Kelly Marie Tran is back in the spotlight, and shes got something to say. Earlier this summer, the actress made headlines after deleting all of her posts on Instagram, an apparent response to the online harassment shes received since starring in Star Wars: The Last Jedi as Rebel fighter Rose Tico. Director Rian Johnson quickly came to her defense, as did co-stars like Mark Hamill and John Boyega. Fans as well rallied by creating the hashtag #FanArtforRose and organizing Rose cosplay meetups at this years Comic-Con.
Now, a few months later, Tran has decided to chime in herself, writing an essay for The New York Times about the ordeal and saying she had gone “down a spiral of self-hate” due to all the racist harassment she received.
“It wasnt their words, its that I started to believe them,” she begins. “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.”
In the essay, Tran, who is Vietnamese-American, explains that the harassment she received online took her back to her childhood. When she was nine, she stopped speaking Vietnamese so other kids wouldnt mock her. When she was 17 and out at dinner with her boyfriends family, a waitress remarked to them that it was “so cute that you have an exchange student!” She also says that her parents took on American names, Tony and Kay, when they came to this country. Trans own real name is Loan.
Society, the Star Wars actress writes, “taught me I existed only in the background of their stories, doing their nails, diagnosing their illnesses, supporting their love interests—and perhaps the most damaging—waiting for them to rescue me. And for a long time, I believed them.”
Now, she writes, shes no longer going to shy away from the access shes been given. “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.”
The actress has not yet returned to social media, nor has she shared any plans to do so. But shes got a few projects to focus on in the meantime, including the series Sorry for Your Loss, alongside Elizabeth Olsen, and the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX.
Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:2018 V.M.A.s Red Carpet Looks: All the Must-See OutfitsYohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.