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Constance Tianming Wu (born March 22, 1982) is an American television and film actress. She stars as Jessica Huang in the ABC television comedy Fresh Off the Boat (2015–present). She has been nominated for two TCA Awards and four Critics' Choice Television Awards for Fresh Off the Boat.[1]

Constance Wu
ConstanceImage (cropped).jpg
Wu in August 2015
Born (1982-03-22) March 22, 1982 (age 37)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationState University of New York, Purchase (BFA)
OccupationActress
Years active2006–present
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese吴恬敏

In film, Wu was further lauded for her role as Rachel Chu in the 2018 romantic comedy-drama film Crazy Rich Asians, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, among others. She became the fourth Asian woman to be nominated for the former.[2]

In 2017, Wu was included on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.[3]

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Constance Wu was born on March 22, 1982, in Richmond, Virginia. Her parents emigrated from Taiwan.[4][5][6] Her father, Dr. Fang-Sheng Wu, is a biology and genetics professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and her mother is a computer programmer.[7][8][9] Wu said that her paternal grandparents were very poor, working as bamboo farmers, and did not have the opportunity to get an education, so they were unable to read and write.[10] She is the third of four daughters.[9]

She graduated from Douglas S. Freeman High School, in Henrico County, where she began performing in local theater; she participated in a six-month program during high school at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.[8] Wu later graduated from State University of New York at Purchase's Conservatory of Theatre Arts with a bachelor of fine arts in acting in 2005.[11][12] Wu cited Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee as an influence.[13] After college, Wu studied psycholinguistics and considered pursuing a graduate degree program in speech pathology at Columbia University[14] before deciding to pursue a career in acting and moving to Los Angeles.

CareerEdit

In New York City, Wu got roles onstage and in independent movies. She made her screen debut with a supporting role in Stephanie Daley (2006). She also had later supporting roles in Year of the Fish and The Architect. On television, she appeared in episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Torchwood, and Covert Affairs, and also had a recurring role as Laudine Lee on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live in 2007. Wu moved to Los Angeles from New York in 2010 after a heartbreak and just decided impulsively she said in an interview, where she was cast in Sound of My Voice, directed by Brit Marling.[15]

Since 2012, Wu has starred in the critically acclaimed web series EastSiders. She won two Indie Series Awards, both for Best Ensemble - Drama in 2014 and 2016 for her performance.[16] She was also nominated for two Indie Series Awards for Best Supporting Actress - Drama in those same years.[17][18]

In 2014, Wu participated in Sundance Screenwriters' Lab with two emerging Asian-American directors, Yung Chang and Christopher Yogi, in what she felt was a unique opportunity to support fellow Asian storytellers.[10]

In 2014, after landing a role in one unsuccessful comedy pilot, Wu won the leading role in the ABC comedy series Fresh Off the Boat alongside Randall Park.[19][20] The series is loosely based on the life of chef and food personality Eddie Huang and his book Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir. The series premiered in 2015, and Wu received critical acclaim for her performance.[21][22][23][24] E! named her a breakout star of the 2014-15 television season.[25] For her role as Jessica Huang, she received four nominations for The Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series[26] and two Television Critics Association TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy.[27]

In 2017, she appeared in the Hulu anthology series Dimension 404,[28] and was included on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.[3]

In February 2017,[29] it was announced that Wu had been set to star in Jon M. Chu's adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians, based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan.[30] The film was released in the United States and Canada on August 15, 2018, by Warner Bros., and is the first major Hollywood studio film to feature an all-Asian cast since 1993's The Joy Luck Club.[31] The film was a critical and commercial success and emerged as the highest-grossing romantic comedy in a decade, grossing over $238 million.[32] Wu received critical acclaim for her performance and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, A Satellite Award, two Critics' Choice Movie Awards and two NAACP Image Awards. The film itself won the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Comedy.[33]

In November 2018, Wu starred in a short animated film Crow: The Legend as Skunk.[34]

In 2019, the actress will next star alongside Jennifer Lopez in a new movie titled Hustlers, following a group of Manhattan strippers who take revenge on their wealthy clients.[35][36] The film is set to premiere on September 13, 2019.[37]

In May 2019, Fresh Off the Boat was renewed for a 6th season. On the show's Instagram page when announcing its renewal in a post, Wu commented “Dislike”, and then continued to voice her displeasure for the show's renewal on Twitter, which led many to speculate as to what was the reasoning behind Wu's acts.[38] She later made a statement clarifying her comments, explaining that her disappointment over the show's renewal was due to her subsequently having to pull out of another project that she was "really passionate about."[39] She went on to explain that she felt her role on Fresh Off the Boat had become "easy and pleasant," and she was looking for further challenges, which she felt the new project would have provided.[40]

Wu is reportedly planning to reprise her role as Rachel Chu in both sequels to Crazy Rich Asians titled China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems set for back-to-back filming in 2020.[41]

In June 2019, it was announced that Wu would play the leading role in a film titled Goodbye Vitamin, based on the critically acclaimed debut novel of Rachel Khong. The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures and Wu will serve as an executive producer on the film.[42]

Personal lifeEdit

Wu lives in Los Angeles with her pet rabbit, Lida Rose.[43][44][45]

She is an activist regarding Asian representation in the U.S. media, and she has expressed her support towards bringing more diversity into the film industry. Wu has shared her stories regarding times that she had been refused roles due to her racial ethnicity, and she is hoping that her success in the U.S. film industry would pave more paths for diverse representation in the film industry. [46] The #StarringConstanceWu hashtag meme, adopted by Asian-American activists, inserts Wu's image into film promotional materials in order to highlight the paucity of Asian actors in starring roles.[47][48]

In 2017, Wu worked with Miry's List, an organization that provides essential kits to newly arrived immigrants and refugee families in Southern California. In an interview with Teen Vogue, she spoke about why she chose to work with that organization. Wu stated that she admires "people with the courage to make an immigrant journey in search of peace, safety and well-being for their families. I want them to find that and I wanted to be active in my care."[49]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2006 Stephanie Daley Jenn
2006 The Architect Michelle
2007 Year of the Fish Lucy
2011 Sound of My Voice Christine
2012 Watching TV with the Red Chinese Kimi Hu
2013 Best Friends Forever Melanie
2013 Ties Shannon O Short film
2013 Taylor Manifest Val Short film
2013 Deadly Revenge Kym
2014 Electric Slide Mika Oh
2013 My Mother Is Not a Fish N/A Director and writer
2015 Parallels Polly
2015 Low Budget Ethnic Movie Sara
2017 Nine Minutes Lilian Short film
2017 The Feels Andi
2017 All the Creatures Were Stirring Gabby
2018 Crazy Rich Asians Rachel Chu
2018 Next Gen Molly Voice role
2019 Hustlers Destiny

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Candy Episode: "Underbelly"
2007 One Life to Live Laudine Lee 3 episodes
2011 Torchwood Shawnie Yamaguchi Episode: "Miracle Day: End of the Road"
2012–17 EastSiders Kathy Main role
2013 Browsers Prudence Yu Television pilot
2013 Covert Affairs Wendy Chen Episode: "Rock a My Soul"
2014 Franklin & Bash Caroline Chilton Episode: "Falcon's Nest"
2014 High Moon Mikiko Kobiyashi Unsold television pilot[50]
2015 Childrens Hospital Pepsi Lamarr Episode: "Up at 5""
2015–present Fresh Off the Boat Jessica Huang Main role
2016 Royal Pains Amy Chang Episode: "Fly Me to Kowloon"
2017 Dimension 404 Jane Episode: "Bob"

Music videoEdit

Title Year Performer(s) Ref.
"Family Feud" 2017 Jay Z featuring Beyoncé [51]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2014 Indie Series Award Best Supporting Actress - Drama EastSiders Nominated [52]
Best Ensemble - Drama Won [53]
Critics' Choice Television Award Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series Fresh Off the Boat Nominated [54]
2015 Critics' Choice Television Award Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated [55]
Unforgettable Gala – Asian American Awards Female Breakout Star of the Year Won
Poppy Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
TCA Awards TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated [56]
Gold Derby Awards Best Comedy Actress Nominated [57]
2016 Poppy Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Award Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated [58]
Gold Derby Awards Best Comedy Actress Nominated [59]
TCA Awards TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated [60]
7th Indie Series Awards Best Supporting Actress - Drama EastSiders Nominated [61]
Best Ensemble - Drama Won [62]
2018 Critics' Choice Television Award Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series Fresh Off the Boat Nominated [63]
Detroit Film Critics Society Best Ensemble Crazy Rich Asians Nominated
Hollywood Film Awards Breakout Ensemble Award Won
2019 National Board of Review Best Acting by an Ensemble Won [64]
Satellite Award Best Actress – Comedy or Musical Nominated [65]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Nominated [66]
Gold Derby Awards Best Ensemble Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Nominated [67]
Best Acting Ensemble Nominated [67]
25th Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated [68]
Dublin Film Critics' Circle Best Actress Nominated [69]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedy Movie Actress Pending [70]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit