Kelly Marie Tran has spoken out for the first time since wiping her Instagram in June amid reports of extensive harassment about her role in the Star Wars franchise.
In a New York Times op-ed that was published on Tuesday, Tran—who played Resistance mechanic Rose Tico in The Last Jedi—reflected on her decision to delete her account after being subjected to months of sexist and racist comments. Tran is the first woman of color to appear in a lead role in a Star Wars movie.
“It wasn’t their words, 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.”
The 29-year-old Asian-American actor went on to discuss her lifelong battle with racial and misogynistic persecution before vowing to continue fighting for a better future.
“I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white,” she 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.”
Tran concluded the essay with a powerful announcement of her real name.
“You might know me as Kelly,” she wrote. “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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