NEW YORK (WABC) -- The final episode of "Fresh Off The Boat" airs amid praise for the way this sitcom helped bring more diversity to prime time, and at least one article singled out Constance Wu for helping achieve this goal.
In the course of half a dozen seasons on ABC, she's become a star on the big screen in movies like, "Crazy Rich Asians" and "Hustlers." Filming opposite Jennifer Lopez in New York City must have seemed like sweet justice given how long Wu struggled to make it in the business.
She describes her need to act as "a compulsion."
"It's a calling," she said.
Wu studied acting at SUNY Purchase and headed to Manhattan after graduating in 2005 with the intention of becoming a theater actress.
"I did the whole going to chorus calls, open calls, doing regional theater, waitressing," she said. "I waitressed at the Union Square Coffee Shop."
She spent five years looking for her big break.
"Being young and ambitious and beating yourself up a lot if you didn't have a good audition because you knew what you were capable of, but I wasn't yet able to get there," she said.
Then, she decided to move to Los Angeles.
"This guy dumped me, and it broke my heart, and I had to get out of town," she said. "Truly, that's the only reason, because I wasn't planning on doing film and TV back then."
Five more years would pass before "Fresh Off The Boat."
So did the struggle make success all the more sweet?
"I don't think it makes it sweeter," she said. "I think it gives you a type of grit and helps you just strengthen your conviction as to why you're doing this, and you need that inner strength and grit to survive Hollywood."
And now, as she readies to say goodbye to the TV family that helped make her a rising star, there's no focus on looking back.
"It was a struggle," she said. "But there was a beauty in that struggle."
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Constance Wu talks 'Fresh Off The Boat' finale on ABC
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