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'Hustlers' star Constance Wu on finding her social media voice after tweet rant

Constance Wu arrives for the Gala Premiere of the film "Hustlers" at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday September 7, 2019. Wu says she's grappling with how to use social media in a way that's helpful to herself and others, after her emotionally charged tweets about her series "Fresh Off the Boat." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO — Constance Wu says she’s grappling with how to use social media in a way that’s helpful to herself and others, after her emotionally charged tweets about her TV series “Fresh Off the Boat.”

The “Crazy Rich Asians” star, who is featured alongside Jennifer Lopez in the new stripper story “Hustlers” at the Toronto International Film Festival, made headlines in May after tweeting disappointment about her ABC sitcom being renewed for a sixth season.

She later backtracked, saying her earlier comments were on the heels of a rough day and “ill timed.” She added that she was “grateful” for the “Fresh Off the Boat” renewal and that her disappointment was due to having to turn down another role.

Wu says she’s now trying to figure out her voice on social platforms.

“On the one side there is the possibility of never showing your bad side or horrible side on social media and only expressing positivity and spreading love and light,” the 37-year-old said in an interview at the festival, where “Hustlers” had its world premiere to rave reviews Saturday night.

But that could also feed into a social media culture that only shows highlight reels and lacks authenticity, she added, which can make some people feel a sense of loneliness and isolation.

“I think sometimes, ‘Might it be good to publicly fail?’ And not on purpose so that you’re cutesy and like, ‘Oh, I’m just a regular person,’ but actually do something and say something that’s wrong and … unbecoming or whatever,” Wu said.

Seeing a clumsy celebrity post on social media might bring comfort to some fans, Wu said, but she’s still in the process of refining her own approach when communicating online.

“I’m just trying to find out which one is the most authentic to me and to my comfort level, and which one seems like most like my voice.”

Wu added she’s glad people have spoken out about the tweets.

She wears her heart on her sleeve and cries easily, and sometimes those emotions come through on social media, she said.

“I spent years trying to suppress it, because it’s embarrassing,” Wu said. “It’s embarrassing that you have could be, like, eating nachos with a friend and then talk about a movie and then start weeping. It’s not cool.

“But I guess I kind of found a way to monetize it — I became an actress,” she continued with a laugh.

“It’s not just tears. I mean, all of my joy is enormous, my anger, that moment of heat where I did tweet that — that’s also in proportion to the size of the sadness that I’m capable of feeling. I have a well of emotions that runs very deep and I want to learn how to use that for good and not drown in it.”

Inspired by a true story, “Hustlers” stars Wu as a rookie pole dancer who is taken under the wing of a seasoned stripper, played by Lopez. Tired of handing over their earnings to the club and reeling from the 2008 financial meltdown, they and several other strippers band together to target Wall Street clients and drain their bank accounts using some unsavoury methods.

Lorene Scafaria wrote and directed the story, which also stars Cardi B, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, and Lizzo. It opens in theatres Sept. 13.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press