"Being a woman is something you know in your soul, not something [dictated by] your body type."
Constance Wu has discussed body image confidence and stereotypes.
The Fresh Off The Boat star appears to be confident in her body image. “My small breasts don’t bother me. In fact, I love them,” she said.
However, she did not always possess such a confident attitude. “I grew up at a time when people said, ‘Real women have curves’,” she explained. “But I didn’t have curves. Did that mean I wasn’t a real woman?”
Models at the time also proved to be be unhelpful in terms of inspiration. “I couldn’t look up to models, either, because they were tall and waifish,” Wu says. “I’m short, and I’ve always had a soft belly. So in high school, in an effort to be a “real” woman, I started wearing padded bras.”
Wu goes on to explain that society and culture reflected through innocuous media influenced her when growing up. “When you’re a teenager, you take cues from your environment to find the metrics of how a culture measures a woman’s worth.”
“And I saw billboards, magazines, TV shows that all equated breasts with beauty. So learning to be proud of my flat chest, to stop wearing padded bras — it was a real milestone for me.”
Now, the television star is far more confident with her body image. “Now I love how small breasts look in certain clothes,” Wu states. “I’m a long-distance runner, and I love how it helps my athleticism. Of course curvy women are real women. But small, short women are real, too. In fact, there is no part of your anatomy, be it breasts or genitalia, that makes you a real woman.”
“Trans women are real women. Being a woman is something you know in your soul, not something [dictated by] your body type.”
Nonetheless, Wu still faces pressure from others. As an Asian American, Wu says that perspectives of her body image from Asian culture often do not gel with her.
“When I was in Singapore and Malaysia filming Crazy Rich Asians this past summer, I’d go into skin-care stores, and there would be all these skin-whitening products,” Wu explains. “The salesgirls would push whitening products on me and try to fade my freckles.”
“This comes from an old Asian cultural idea that dark skin signifies being in the fields and working-class. But I’m an American, and Americans are proud of our working-class roots.”
For Wu, retaining her heritage is more important than adhering to cultural preferences. “It signifies our heritage, and that’s not something to hide. I’m not a white translucent tulip. I’m the granddaughter of Chinese bamboo farmers, the daughter of immigrants, the sister of an ultramarathoner (who runs for hours…in the sun!), and an American.”
“I like my freckles and my natural skin color. It’s who I am.”
In other news, Marco Polo’s star Michelle Yeoh was cast to star alongside Wu in Crazy Rich Asians – The movie which will feature an all Asian cast is an adaption of Kevin Kwan’s novel.