Asian representation in Hollywood is still hard to come by outside of the action genre, and only a few break through to explore other parts of the Hollywood machine. Vietnamese American actress, Kelly Marie Tran, is someone who broke through and made her mark on Tinseltown as Rose Tico in the latest Star Wars trilogy films and Disney animated film Raya and the Last Dragon.
Raya is the first Southeast Asian Disney Princess who is bold and unafraid to face whatever dangers lie ahead. In many ways, Tran relates to the character as she’s had to stand against her fears dealing with racist and sexist backlash from some in the Star Wars Fandom, which caused the actress to delete her social media. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Tran talks about her positive and experiences and why leaving social media was necessary after Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered.
“For me, I knew that the most important thing was to protect my mental health and make myself a space where I felt like I could create again and where I could be an artist again, which for a time, I didn’t know if I could do that again. That being said, I don’t think leaving social media is the answer for everyone. I think it was the answer for me at the moment.”
Despite the challenging situation she was put in, Tran acknowledges her privilege and will look back on all of this with a positive attitude. “I still went from being someone who was working in an office answering phones, and picking up coffee, and driving kids to hockey practice, to then being in Star Wars and then getting to be a Disney princess,” She says.
“ I know how rare it is, and I know how many people grow up dreaming of getting to do the things that I’m doing, and I wish, so wholeheartedly, that I could use myself as a example to say that if you want to do something impossible, you can… because it wasn’t that long ago, I was cleaning bathrooms at a yoga studio.”