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Kelly Marie Tran, Rose Tico from 'The Last Jedi,' Speaks Out

The actress, 29, left social media earlier this summer after being a target for social media trolls.

There are two feelings that you somehow can't forget:  being excluded and feeling as though you're somehow "less than."

According to #TheLastJedi's Kelly Marie Tran, who played maintenance worker Rose Tico, that feeling that she was somehow "other" was one that she thought was left behind her long ago.  According to an essay she wrote for The New York Times, it was when she became a target for online trolls that these long-buried feelings came back to the surface.  That was when she made the decision to delete her Instagram account.

"Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was “other,” that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them," Tran said.

By many accounts, Tran is a likable actress who embraced her entry into the Star Wars universe wholeheartedly.  The sexist, racist harassment that she received in the months that followed the release of The Last Jedi was unspeakable and drove Tran off Instagram.

So, why is she choosing to speak out now?

While there does not appear to be a clear motivation about why Tran is talking now about what happened, she does acknowledge there came a point where she was wondering if her existence was well and truly tied to someone else's approval of her.

"I had been tricked into thinking that my body was not my own, that I was beautiful only if someone else believed it, regardless of my own opinion," she writes.  "I had been told and retold this by everyone: by the media, by Hollywood, by companies that profited from my insecurities, manipulating me so that I would buy their clothes, their makeup, their shoes, in order to fill a void that was perpetuated by them in the first place."

In the midst of the online harassment, several of her colleagues and co-stars, as well as a legion of fans, spoke out - and drew - in support of her.  The hashtag #FanArtForRose is making its way across social media, and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnston, who recently took a fan to task for what he termed "disingenuous [crap]," was blown away when he apparently checked out the hashtag at Bruce Wright's tweeted suggestion that Johnston check out the fan art.  

"Rian and Frank [Oz], check out the tag #FanArtforRose if you want some good food for your spirit and soul. There's an outpouring of love there for Rose Tico and #KellyMarieTran," Wright wrote.

"OMG," was all the director tweeted in response. 

It would seem that while Kelly Marie Tran is now speaking out against her trolls - and those who would make her feel as though she was somehow unworthy - Tran has not lost all hope for humanity and for the world she lives in.

"I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white," she writes.  "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."

The coolest part of her #NewYorkTimes essay is when she fully embraces her Vietnamese heritage and effectively tells the world that they have not heard for the last time from her.

"My real name is Loan," she says.  "And I am just getting started."

It's a powerful start for a young woman who's proven she's more than ready for a Star Wars universe that has always embraced strong women.

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