Constance Wu on her Twitter tantrum: ‘I’m not proud of what I said’

Constance Wu at arrivals for HUSTLERS Pr...

I loved Hustlers, but as I said in my mini-review, I thought Constance Wu was actually the weakest part. She was the “lead,” but for half of the film, she was mostly a stand-in for the audience as she watched and worshipped Jennifer Lopez’s character Ramona. Constance Wu is a talented actress, but I’m not sure Hustlers was her best showcase. But whatever, she wasn’t actively bad in it. Wu has had such a big two years – the success of Crazy Rich Asians, the success of Hustlers, and Fresh Off the Boat getting renewed… which is what Wu threw a tantrum about back in May. She was mad because she has too much work, too many opportunities. Yeah.

Anyway, Wu has a lengthy new profile in the New Yorker and it’s worth a read. I came away from it understanding her a bit more. She really let the New Yorker into her life and work, and she even let the journalist come to her acting coach sessions, where she’s pretty vulnerable, and where she’s basically getting therapy. She talks about her FOTB tantrum and how she’s not looking to have every conversation be about her Asian-American identity. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

On stereotyping, or playing stereotypes: “If somebody just so happens to fall into stereotypical traits, it doesn’t mean that we should try to take that part of her away and hide it from the light. Because that’s a manifestation of shame. If anything, I think that people who have been reduced by pop culture their whole lives deserve to have their stories expanded upon.” Later, she added that she always found it weird when Asian actors refused to play stereotypes. Why, she asked, when there weren’t enough Asian roles, would you turn one down, rather than take the opportunity to invest a stock type with “character and human experience that it’s never f–king gotten?”

Growing up in Richmond, VA: “Richmond is the city that built me. There was a lot of J. Crew and Ann Taylor.” Wu is still surprised when people comment on her staunch embrace of an American identity. Once, on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” when asked where she was from, she reflexively answered, “Richmond.” “There was a whole thing online where Asian-Americans were saying how rad it was that I said it so naturally. But I really wasn’t trying to make a statement.”

She was “pro-life” when she was very young: But she became a woman who campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016, is now pro-choice. “I was proud of being a virgin when I got to college. Because, where I come from, it was cool to wait until marriage.”

Being Asian-American doesn’t define her: “Look, when Tom Cruise is in an interview, people aren’t, like, ‘What’s it like to be a white actor?’ My answers coincide with Asian-American activism, but that’s because those are the questions I’m being asked. It doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in it and that I’m not a proponent of it. But is it my reason for being alive? No.”

On the Twitter tantrum: “Being messy in public is something— I’m not proud of what I said. But I also think that it was how I was feeling in the moment, and we all have days where we feel differently, and I don’t think it represents my entire character.” Wu wondered if role models—“and I don’t want to be a f–king role model, I’m an artist… Wouldn’t that make people feel a lot less lonely when they were having the feelings and emotions that weren’t the prescribed ones? I’m glad people are talking sh-t about me, because it makes me think about other people’s feelings and the effects of things. It’s like negotiating authenticity with obligation, and I don’t have an answer either way, because I think you have to actually clarify what your obligations are first and what your authenticity is first.”

[From The New Yorker]

I have no idea what she’s talking about with “authenticity” and “obligation.” Is she saying that her Twitter tantrum in May was her authentic self and she’s had to tamp down that “authenticity” out of professional obligation? It’s like when someone does something awful in the name of “keeping it real.” Yeah, you kept it real and now no one wants to work with you.

As for all of the stuff about her Asian-American identity… it’s weird how little credit Mindy Kaling gets for being one of the first big Asian-American women to really “make it” and then talk about the experience of being first-generation American, being Indian-American in America, being Indian-American in Hollywood. I related to what Constance talked about re: growing up in Virginia and all that, just as I relate to what Mindy Kaling says about how much responsibility she feels to speak as an Indian-American woman and not just as “writer/actress Mindy.” There’s no real answer and no real point to this – there are a million ways to BE Asian-American and there are a million ways to talk about the Asian-American experience.

Constance Wu attends the premiere of 'Hustlers' during the 44th Toronto International Film Festival, tiff, at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Canada, on 07 September 2019. | usage worldwide

Photos courtesy of WENN and Avalon Red.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

25 Responses to “Constance Wu on her Twitter tantrum: ‘I’m not proud of what I said’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Jillian says:

    That was so disappointing. I hope it doesn’t happen again.

    I’m going to see Hustlers today! I avoided all reviews and spoilers. Can’t wait!

    • DiegoInSF says:

      I’ll see it for the third time this weekend! 😀
      I actually think Constance was really good in it but Jennifer, of course, stole every scene.

      • Adrien says:

        She’s alright. The story centered on her but I find Keke Palmer’s character much more memorable. Of course Jlo is Jlo. Constance was just not believable as a stripper maybe it’s because of her horrendous makeup. She should have at least put on some padding in her breasts or butt. She’s so flat, she won’t attract clients with that. It felt like she is playing dress up. She has her tender moments though, I’ll give her that.

      • sammiches says:

        I don’t even know what to do with this padding comment.

  2. Michael says:

    I do not understand why wealthy famous people do not have somebody to run their social media. At least to get a look at what they are about to post before they put it up. It would help avoid misstatements like the one Constance At made

  3. Lucy says:

    The whole profile was so well written. Jiayang Fan is such an incredible writer. Her piece about the SATs a couple of months ago was incredible.

  4. janey says:

    “and I don’t want to be a f–king role model, I’m an artist…”… oh jeez I despise when people say this. Like they’re higher / better than the rest of us, I’m sorry I can’t hear you because my head is jammed so far up my a*se because I’M AN ARTIST. and anyway, can’t you be both role model and actor?
    Don’t know who she is, was hoping to get a sneak of someone ranting on twitter, never seen anything she’s in and now I probably won’t bother.

    • Jane'sWastedTalent says:

      See, I take it the opposite way, ‘I’m an artist, we’re known for being disreputable, unreliable, emotional messes who shouldn’t be role models for anyone.’ Art, real art, comes from a place of pain. Artists can be inspiring in the way they transmute their pain into beauty, power, emotion- art in other words, but she’s right, they shouldn’t be role models unless you’re stuck in the same dark place.

  5. Sharonk says:

    She has absolutely no sex appeal . She was wooden in hustlers. The movie was bad but JLo sizzled and stole every scene.
    She was good in CRA and should thank her lucky stars she has a career at all.

    • Grant says:

      I thought Hustlers was great but I hated CRA. I thought it was awful.

    • holly hobby says:

      I think her stereotypical hair pretty much did her in in Hustlers. Seriously, who gave her the “dragon lady” special? I’m not surprised if hair and make up hated her too. That pic above does not do her favors. She’s no JLo for sure so why dress like her?

  6. jenner says:

    I skimmed the article, and holy cow, does she come across as pretentious, self conscious, insecure and narcissistic. All at once.

    • Tourmaline says:

      Yep I agree, I read it yesterday and I thought she came off really badly. The beginning of the article the way she is behaving with the hair and makeup people on set–see where she gets her bad rep.

    • WTW says:

      As a WOC, I really take offense to such comments when aimed at a WOC, and that’s because there’s this idea that we are supposed to be humble, grateful, and unassuming. Constance Wu is not that, but that doesn’t make her narcissistic. I think preconceived notions about how we expect WOC to behave have colored the response to Wu’s Twitter incident. One pouty tweet is just the tip of the iceberg of how actresses such as Reese Witherspoon and Jen Lawrence have behaved, and I don’t see them subjected to these same insults about their character. I am not a Constance Wu stan, but the vitriol she gets seems out of line with her actual “offense,” and I can’t help but to think that her ethnic background plays a role in this.

  7. Kate says:

    I don’t really care anymore. She showed us her private messy self whereas most actors/actresses know to keep that sh*t private and present a professional front to the public. She thinks that’s being inauthentic. *shrugs* It was an interesting profile and I liked Hustlers. Wish her character was a little less passive and showed more the real person who was pretty scheming herself (according to the article upon which the movie was based).

  8. otaku fairy.... says:

    “If somebody just so happens to fall into stereotypical traits, it doesn’t mean that we should try to take that part of her away and hide it from the light. Because that’s a manifestation of shame.” There’s a lot of truth in that when it comes to both fictional characters and real people too, and it’s something we sometimes forget.
    I kind of like this dress she’s wearing, especially the color, and her hair looks better like this than with bangs.

  9. Ginger says:

    She seems exhausting.

    • Dee Kay says:

      This. At the same time, she seems very “actor-y,” many many performers are just very self-involved and over-the-top in every part of their lives, obsessing over what ppl think of them, feeling entitled to things etc. I think, like others are saying, she just doesn’t have enough of a filter to keep those normal (for an actor) personality traits fairly hidden from the public. I think famous actors have to play themselves *as a role,* they can never be 100% themselves, most of them keep their inner monologues, all their insecurities, all the sensitivities and high-strung nerves and fixations, out of the public eye.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I can’t wait for an interviewer to ask the Matt Damons, Ben Afflecks and Brad Pitts of the industry what it’s like navigating opportunities as a white man? It is my opinion one of the worst things Americans do is ask where someone is from because appearances suggest foreign. OMG. And so they say Richmond or Jersey or frakking Des Moines with corn growing out of their ears. America is a melting pot. It has always been a melting pot. End. Of. Discussion.

    And it sounds like she argues obligation with authenticity with herself…as we all do. Outbursts speak to authentic vulnerability. But does that dismiss the behavior? No. Are there obligatory follow-up responses? Absolutely.

  11. FuefinaWG says:

    “Talented actress.” Ha! I wish this woman would go away; I’d much more prefer to see Gemma Chan.

    • Jb says:

      Love Gemma! Can’t wait for her to have her Hollywood moment!! I realize she’s been in plenty of movies but she hasn’t really received the attention Constance has though IMO she is far more talented and charismatic. Hands down Gemma has more grace about things considering Constance’s little Twitter tirade

    • WTW says:

      There’s room for both–the Asian American actress you don’t like and the Asian-British actress you do. Your comment suggests you think there’s only one slot for an actress of Asian descent. Like, I’d never say I don’t like Reese Witherspoon, I’d rather see Jennifer Aniston, unless they’d been up for the same role or something.

    • Jane'sWastedTalent says:

      Gemma is amazing, but her facial fillers in CRA made me sad.

  12. holly hobby says:

    Her interview was a hard read. Yeah the word salad was a bit too much and “precious.”