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Between 1919 and 1961, pioneering Chinese American actress Anna May Wong established an enduring legacy that encompassed cinema, theater, radio, and American television. Born in Los Angeles, yet with her US citizenship scrutinized due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, Wong—a defiant misfit—innovated nuanced performances to subvert the racism and sexism that beset her life and career. In this critical study of Wong's cross-media and transnational career, Yiman Wang marshals extraordinary archival research and a multifocal approach to illuminate a lifelong labor of performance. Viewing Wong as a performer and worker, not just a star, To Be an Actress adopts a feminist decolonial perspective to speculatively meet her as an interlocutor while inviting a reconsideration of racialized, gendered, and migratory labor as the bedrock of the entertainment industries.