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‘Star Wars’ actress Kelly Marie Tran speaks out against online critics: ‘I started to believe them’

August 21, 2018

“Star Wars” actress Kelly Marie Tran made her first public statement Tuesday since leaving social media in June.

“You might know me as Kelly. I am the first woman of color to have a leading role in a ‘Star Wars’ movie,” she wrote. “My real name is Loan. And I am just getting started.”

Ms. Tran wrote about the pressure she felt as an Asian-American actress in a New York Times op-ed responding for the first time to the wave of harassment she received that forced her off social media.

“It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them,” Ms. Tran wrote, “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.”

The actress made her “Star Wars” debut in the latest installment of the multi-generational saga as Rose in “The Last Jedi.” Her character, and by extension Ms. Tran, was on the receiving end of harsh criticism in the months following the movie’s release from fans who disliked the new addition.

Ms. Tran described how she “went down a spiral of self-hate” and criticized her appearance and ethnicity. The actress pushed back on what she sees as society’s limited standard of beauty. She wants to defy the “white-dominated world” by pursuing work in the movie industry.

“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.”

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