"Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was 'other,' that I didn’t belong," the actress says in essay responding to online harassment.
In fact she hit back at them in a viral New York Times essay in which she declares, "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."
The actress, who plays Rose Tico in the blockbuster franchise, pushed back against a "white-dominated world" and those who want to keep it that way. In what appears to be a direct response to the nasty comments that flooded her social media after starring in "The Last Jedi," she starts off the powerful essay with, "It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them."
"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," she continued, then detailed a few instances of the regular racism she had been subjected to her entire life.
"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 added.
The actress described buying into this narrative as being "brainwashed" while growing up "as a person of color in a white-dominated world," then vowed to do whatever she can to make sure future generations aren't.
"This is the world I grew up in, but not the world I want to leave behind," she wrote. "I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white. 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's words are resonating with readers, big time, with many taking to Twitter to admit they cried while reading it. Her "Last Jedi" director, Rian Johnson, retweeted with a hearty endorsement, while Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson shared it as well. See a sampling of the positive reaction below.
Here’s one of my very favorite people, speaking straight from her heart. https://t.co/gDEFHeE4HA— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) August 21, 2018
“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.” https://t.co/nVJWdS79Qh— Brie Larson (@brielarson) August 21, 2018
Kelly Marie Tran, you have a place on my bulletin board for life. https://t.co/TY4cbZ1DUw— Jenny Han can't come to the phone right now (@jennyhan) August 21, 2018
hi kelly marie tran if you read this please know that you are my hero and i love you— put (@starlightsansa) August 21, 2018
"I want to live in a world where women are not subjected to scrutiny for their appearance, or their actions, or their general existence." Put Kelly Marie Tran in her own superhero movie, it doesn't even have to be fictional https://t.co/hQL7QeA6FR— Carrie Wittmer🐻🍊 (@carriesnotscary) August 21, 2018
BRB, crying. Thank you, Kelly Marie Tran, for sharing this.https://t.co/iQtlmDDOpv— Jandra Sutton (@jandralee) August 21, 2018
Kelly Marie Tran is a badass and deserves ZERO harassment. Some “fans” need some serious help.— Connor Behrens (@ConnorBehrens) August 21, 2018