The Star Wars starlet finally breaks her silence…
In the wake of the recent spate of online harassment directed towards actors, writers and directors of the Star Wars franchise, many have taken the drastic step of deactivating their social media accounts to give themselves a reprieve from the constant tirade of abuse directed toward them from a minority of toxic fans. This minority has targeted several high-profile industry professionals and have hurled discriminating remarks at them because of their role in the recent string of Disney fronted Star Wars movies.
Kelly Marie Tran is one such victim. The actor sprung to prominence during last year’s divisive sequel Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a movie that split the fanbase like never before. As a newcomer to the franchise, the role of Rose Tico was a dream come true for her and she quickly became the darling of the production. Director Rian Johnson was one of many captivated by her allure and her warming innocence was seamlessly projected through the screen when the sequel hit our screens last December. However, a small pocket of fans began to harass the actor via her private social media accounts, targeting her character, race and appearance.
It set a new precedent, and Kelly Marie Tran was forced to delete her social media accounts in an attempt to curtail the torrent of abuse and she has remained in exile ever since.
Kelly Marie Tran has spoken out for the first time since her withdrawal from social media and has written a heartfelt statement which was released via The New York Times. In the article, she explains how the online harassment triggered suppressed emotions of prejudice she has wrestled with since she was a child.
“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 colour already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories.
And those words awakened something deep inside me — a feeling I thought I had grown out of.
It reinforced within me rules that were written before I was born, rules that made my parents deem it necessary to abandon their real names and adopt American ones — Tony and Kay — so it was easier for others to pronounce, a literal erasure of culture that still has me aching to the core.
And as much as I hate to admit it, I started blaming myself. I thought, “Oh, maybe if I was thinner” or “Maybe if I grow out my hair” and, worst of all, “Maybe if I wasn’t Asian.” For months, I went down a spiral of self-hate, into the darkest recesses of my mind, places where I tore myself apart, where I put their words above my own self-worth.
I want to live in a world where children of colour 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
This is the world I want to live in. And this is the world that I will continue to work toward”
These are the thoughts that run through my head every time I pick up a script or a screenplay or a book. 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
You might know me as Kelly.
I am the first woman of colour 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”
Kelly Marie Tran will return as Rose Tico in J.J Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX
The Future of the Force. The future of pop culture writing.
Source: The New York Times