Constance Wu & the impossible expectations of representation
Constance Wu was all over the media this past week on a redemption tour of sorts as she promotes her new book, a memoir in essays called Making a Scene. Like many Asian Americans, I’ve had ambivalent, sometimes even negative, feelings about her. I heard the rumors — that she was high-strung, a perfectionist. That she was strangely reclusive and regularly declined to hang out with her co-stars in order to memorize her lines. That the other actors from Fresh Off the Boat and Crazy Rich Asians didn’t like her. That she was a diva.
How anyone in my social circle could actually be privy to this information is still a mystery, but someone put out the word, it got around and had a consistent theme to it. Constance Wu was not the Asian American movie star we wanted her to be.
So when The Tweet happened in 2019 — an expression of frustration and anger seemingly in response to FOTB being surprise renewed for a sixth season — the internet temporarily broke. A lapse in judgment, ten words posted in a very public forum, served as proof that everyone’s suspicions about Constance Wu were woefully correct.
A blitz of social media shaming followed and the Twitter trolls came out hard.
It only ended when Constance Wu abruptly cut off Twitter, Instagram, and the rest of her social presence online. She went dark for three years.