The Last Jedi Star Kelly Marie Tran Blasts Online Trolls Who Bullied Her Off Social Media
"I am just getting started..."
Kelly Marie Tran, star of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, has broken her silence on the online harassment that drove her to delete her Instagram account.
In June, Tran -- the first woman of colour to play a lead role in the Star Wars universe -- faced an onslaught of racist and sexist harassment that eventually resulted in Tran wiping her Instagram account.
Now in a piece for The New York Times, Tran has broken her silence on the online harassment she faced.
"It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them," the 29-year-old wrote, speaking out for the first time.
Tran's piece is incredibly powerful, detailing her own struggles in coming to terms with the casual racism that contributed to a feeling of inherent shame, which was then echoed by those that harassed her.
"I had been brainwashed into believing that my existence was limited to the boundaries of another person’s approval. I had been tricked into thinking that my body was not my own, that I was beautiful only if someone else believed it."
"This is what it is to grow up as a person of colour in a white-dominated world," she wrote. "This is what it is to be a woman in a society that has taught its daughters that we are worthy of love only if we are deemed attractive by its sons. This is the world I grew up in, but not the world I want to leave behind."
Tran's piece echoes a Twitter thread that went viral following the release of Crazy Rich Asians where HuffPost's Kimberly Yam summed up how representation matters for minorities.
Like Yam, Tran tracked her journey from feeling immense shame at her own body, gender and race. She speaks of her parents adopting Americanised names, what she called a "literal erasure of culture".
"I want to live in a world where children of colour don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white," Tran wrote.
"I want to live in a world where women are not subjected to scrutiny for their appearance, or their actions, or their general existence. I want to live in a world where people of all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are seen as what they have always been: human beings."
"You might know me as Kelly.
I am the first woman of colour to have a leading role in a “Star Wars” movie.
I am the first Asian woman to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair.
My real name is Loan. And I am just getting started."
Tran is set to reprise her role of Rose Tico in the follow-up to The Last Jedi, the currently untitled Star Wars: Episode IX.
Read her full piece here.
Featured image: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic