As she makes her buzzy dramatic debut in this summer’s The Farewell, Awkwafina talks shop with her friend Margaret Cho—and returns to the deli in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where she worked before hitting it big.
Additionally, Awkwafina appears inside the magazine fully unretouched. To celebrate the strength and beauty of women in their most authentic states, Harper’s Bazaar produced all of the stories in their feature well without any airbrushing at all.
On life after Crazy Rich Asians and representation in Hollywood: “I thought that I had a good fan base, and then Crazy Rich Asians came out, and I was like, ‘Oh, okay!’ Growing up, I really had only you [Margaret Cho] to look up to. Your existence meant so much to me because it showed me what was possible. After Crazy Rich Asians, people would come up to me crying—it was almost a bittersweet joy for them seeing a movie like that and realizing how important representation is. Asian-American actors have told me that before Crazy Rich Asians they couldn’t get one audition. Now they’re getting tons. It helped open the door for movies like The Farewell.”
On attending awards shows and red carpets—especially after CRA: “I grew up never really feeling pretty or like a girly girl. I was uncomfortable in my skin when it came to that stuff. I had been dressed up for events and had gotten glam before, but at the Crazy Rich Asians premiere I looked in the mirror and it felt different. It sounds clichéd, but I felt like a princess.”
On growing up in Queens: “When you’re in the outer boroughs, it’s a very specific experience because you’re in the shadow of a city that to you represents success and where you want to be. The outsider feeling really drives you.”
On navigating her personal life and self-care: “Working in this industry, you have to cultivate stability in other areas of your life. I was in a long-term relationship, and now I’m in another one, so that’s been a very stable thing for me. And I talk to my grandma every day.”
First Image: Gown by Carolina Herrera from the Fall 2019 Collection | Earrings by Jacob & Co. | Ring by De Beers
Second Image: Gown by Dolce&Gabbana from the Fall 2019 Collection | Ring by Jacob & Co. | Sneakers by Alexander McQueen
Styled by Joanna Hillman
[Photo Credit: Allie Holloway/Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, carolinaherrera.com, dolcegabbana.com]