It would make sense to make Constance Wu my WOC Wednesday honoree, since I’ve mentioned plenty of times how I’ve seen many similarities between her portrayal of Jessica Huang and my mom. Not only is Wu a great actress, but she’s also very adamant about saying that even though she’s on a show that has the heavy weight of racial representation on it, she doesn’t have to appease everyone who’s watching.
As she said in her TIME interview (partially titled, “I Don’t Need to Represent Every Asian Mom Ever”), she said:
We shouldn’t be a voice for all Asians. We are such a varied group that there’s no one show that can be like, “This is what Asian America looks like!” But we’re given that burden because we’re so rarely represented. If you see Tina Fey on television, you’re not like, “All white women are like Tina Fey.” Yet people are like, “Oh, Jessica Huang’s not like my mother, but this sho is supposed to be about Asians, so shouldn’t she be like my mother?
I understand the burden, because the history of our representation on TV is very sparse. But we’d be doing a disservice to the people who are worried about that by watering it down instead of trying to be specific. Specificity is what makes good storytelling, and good storytelling is what makes money, and making money is then what encourages new producers to invest in different stories about Asians.
She stated more about addressing some viewers’ worries about Tiger Mom stereotypes when speaking to The Muse:
We have real source material in Jessica Huang. I don’t think I should play against a stereotype just to fight the war against stereotypes. Because I’m playing a role that carries the show and a character that has an arc, occasionally elements of Jessica’s personality do fall into a Tiger Mom stereotype. But I’m playing them because they are true to her, not because I am exploiting a stereotype. I’m never doing that. You have to serve the truth of the character and Jessica Huang does what she digs, whether or not it falls into a stereotype.
Sidenote: Interestingly enough, she seems to have a lot of supportive comments in both interviews when it comes to Eddie Huang and his emotional battles over the show. Since I had just written about Huang’s latest emotive Twitter moment, I thought that was intriguing.
I do have to say that even when reading about Wu and her time with the actual Jessica Huang, I have still found something that reminds me of my mom. In the TIME interview, Wu says that Jessica told her over dinner how her sons think she’s too loud. “My sons always told me that I’m too loud and I need to not be so loud,” Wu reports Huang as saying. “I told them they just have to get used to it because that’s who I am!” Very familiar territory for me.
Anyways, I’m writing all of this to say I’m a fan of Constance Wu. Keep representing Jessica the way you know how, Constance!
What do you love about Constance Wu? Give your opinions in the comments section below!