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Kelly Marie Tran made waves with the Star Wars fandom after her exiting from Instagram. Not only did the actress prompt the community to take a serious look at the toxic fanbase, she also proved that there was a stronger need for diversity in the franchise. Now Tran has come out with an essay for the New York Times explaining her decision to leave social media.
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.
And those words awakened something deep inside me — a feeling I thought I had grown out of. The same feeling I had when at 9, I stopped speaking Vietnamese altogether because I was tired of hearing other kids mock me. Or at 17, when at dinner with my white boyfriend and his family, I ordered a meal in perfect English, to the surprise of the waitress, who exclaimed, “Wow, it’s so cute that you have an exchange student!”
For a bit of context, Tran deleted her social media account after members of the Star Wars fanbase relentlessly bullied her for her character Rose Tico. While some just outright didn’t like the character, others had went the extra mile to attack Tran personally.
However, Tran isn’t the first victim of harassment from Star Wars fans. Daisy Ridley also deleted her social media after months of harassment. Meanwhile, prequel actors Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker), Jake Lloyd (Young Anakin Skywalker), and Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) all have their horror stories of how fans would attack them personally for ‘ruining’ Star Wars.
Despite all this, Tran is keeping her head up and staying strong. Just like the character Rose Tico, Tran tries to prove herself as an inspiration for minorities. The Star Wars actress has no intention of backing down.
She ended her essay with this:
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.
You can read Tran’s full essay here.