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Kelly Marie Tran had had enough. It wasn’t simply venom spewed from haters. No, it was far worse.
The actress endured a relentless amount of abuse from trolls — both racist and sexist — simplly because she is an Asian woman who appeared in a Star Wars film.
After an under-the-radar complete departure from social media earlier this summer, Tran opened up about her decision in a New York Times op-ed posted Tuesday.
“It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them,” Tran began her piece. “Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories.”
She continued, “Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was ‘other,’ that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them. And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me, the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all.”
Tran starred as Rose in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And while there were some trolls who made it clear they did not care for the character, there was also overwhelming support from fans — and celebs — who loved Rose and Tran. Mark Hamill and director Rian Johnson were among those who told the so-called fans to back off.
For Tran, the garbage spewed at her via her social media was far more than haters with an ax to grind over a franchise they feel belongs to them.
“I want to live in a world where children of color 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.”
She may have had enough of social media, but as for Star Wars, that’s a different story. Tran will appear as Rose once more in the upcoming, untitled installment directed by J.J. Abrams.
“I know that I now belong to a small group of privileged people who get to tell stories for a living, stories that are heard and seen and digested by a world that for so long has tasted only one thing,” she wrote. “I know how important that is. And I am not giving up. You might know me as Kelly. I am the first woman of color 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.”
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