Constance Wu stars as Destiny in Hustlers, a movie about a group of strip club employees who unite to hustle wealthy men. Photo: STXfilms

Constance Wu gives a voice to marginalized characters in Hustlers

by Neil Bui

In Hustlers, Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat, Crazy Rich Asians) plays a stripper, based on the true story of a group of New York dancers stealing from Wall Street patrons. For Wu, this opportunity was more than just a role, it was humanizing commonly demeaned people.

“I want people to care about these girls as humans and not just write them off as their occupation or their bad deeds,” says Wu.

Wu’s character, Destiny, is much different than the primetime mom she plays on Fresh Off the Boat and the economics professor she played in Crazy Rich Asians.

“Destiny is a girl who didn’t really start out with much in her life,” explains Wu. “And she uses the currency that the culture assigns her to get by in this world because she didn’t really have much of an education, her family life was difficult.”

However, at Destiny’s core are motivations that anyone can relate to and certainly see similarities with mama Jessica Huang or Professor Rachel Chu.

“Self-worth is really important in terms of what you’ll end up doing. At the end of the day, Destiny is a woman who wants more than money and more than security, she wants friendship and she wants love.”

With Hustlers being different from the type of work Constance Wu has done in the past, she is challenging herself to work in roles and films that allow her to break new ground as an actress and for the storytelling medium.

“I want to give characters a voice who haven’t had a voice before, that haven’t been explored fully,” she says.

Not only that, she wants to work with diverse, underrepresented directors and has been able to succeed in that way.

“I want to make sure I do right by them as an actor and we do right by them as storytellers. I want to support the female directors, directors of color and LGBTQIA directors. I really have done that for the most part. Since Fresh Off the Boat, I’ve almost exclusively, in terms of live-action stuff, only done projects that were directed by either women or people of color. I’m actually proud of that, and happy to continue to do it.”

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