“ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” is only the second sitcom about Asian-Americans, and the first since Margaret Cho‘s All-American Girl in 1994. It has also proven to be a showcase for actress Constance Wu, who plays the wife in a Taiwanese family who move to Orlando to open a restaurant. Wu’s previous roles were mostly in support in projects like “Stephanie Daley” and “Law & Order: SVU.”
“I think that it’s great that we’re claiming our identity as Asian-Americans, and celebrating our voices,” she says of the series. “It’s not making us the butt of the joke, but letting us embrace our differences.”
TheWrap: How did it feel to get a Critics’ Choice Award nomination?”
Contance Wu: Real good. I was flattered and surprised to be in the company of some awesome women [Lisa Kudrow, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ilana Glazer, Gina Rodriguez, and winner Amy Schumer].
Your “Fresh Off the Boat” character Jessica, the ambitious immigrant mom based on the one in Eddie Huang’s memoir–who is she really?
Deep down, Jessica–who is a real live woman existing now–is someone who will basically do anything for her family and for her children, even at the risk of doing something that somebody else might find embarrassing. She doesn’t find that embarrassing at all. She has a strong sense of herself and isn’t afraid to have her own voice even if other people don’t like it.
Is she a “Tiger Mom?”
Well, our show takes place in the ’90s, so before I think that term was coined. Yeah, I think she can be, in that she has high standards, but the way I portray her on the show, she’s not quite as severe as I think the Tiger Mom stereotype is…”