Film

‘Star Wars’ Actress Kelly Marie Tran Hits Back At Racist Trolls In Powerful Essay

"You might know me as Kelly. My real name is Loan. And I am just getting started."

Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran has opened up about the racist abuse and the “spiral of self-hate” that led her to quit social media, in a powerful essay for The New York Times.

Tran, who is Vietnamese-American, deleted her Instagram earlier this year after being targeted by pissy racist fuckwits who didn’t like her character Rose Tico in The Last Jedi. 

“It wasn’t their words,” Tran wrote in the essay, which was published on Tuesday. “It’s that I started to believe them,” she wrote.

“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… 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.”

“I believed those words, those stories, carefully crafted by a society that was built to uphold the power of one type of person — one sex, one skin tone, one existence,” she continued. “It reinforced within me rules that were written before I was born, rules that made my parents deem it necessary to abandon their real names and adopt American ones — Tony and Kay — so it was easier for others to pronounce, a literal erasure of culture that still has me aching to the core.”

“For months, I went down a spiral of self-hate, into the darkest recesses of my mind, places where I tore myself apart, where I put their words above my own self-worth. And it was then that I realized I had been lied to.”

“This is what it is to grow up as a person of color in a white-dominated world. 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 then pledged to do what she could to change things for the better.

“I know the opportunity given to me is rare,” she wrote. “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. I know how important that is.”

“You might know me as Kelly,” she concludes. “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.”

You can read Kelly Marie Tran’s full essay here.