Constance Wu is learning from her mistakes, but still fighting for what she wants.
Within the span of about four months, the 37-year-old actress has had to apologize for her "Twitter fiasco" -- in which she slammed the renewal of her comedy, Fresh Off the Boat -- and addressed rumors that she was a "diva" on the set of her upcoming movie, Hustlers.
But Wu insists she didn't mean to offend anyone with her May tweet spree and was only being "dramatic" because she was upset she couldn't take up another project that she was passionate about.
"In every project I choose, I want a character that gets to run the gamut of a full spectrum of an arc," she tells the Los Angeles Times in a new article published on Thursday. That's why she pushed to get cast in the Jennifer Lopez-starring drama, in which she plays stripper Destiny.
"Destiny has moments where she’s really funny, and moments when she’s really sad. Moments where she’s irresponsible, moments where she’s the only one who is responsible. That complexity is what I seek in any role, and this script really afforded her that journey," she explains.
But having to return to the set of the ABC comedy meant Wu had to give up another opportunity to play a complex character. She admits that it wasn't another film, but a play in which she would have taken on a "not Asian-specific" role.
"I had this moment of heat where I got upset because I had to give up a job I had been looking forward to and had been chasing for a while," Wu expresses, describing it as a "Twitter fiasco." "It was moving to me how many people from the show reached out to me, and even on set ... to say, 'Just so you know, we love you and we know who you are, and you didn’t deserve any of that stuff.' Because they also know that I’m an actress -- I can be dramatic."
"I mean, that's our toolkit, right? I’m dramatic. I’m emotional," she continues. "But they also know that that doesn’t represent me because they have a hundred episodes of behavior that proves otherwise."
While she's apologized and moved on, Wu's still on contract for another two years on Fresh Off the Boat. Meanwhile, the experience was a learning experience for Wu, who didn't realize the impact of her words and worries that if the show's upcoming season six is its last, it will be because of her.
"I'm not beating myself up for it, because I know me," Wu says. "But I don’t think I realized that people were paying so much attention to my Twitter. I like that people are expressing their feelings about it, because it improved my awareness of what it means to be a ... public figure…I’ve had a back and forth about it. It’s the line between being a role model, but also authenticity."
Wu knows she's not perfect and thinks people should be able to mess up and be their real self -- but that doesn't mean she's a difficult person. In July, reports surfaced that the actress insisted on getting top billing for Hustlers, and was dubbed a "difficult diva" due to her demands.
Wu had previously debunked the rumors, telling ET in a statement that they "made this film with an incredible spirit of sisterhood and love. Any reports otherwise have felt like an age-old attempt to pit us against each other."
"A woman owning her power rather than being like, 'Who, me?’ I think, is a threat to the patriarchy," Wu says in her interview. "I know some people were like, 'Constance demanded top billing.' No, the script had me as the lead. But it's a juicier story to say the other stuff."
And Wu is the lead in Hustlers, with Destiny's story being the main focus followed by Lopez's character, Ramona.
"I am grateful for my entire career," she stresses. "But the fact that my career has been historic shouldn’t necessarily be a call [to say to] me, 'You should be so lucky' -- it should be a call to pay attention to the fact that this kind of thing shouldn’t have been historic. Me getting to play a fully human experience as an Asian American, that shouldn’t be historic. But it is. Let’s talk about the system, not whether or not I deserve to be in it and how I need to feel about it."
Reiterating how she doesn't take anything for granted, she now knows that she must be more cautious about what she posts online.
"I want to be careful not to blow up my profile anymore. If it happens as a natural extension of me doing the thing that I think I am meant to do, which is to be an actor, then I welcome it and I’m grateful for it," she relays. "That’s not the part of myself I’m seeking to put energy into ... but it teaches me."