In this age of instant gratification – when everything seems to be available in a single tap or click; when anyone can get sensationally famous by posting random or intentional posts that may trigger the attention of the public – Crazy Rich Asians actress Constance Lau reminds us that glory still comes to those who wait.
While most people came to know the Singaporean actress and model for her role as gossip queen socialite Celine Lim in the 2018 Hollywood comedy-drama Crazy Rich Asians, her decade-long journey of patience and determination in order to get that big break in the industry is an open book to many. Constance admits that in those years of waiting, the thought of calling it quits also came into her mind. “I think it was during those ten years that I wanted to give up. But I didn’t because I haven’t done anything substantial yet. That’s why I felt giving up at that point would be a waste. Looking back, there are certain points where I feel that maybe I should give up but, ultimately, I really enjoy what I do. And I think that trumps everything.”
Finally Emerging from Her Chrysalis
Not only Constance was recognized for her role, but she was also applauded by the International platform for being one of the best-dressed Singaporean during the premiere of Crazy Rich Asians. She stood out from the usual sparkling and glamorous Western-styled gowns by stunning the crowd with her customed red and white chinoiserie-inspired gown made by Time Taken to Make a Dress. Aside from becoming the only Singaporean to get listed into Vanity Fair’s “Must-see Looks” of that night, what’s totally remarkable was how she managed to fly to Los Angeles on her own and did her hair and makeup for that night’s event. “Honestly, I didn’t even realize that it was me until someone mentioned that I’m the only Singaporean featured on Vogue. Going up there, I never thought too much about it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to be in Hollywood, on a red carpet for a Hollywood film! I didn’t want anything else. I just wanted to be in the moment and enjoy whatever I was doing there. So, to be called one of the most fashionable people in Vogue magazine, I think that was a nice surprise. It was a pleasant surprise.”
Constance fondly recalls how her love for acting stemmed from watching Hong Kong dramas with her parents when she was still a child. “Growing up, I used to watch a lot of Hong Kong dramas with my parents. I often see the same actors playing different characters. And I think that was something that I really wanted to try. Those shows always got me thinking ‘how nice it would be if I could do something like that for the rest of my life: like playing different characters.” She believes that that was the driving point for her to pursue acting rather than push for a corporate job which she thought was something mundane and monotonous. “I want to do something more exciting. Something that keeps changing or is different, like my style: always trying new things.”
With this dynamic way of thinking, it is no wonder how she was able to catch the attention of many fashion enthusiasts. “I don’t have a specific style. I kind of go with the flow most of the time. Basically, I need to be comfortable in whatever I am wearing – this is usually my style. But I also like things that are a little bit loud sometimes. Because it gets boring if you keep doing the same thing over and over again. Sometimes, you need a bit of, you know, a spark. A little bit of bend to break the monotony.”
Stepping Stones towards Better Roles and Representations
After the successful release of the first major Hollywood movie that features Asian and Asian-American casts (25 years after The Joy Luck Club), Constance shares it has opened more doors for better roles and cultural representations among Asians in the industry. “I think for a very long time, diversity has always been important in Hollywood. Something that a lot of us were hoping for as children, right? When we were younger, we watch all these American superheroes but there wasn’t an Asian superhero that we could look up to – someone that looks just like us. So, it’s great that Crazy Rich Asians was that movie to open the doors for us – the stepping stone to Asian representation. Ever since then, most of the movies have one or two Asians in them. Slowly but surely, we will get there. I mean there is even a Marvel Asian Superhero now!”
With the roles she’s assigned right now, Constance feels more validated with the work she does when people come to her and tell her how they view her portrayal of the characters she’s assigned to. “There are different versions and different takes on how they view your character. Awards would be great, but I don’t have to have them. Of course, it would be nice if I get rewarded for a piece of work that I’ve done but I think as long as people enjoy watching my shows, that is probably my greatest validation.”
Constance will be starring in the fourth season of the Singaporean drama series Lion Mums. She is also into a short film that touches on non-verbal communication *launching on the 7th of May on Vidsee and a horror filming – Late Night Ride, that was supposed to come out before COVID happened – but *would probably be released this year. On top of these, she’s been very active in community activities. She likes to volunteer, provide services to people in certain ways, and help the less fortunate.
Shedding a Different Light
Strengthened by the adversities she was prompted to face for years, Constance sheds light on her followers by providing entertaining and light-hearted content on her social media account. “COVID-19 has been a difficult time for a lot of us. And I think if there’s one thing I can do to inspire people through my following, it would be posting hilarious content. That to me is also a form of inspiration. When I scroll through Instagram especially after a long day, sometimes I just want to watch something silly, which is the kind of content I like to create too.”
When it comes to cultural representations and stereotypes, Constance also confessed how she felt against people who gave untoward comments towards her.
“I think my advice would be: before you say something, take time to consider what you’re going to say, I feel that our generation is a little bit harsh. Sometimes, it may come off as something that isn’t ideal. So, I think (it would be beneficial) to process it and to think of how the other person on the receiving end would take it. Put others in your thoughts before voicing your opinion. I think that is something that we should give thought to– and something that I also need to focus on as well.”
Photographed by: Emerson Baun
Tulip Tote Bag by Little Liffner
Makeup and hair by Manisa Tan
Using Hera (Makeup) & Keune (Hair)
Sand & rocks by Eroes Eco-Solutions Pte Ltd
Shot on location at In the Studio SG
Set-up design & overall creative direction by the Gen-Z production team