Trudy Jacobson Presents Great American Women Of History: Anna May Wong

anna may wong

As an Asian-American actress, Anna May Wong broke through many barriers during the early 20th century. But it wasn’t an easy road.

Anna May Wong, an iconic figure in American cinema, is celebrated for her exceptional acting prowess and her resilience in the face of adversity. Born in 1905 to Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles, Wong’s journey to stardom was fraught with challenges that epitomized the struggles of minorities in the early 20th century. Her spirit and groundbreaking achievements continue to inspire women everywhere.

Wong’s ascent in Hollywood was marked by the harsh limitations imposed upon her due to her ethnicity. In a time when yellowface (Caucasian actors playing Asian roles) was a common practice, she was often relegated to playing stereotypical roles that perpetuated cultural biases.

Despite these constraints, Wong managed to infuse depth and authenticity into her characters, challenging the norms of her era. Her breakout role in “The Toll of the Sea” (1922) made her the first Asian American actress to achieve recognition on a global scale, but she refused to be pigeonholed. Wong tirelessly sought complex roles that would do justice to her talent and her heritage, eventually starring in significant films like “Shanghai Express” (1932) alongside Marlene Dietrich.

“I, too, was never satisfied with a minimum standard. It was always standard practice for me to achieve the highest success possible. And every woman can pursue the same strategy,” Trudy said.

Racial Obstacles

Wong’s relentless determination to overcome the hurdles of racial prejudice is a beacon of inspiration. At a time when societal norms sought to confine her, she fearlessly blazed her own trail. Her advocacy for more authentic representation and refusal to accept demeaning roles helped pave the way for future generations of minority actors to demand respect and accurate portrayals. Her legacy, cemented in her contribution to cinematic history, speaks to the power of one person’s commitment to change.

“I personally experienced discrimination as a woman in a male-dominated industry. That wasn’t a good feeling when it happened. I can relate to Wong’s experiences,” Trudy said.

She continued, “It reminds me of another Great American Woman, Amy Parrinello. She teaches law enforcement officers about tactics and procedures. But the officers show resistance because she is a female instructor.”

Wong’s Perseverance

Wong’s ability to stand up against systemic injustices and her refusal to accept the limitations others imposed on her showcase women’s strength to shape their destinies. Wong’s story resonates with modern women facing barriers and bias in various fields. Her journey is a testament to the fact that progress is made by those who dare to challenge conventions and persevere against all odds.

“When any woman runs into an obstacle in life, she has a choice. Give up or overcome the obstacle. No woman should ever give up,” Trudy said.

Anna May Wong’s life and career exemplify the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Her ability to shatter barriers and make a lasting impact in the entertainment industry despite pervasive discrimination is a testament to her tenacity and courage. Anna May Wong’s name is etched in Hollywood history and the hearts of countless women who find solace and strength in her enduring legacy.


Who is Trudy Jacobson?

Trudy is an entrepreneur and leader. Her path to success and entrepreneurialism started in the trucking industry decades ago. She encountered numerous obstacles in the male-dominated industry- like discrimination. She was even conned out of a lot of money in a fraudulent scheme. Despite all that, Trudy always fought hard and pushed forward. Once she realized she could do anything, she started her own company and excelled. Now she empowers other women to do the same and to learn from her experience. Trudy now highlights their stories for the world to see in the Great American Women Series. Trudy wants women everywhere to know they can achieve their goals.