Kelly Marie Tran Is Fighting For Stories That Need To Be Told, Even If It Involves A Lot Of "No"s
Kelly Marie Tran's character, Rose Tico, made a big impact in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but that's only just the beginning. In a new GQ interview, Tran opened up about how she fights for the stories she wants to be shared, and it involves saying "no" a lot more than you might expect. "I’m chasing a lot of good stories right now,” Star Wars' breakout actor told GQ. She continued, “Things that matter to me, that I want to have a real impact on society.”
After Tran's portrayal of the maintenance worker turned heroic leader in The Last Jedi, the actor/writer has a bright future on her hands. And if she wants to make an impact on the world, she likely will. One of the most important impacts that Tran wants to have is in changing stereotypes, both for women and for Asian-Americans. Just in attempting to share more unique stories, Tran has already defied a harmful stereotype that women face — and it lies in the power of saying "no." She told GQ,
"It took me a while to understand you’re defined by what you do, but also what you say 'no' to. Saying no is so new to me; as a woman, you know, you’re taught to just kind of be gracious all the time and accept everything and always say thank you."
It makes sense that Tran has found that saying "no" is important. So many of the roles offered to people of color reinforce problematic stereotypes, and in order for Tran to make as much of an impact as she wishes, she's not going to accept just any role. The actor's role as Rose in The Last Jedi offered a great example of how just one nuanced representation of an Asian-American actor can create a big difference. "I never saw myself in anything, so I know how important this is," Tran told the magazine.
Rose Tico's badass status allow people who look like Tran to see themselves as the heroes for once, and even if the character started as a sidekick, she ended up saving Finn's (John Boyega) life. That doesn't always happen for women of color, which is something Tran is all too aware of. She told GQ,
"I think there’s something to be said about the roles that are available to you as a woman of color. The reason I got into comedy was not necessarily because I wanted to be a comedian. I knew I had to be good at that, because I would most likely be playing the friend on a sitcom."
Before she got a role in Star Wars, she wrote and acted in comedy sketches for CollegeHumor, including one called "Are You Asian Enough?"
Even though Tran implied that she pursued comedy to prepare herself for the stereotypical person-of-color-funny-sidekick role, the experience proved invaluable for the 29-year-old.
"Improv taught me something so important: how to not be afraid to look silly or to show true human emotion," she told GQ. Tran's ability to show transparency has become one of her greatest assets. She frequently uses social media to share her true feelings about her newfound fame, and it's both endearing and inspiring to witness.
Tran also uses her social media to share her support for social justice movements and feminist causes, and the Star Wars star has a radical vision for the future. "I hope I can be part of this redefining of what 'beauty' is. I think in ten or twenty years, people might look back on this as a time when a lot of women were really standing up for and defining themselves as opposed to letting society define them. I want to see more of that," she told GQ. She continued, "There are so many amazing women out there who I look up to, who are doing that, and I want to be part of it."
Tran most definitely will contribute to the feminist movements occurring in Hollywood and beyond. Although it's uncertain if she will return for the next Star Wars film, you can rest assured she will continue to tell important stories.