Speaking out for the first time since deleting her Instagram account earlier this summer, Last Jedi actress Kelly Marie Tran affirmed that while she was truly hurt by the toxicity of certain Star Wars fans, she would not give in to them.
Penning a short but impassioned op-ed for The New York Times, Tran wrote about her experience of being marginalized all her life. After so much belittling and shame, she began to buy into the lie that she was lesser, just because of her Vietnamese heritage.
"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," she wrote. "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."
Mentioning Star Wars only once, the actress voiced her gratitude for the oppurtunity to star in and make films:
"I know the opportunity given to me is rare. 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. And I am not giving up."
She finished off the op-ed with:
"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."
Tran played Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a Resistance member who becomes emboldened to do more for the fight against the First Order after the death of her sister, Paige (Veronica Ngo). She strikes up a relationship with Finn (John Boyega), traveling to Canto Bight in search of someone who can deactivate the First Order's hyperspace tracking device.
Both Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson and star Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) voiced their support for Tran on Twitter.