Awkwafina discusses her role in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, being the funny one, and more in a new interview with Cosmopolitan.

The actress says of the shift from playing the role of the Funny Sidekick to doing her own stunts in a full-blown Marvel superhero movie: “Dangling off of things and flying, falling backward… it’s really different from, say, an indie rom-com. It’s really cool. It’s so weird to switch from ‘friend mode’.”

Awkwafina. Credit: Mei Tao for Cosmopolitan
Awkwafina. Credit: Mei Tao for Cosmopolitan

Awkwafina, real name Nora Lum, adds of the cultural significance of movies like “Shang-Chi”, the first Marvel film to star an Asian superhero: “These movies make me so proud, just as a watcher, because they contribute to visibility, which I do think has real-life effects. When the AAPI community is seen as not ancillary characters, it’s almost like, then people will know that we’re here, you know?”

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She talks about the pressure to be funny all the time: “There’s always going to be the immediate want that is, ‘Okay, well, I’m going to do this because I want you to feel joy right now.’ But ultimately, a lot of comedy is grounded in really long periods of solitude and really crazy contemplation.”

Awkwafina. Credit: Mei Tao for Cosmopolitan
Awkwafina. Credit: Mei Tao for Cosmopolitan

Talk then turns to Awkwafina’s family history, with her telling the mag: “When I was growing up, I knew how I was socioeconomically classified. I knew that my grandma was a working-class immigrant and my dad was a single dad.”

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The actress was raised in Queens by her grandmother and father after her mother died when she was just four years old.

“I knew that I would have to get through in my own way. That taught me a lot of lessons, like, you really have to humble yourself, doing waitress jobs and applying to really hip stores and not getting the job and feeling like, What is even out there? You have to really hit a kind of rock bottom to really want it, to fight for it.”

The September issue of Cosmopolitan hits newsstands nationwide on August 24.