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Introducing Kelly Marie Tran

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming out soon, and Buzzfeed recently profiled Kelly Marie Tran. She is the first Asian American female lead in the Star Wars franchise–an amazing, and long overdue, feat since the groundbreaking premiere in 1977. Tran details how her life has changed since the audition while also being in this strange static position until the movie comes out. She sounds smart, grounded, and fully aware of where she’s coming from. After she finished filming, she spent the next year volunteering in South Africa, and eventually, took her parents with her to visit Vietnam where they fled to the United States.

“I could have had this life,” Tran said, holding out one hand, “and now I have this one, and it’s purely because my parents dropped everything and moved to a country where they didn’t know the language [and] didn’t have any opportunities. I very much have felt this whole time that I’ve been living for multiple generations of life.”

That year of travel and soul-searching seemed to help Tran achieve what she had set out to: She remembered why she became an actor.

“My parents didn’t get to have a dream,” she said. “Their dream was to live in a country where their kids would have choice.” And despite any hesitance on her parents’ part regarding her risky career choice, Tran always saw it differently.

“I truly did feel that I owed it to my parents, my grandparents, to do whatever it was that I wanted, because if I wasn’t happy, if I wasn’t being true to myself, then I wasn’t living fully,” she said. “They had given up so much so that I could live at the level that so many people are just automatically born into.”