Kelly Marie Tran carved out her own space in The Last Jedi with a big-hearted performance as Rose Tico, so what comes next for the star? GQ have interviewed Kelly to find out….
Since The Last Jedi, the 29-year-old actor and writer is busier than ever, pursuing creative fulfillment and the stories she has long wanted to see in the world. “I think people can forget that it’s a luxury to have a dream,” says Tran, who grew up in San Diego. Her parents, refugees from Vietnam, “essentially gave up their whole lives” to live in a community where she and her sisters could attend good public schools: “We never went on vacation, they never bought new clothes…It was very much the immigrant mentality of sacrificing so their children could have choices.”
Tran acknowledges how much her life has changed since The Last Jedi, though she notes that she is recognized in public only occasionally (“I look so different from Rose in real life!”). While it’s not yet clear whether Rose Tico will appear in Episode IX, you can expect Kelly Marie Tran to continue doing work she loves and fighting for projects she believes are necessary. “I’m chasing a lot of good stories right now,” she says, “things that matter to me, that I want to have a real impact on society.”
GQ: How life has changed for you since The Last Jedi? Anticipation was one thing, but what’s been your experience since everybody in the world finally got to see the movie?
Kelly Marie Tran: You know, I think my outlook has definitely changed in that I just want to continue to do good work. I’m happy that I let myself feel all of the emotions that came with being in a huge movie like this for the first time, because it only happens once. I think a lot of times people are afraid to let themselves be vulnerable in that way, but I’m so happy I let myself do that.
I think some people think when you get a movie like this, suddenly everything will be perfect, you’ll have madeit, you’ll be done—but that’s not how it works. I’m constantly fighting to get stories that I want told to be told. That’s something I’ve spent a lot of time on since the movie came out. It’s been really wonderful that it’s given me [those] opportunities.
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