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Kelly Marie Tran Reflects on Starring in Raya After Last Jedi Backlash


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Raya and the Last Dragon star, Kelly Marie Tran, has opened up about starring in the film after she faced backlash for The Last Jedi. Raya and the Last Dragon released on Disney+ and in theaters in March, and viewers quickly took to Raya, who has quite a bit of potential as the next Disney princess. As the voice of Raya, Tran's performance was stellar and crucial to the movie, as she expertly brought the fiery, independent lone guardian to life in a way that no one else could.

While Tran received positive feedback on her Raya role, not all of her acting experiences have been as pleasant as this one. Before she was Raya, she starred as Rose Tico in The Last Jedi, becoming the first Asian-American female to star in a major Star Wars role. Despite her major role and history-making, Tran faced intense backlash and harassment following the film's release. Individuals went far beyond thoughtful criticism and broached into all-out sexism and racism towards Tran, even causing her to delete all of her Instagram posts. To make matters worst The Rise of Skywalker subsequently snubbed Tran, with her character receiving less than 2-minutes of screen time. Now, Tran is reflecting on her experiences.

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RELATED: Why Raya Needs To Become The Next Official Disney Princess

In an interview with Collider, Tran opened up about her role in Raya and the Last Dragon in the wake of The Last Jedi backlash. In regards to the harassment, Tran has revealed that she accepts the fact that she doesn't have control over the narrative. Her experience with Star Wars taught her to stifle her expectations and to simply live in the moment. She can't control how individuals will respond to her performance, so she is choosing to enjoy her journey instead. While she has gone through difficult times, she is choosing not to dwell on it and is instead focusing on the people who believe in her and support her. At the end of the day, she is immensely proud of herself for her growth as an actress. Read her statement below:

“It’s hard. I think as an actor you don’t really have control over what is happening in a narrative, if that makes sense. And I think as an actor and as an individual, I always try to take my expectations out of the situation because I also want to, as much as possible, try and be present in the experience. I am really, really proud of the way that I’ve been able to show up for myself during this whole journey because, again, if we’re going through my journey and my career, I went from sketch comedy and doing improv and indie theater to then doing Star Wars and then from there doing [Raya]. It’s nonsensical. It’s miraculous, nonsensical, magical stuff that, for me, I just want people to know and believe that you might go through certain times in your life that are hard and difficult, but coming out on the other side of that and having your support group and being with people who believe in you, there’s nothing like it in the entire world. And I think for me, moving from the Star Wars experiences to then going to Raya has been absolutely miraculous. Raya for me is about celebrating the parts of myself that as a child I was taught that I should hide and what a poetic healing experience that has been.”

While Tran didn't directly reference her Star Wars backlash, she did admit that moving from Star Wars to Raya was a miraculous experience for her. When she brought Raya to life she was able to use and celebrate parts of herself that had previously been subdued. It is comforting to see that Tran is healing and that she enjoyed her voice acting experience, especially since she is uncertain about returning to Star Wars as Rose. She has simply changed too much as an actress and as a person since Star Wars. Her role as Raya is the beginning of a new chapter in her journey that she very much needed after the Star Wars controversy.

Celebrities facing harassment and bullying is not a new trend in Hollywood. In fact, Daisy Ridley faced backlash and harassment for her role in the franchise, as well. Minorities and females generally face the most backlash, though, as sexist and racist individuals vehemently target them on social media. Sadly, social media also has a strong bandwagon effect - when someone posts something negative, many more jump in and continue the trend until the user is forced off the platform altogether. Why it gives these users satisfaction to do such things is unknown, but many celebrities are refusing to be shot down by them, including Tran. She made an epic comeback with her role in Raya and the Last Dragon that will surely silence her haters and prove to them that their harassment is ineffective

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The last post in this topic was made more than 14 days ago. Only post in this topic if you have something valuable to add. Irrelevant posts are not allowed and you will be warned/banned for spamming old topics.

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