Actress Constance Wu would like mainstream media to realize the differences between Asians and Asian-Americans.
The “Fresh Off the Boat” star aired her sentiments in a recent interview with Allure Magazine, stating that she wishes more people in the entertainment industry understand such distinctions.
Sharing her own experiences as an Asian-American actress, she narrated how the only roles she was typically offered when she was just beginning were those of “the best friend or the assistant to the white person.”
She explained that landing a leading role in the sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat” made her realize that she had been cast in strictly sidekick roles just because she was an Asian-American actress.
“Once I was in the lead role and other people started making such a big deal out of it, I realized I was previously blind to it,” Wu was quoted as saying.
And as diversity in Hollywood is now being actively included in discussions, Wu prefers that the industry be aware of which group it is pertaining to in each conversation.
“I wish reporters were more in tune to the difference between the Asian experience and the Asian-American experience,” the actress said.
Wu pointed out that her experience growing up as a Taiwanese-American in a white community in Richmond, Virginia, is a totally different story from that of an Asian person who grew up in Asia.
“I think often they lump the two together and think that when I talk about Asian-American narratives that they can cite ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ or ‘Mulan’ as proof of concept when it’s a different experience,” she further explained.
She stated that while many Asian stories have been told in the west, there is an abundance of Asian-American narratives that are waiting to hit the mainstream in the U.S.
“A lot of times people think of Asian culture as some mythical world, instead of modern people with modern occupations with modern problems, modern tools,” she said.
“We’re not all just talking Taoism and kung fu ― some people are just trying to get over their breakup with their boyfriend, and they’re Facebook stalking.”
Based on the novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, the upcoming film “Crazy Rich Asians” stars Constance Wu as a Chinese-American economics professor who has a rich Singaporean boyfriend.