AAPI actress Constance Wu has been winning fans on the big screen and small for years now. She was also included in 2017 on Time Magazine's list of the most influential people in the world. We're proud to celebrate this amazing actress and activist.
How You Know Her
She starred in the 2018 breakout romantic comedy "Crazy Rich Asians." The film was an international hit and the first major American studio film with a primarily Asian cast since 1993's "Joy Luck Club." Subsequently, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for the film.
On television, Wu headlined "Fresh Off the Boat" for six seasons (2015 – 2020). The show's based on chef and food personality Eddie Huang's memoirs of his childhood. The actress played Huang's mother, Jessica. For the role, she was nominated four times for The Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.
Her Life So Far
Constance Wu was born in Virginia. She grew up with three other sisters. Her father was a biology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and her mother was a computer programmer. As a teen, Wu performed in local theater productions. She graduated from State University of New York at Purchase's Conservatory of Theatre Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting in 2005.
In New York City in the mid '00s, Wu found work on stage and in independent films and guest appearances on tv. Those included appearances on shows like "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and the soap opera "One Life to Live." By 2010, she moved to Los Angeles.
From 2012 to 2017, Wu starred in the web series "EastSiders," a dark comedy about couples living their lives in Silverlake, Los Angeles.
However, her big break was the role of Jessica Huang on "Fresh Off the Boat." The ABC comedy ran for more than 100 episodes. It was a critical and commercial hit that made her a household name for millions.
The actress parlayed that success onto the big screen with another commercial-critical hit in 2018's "Crazy Rich Asians," followed by an edgier role in 2019's "Hustlers."
The Movie to See
As we've highlighted "Crazy Rich Asians" earlier this AAPI Heritage Month, we're directing film fans to check out Constance Wu in "Hustlers." This based-on-real-life-tale of New York strippers turning the tables on their Wall Street clientele is a female "Goodfellas." Wu plays against type and is terrific in the role of the new to the scene Destiny. She learns how to play the game from Jennifer Lopez's Ramona. J-Lo is fantastic in one of her best performances. The movie's highly entertaining, smart and pulls no punches. It's also empowering for its heroines. Lopez received most of the critics' awards for supporting actress. But Wu holds her ground in a great performance, too.
What's Up Next
Constance Wu has more than a few AAPI projects upcoming. The indie film "I Was a Simple Man," about a Hawaiian family dealing with tragedy, debuted at Sundance 2021."Wish Dragon," an animated tale featuring the voice talents of Wu and John Cho, comes out on June 11, 2021. And the multi-cultural "Solos," pondering what it means to be human, debuts on Prime on May 21, 2021.
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.