too. The movie is part of a movement. Constance told the Los Angeles Times, “I definitely felt that sense of importance from the start and it only built on itself as I got to know the other actors and the other crew members who were involved in it. We became a family and we’re all passionate about creating something that was more than a movie, that like Jon says, was a movement.”
15 She’s an Outspoken Advocate For Wider Representation
If Constance Wu has something on her mind, you better believe that she is going to say it. She’s not one to hold back as she’s very opinionated and an outspoken advocate of a wider representation of her race in Hollywood. In other words, she doesn’t want the lead role to always go to the same actress, over and over again. She wants change, and she is willing to work behind the change. “It’s really admirable that Kevin stuck to his guns because it’s hard to stick to your values when people are offering you the kinds of things you’ve never had before, you know?” Wu told WWD.
14 She Wants to Change Hollywood
Constance, just like so many other actresses in the industry, wants change in Hollywood. She wants to feel proud of who she is and where she comes from without having to explain herself or worse, feel the need to explain herself. Constance also wants to hold her head up high, especially when it comes to her accomplishments. She told WWD, “I don’t want people to make me feel [embarrassed[. So that’s why I also don’t talk about it because I think I’ve been conditioned by a lot of actors in Hollywood to feel like it’s narcissism and snobbery rather than your heart’s true passion. And I don’t like my heart’s true passion being confused as snobbery.”
13 Her Career Began in New York City
Constance was raised in Virginia, but she started her acting career in New York City. From an early age she always knew that she wanted to be an actress and had even acquired a deep love for the theater. “I’ve been an actress since I was like 10 or 12, and then I went to drama school. I have a technique, and I have a process that I bring to every role. And I can talk about it, but that kind of makes it less magic, and also when I talk about it, it makes me feel like I’m full of myself,” says the 36-year-old.
12 Her Breakthrough Wasn’t Until 2014
And while some people manage to find success earlier than others, it took quite a few years before Constance could find her own. In fact, her breakthrough role wasn’t until 2014, when she starred in the pilot for Fresh Off The Boat. Before then, it took Constance a lot of hard work to get to where she is now. If there is anyone that she credits for her success, it’s her parents. She told The Hollywood Reporter, "I am the American daughter of immigrants. Immigrant stories are the stories of dreams, of love, of sacrifice, of courage, of honor. They are what truly make America great."
11 She Almost Gave Up
And just like so many people in her position, Constance Wu almost gave up on her dream of being a Hollywood star. After all, the odds of starring in your own television sitcom are incredibly slim. But if there was one thing that Constance always had, it was determination. She told The Cut, “I was at a point where I was still waiting tables, nannying, being a personal assistant, struggling to make ends meet, going through heartbreaking audition after heartbreaking audition, and I had a moment where I had to ask myself, ‘If you’re still a waitress when you’re 45, is that cool?’”
10 Her Jessica Character Is Divisive
And while there are people who love Constance, there are plenty of people who love to criticize her, especially for her role as Jessica. They believe that she’s being too stereotypical. She told Time Magazine, “Stereotypes are only dangerous when they are used as the [...] the joke, and our writers have taken great care to never write a single joke that is based upon a stereotype [...] What makes a stereotype harmful is when it’s a one-dimensional person.”
9 She’s Nothing Like Jessica, Though
With that being said, though, Constance has made it pretty clear that she’s nothing like her character Jessica in real life. In fact, she had no idea that some immigrants actually do speak like Jessica, especially when she was growing up. That’s because her family didn’t grow up in an immigrant community or neighborhood. “I don’t think I was ignorant; I just didn’t have cousins or uncles or aunts around me — or anything like that either,” she told Fashion Magazine. “My parents’ friends were people from the university where my dad taught, and they were all white. I just didn’t notice it.”
8 Jessica Surely Wouldn’t Get Along With Rachel
The one ironic thing about Constance’s characters is that one wouldn’t have definitely approved of the other. Jessica is nothing like Rachel and Rachel is nothing like Jessica! It would have been interesting to see Jessica bring her dry wit and sensibility to the lavish and luxurious Singapore, though. “I think it would be very impossible for Jessica to like,” she told Time Magazine in 2017. “The characters live such an extravagant, wealthy lifestyle, and Jessica is very frugal. She’d be glad to see Asians and Asian-Americans on the big screen. She would probably just think that they don’t have their priorities straight.”
7 Her Dream Role
Even though Constance has already achieved so much, she says she still has a lot of work to do. Working in television and the big screen is only the beginning for this beautiful and multi-talented actress. Constance told The Cut, “The one dream I have is to do a musical. I love singing, but most people don’t know because I don’t sell myself as a musical person.”
6 She Almost Became A Netflix Star
CRA almost didn’t make it to the big screen. As a matter of fact, the movie was about to go the Netflix route. But because the producers wanted the movie to have as much exposure as possible, they opted out of a lucrative deal to bring it to movie theaters instead, according to director John Chu. "We can sugarcoat it all we want, but the moment you bring up an Asian-led movie, there's one example to point to, and that'll be us," Chu argues. "To be on the biggest stage with the biggest stakes, that's what we asked for."
5 She Wants People To Connect
Constance wants people to really look, listen, or do something to be heard. In her opinion, people have become complacent. Younger artists aren’t as creative, and that’s because they are often distracted. She also wants people to stop being so judgement, to listen, and give others space to share. "Get out of your phones and screens! Go out in the world and listen to people, especially targeted people," she told Teen Vogue. "Make eye contact and listen with full attention. Spend time with people in a way that doesn't require any stimulation other than just like... spending time.
4 She Relates To Rachel
While Constance Wu has made it pretty clear that she doesn’t really see much of herself in her Jessica character, she definitely relates to Rachel in CRA. Because for her, it’s all about identity and being a part of the bigger picture. She told The Hollywood Reporter, "I tried to make Rachel's story about identity. What does this say about the experience of being Asian-American, how it shapes you differently than the experience of being Asian-Asian? People think it's the same but when you grow up without your face being a part of dominant culture, it changes things."
3 She’s Passionate About Her Work
As we mentioned above, Constance is a very opinionated person. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that she’s very passionate about the things she cares about the most. “Of course I want to get more jobs,” she told Fashion Magazine. “But at what cost? If me speaking my mind about something that I think really matters is going to take a part away from me, then that’s not a part that I want. Those aren’t people I want to work with.”
2 CRA Is The Next Step In Her Career
With that being said, it’s without a doubt that this is the next step in her career. She knows that she’s leading a movement and that movement will help break down barriers. She told E! News, "My friend Ava DuVernay says, 'I work in an industry that really has no regard for my voice and the voice of people like me and so, what do I do? Keep knocking on that door or build your own house?' My dear Asian American friends, we are building our own damn houses. We got the tools, the ability and we definitely got the style.”
1 She Thinks The Movie Is Important For Visibility
While there’s no doubt that CRA will succeed, Constance thinks that the movie is very important for visibility, especially when it comes to actors like herself. For Constance, she wants to be both seen and heard. She wants people like her to be the new norm. "The last five years of my life have bene nothing short of miraculous to me. But the best gift hasn't been the roles. The best gift has been YOU—the Asian American women and men I have heard along this journey," she added. "You've taught me so much. You have the biggest hearts."