Anna May Wong - Muses & the Beau Monde
Anna May Wong, born Wong Liu Tsong; January 3, 1905, was an American actress, considered to be the first Chinese American Hollywood movie star, as well as the first Chinese American actress to gain international recognition. Her varied career spanned silent film, sound film, television, stage, and radio.
I first saw Anna May Wong in a portrait by Cecil Beaton. Sitting in a silk dress delicately buttoned up her neck, an overflowing bouquet in her hands and bough of flowers trailing above her head, the photo is classic Beaton, soft lighting and romance. Her elegance stuck with me and when doing research for this season I discovered what a truly remarkable individual she was.
UNLADYLIKE2020 is a series of 26 short films and a one-hour documentary profiling diverse and little-known American women from the turn of the 20th century, and contemporary women who follow in their footsteps. The episode Anna May Wong: The first Asian American Movie Star,
brings her story of glamour and courage back to life through rare archival imagery, captivating original artwork and animation, and interviews with Shirley Jennifer Lim, author of Anna May Wong: Performing the Modern, and actor and producer Jenna Ushkowitz. This documentary tells her story better than I ever could so I shall leave it to them and include a gallery of Anna May's iconic portraits.
Reading Recommendations & Content Considerations
Performing the Modern The Many lives of Anna May Wong
Shirley Jennifer Lim Anthony B. Chan