Star Wars actor Kelly Marie Tran has hit back at online bullies who drove her to quit social media back in 2018.
The star, who will reprise her role as Rose Tico in the imminent Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, after first playing the character in 2017’s The Last Jedi, deleted her Instagram posts last year after receiving scores of abusive messages online.
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“I realise that it was a big moment in culture,” Tran told the Build series of the hate she received after becoming the first woman of colour to land a leading role in the Star Wars franchise, “but for me, it’s not something that I use to define my identity by.
“I think there’s a tendency for, when someone experiences something like that, to feel like they’re defined by that, but I think I realised through that whole experience, I’m like, ‘Oh, no, I get to decide which narrative I’m playing in my mind. I get to decide who I am.'”
“And I think that’s really important to realise that,” she continued, “regardless of who you are and what you’re in and what you’re associated with, being able to be honest and vulnerable and sort of take care of yourself mentally is a very… wildly important thing. It’s something I didn’t understand until I got into this.”
Tran was open about the negative reactions she experienced after Star Wars in a candid August 2018 op-ed she wrote for the New York Times, titled, “I Won’t Be Marginalized by Online Bullying.”
Tran has previously discussed the hate she received in a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the New York Times, called I Won’t Be Marginalised By Online Bullying.
Talking of her bullies in the piece, she wrote: “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.”
Discussing the writing of the piece now, Tran reflected: “I think when I wrote that op-ed, which is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, having it go out into the world made me feel so empowered. You know? Because I was finally speaking my truth.”
Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker comes to cinemas on December 19.