Constance Wu is a great actor. The anxious, steely, often lost-in-translation young matriarch she plays on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat is an invention as sharp and expansive as Lucille Ball’s alternative persona (only could Lucy do the accent?). But Constance also knows that—as one of the only actors to portray Asian-American womanhood on television—she is tasked with being more than just an actor. And she takes this second gig just as seriously. On the road with her for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I was not only able to access a glint of Constance’s humor (the girl is very wicked) but also witness her giving nature, her monstrously big heart, her passion for change and the careful way she lets everyone around her share the challenges of their own identity. This year—when she spoke out against Hollywood’s knack for dismissing sexual misconduct in our great men—she chose honesty and fight over the neutrality so many think they need to maintain in order to further their careers. It was a hallelujah moment.
Dunham is the creator and star of the Emmy-winning HBO series Girls