Nearly three months after being driven off Instragram by racist and harassing comments, Star Wars: The Last Jedi actor Kelly Marie Tran is taking a stand in a new essay, in which she vows, "I am not giving up."
Tran, who debuted as Rose Tico in the divisive 2017 film, was targeted by Last Jedi detractors, who edited racist language into her character's Wookieepedia page, and trolled her Instagram account. After removing all of her Instagram posts in early June, Tran received an outpouring of support from fans, as well as from director Rian Johnson, and co-stars Mark Hamill and John Boyega.
Breaking her silence in a new article, published this morning in The New York Times, Tran recount the effect the harassment had on her, writing, "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."
"I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white," Tran continued. "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."
"You might know me as Kelly," Tran concluded. "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."
Tran will reprise her role as Rose Tico in director J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode IX, opening in December 2019.