“Star Wars” star Kelly Marie Tran is feeling some “unfair pressure” when it comes to her voice role in Disney’s new animated movie “Raya And The Last Dragon”.
Tran, who played Rose Tico in “Star Wars”, is set to become Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess, Raya. The actress is well aware she will have a lot of eyes on her as she takes on a character from a historically underrepresented community.
“It should not feel so precious that there is something like this that exists in the world. There should just be so many,” she says during The Wrap‘s “The Future Is Now: Next Gen Hollywood Roundtable” with fellow actors Alisha Boe, Beanie Feldstein, Storm Reid, Alexxis Lemire, Genneya Walton, and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan.
“I feel like sometimes when you are in an underrepresented group of people and you get this opportunity, you sort of have to do all of these mental Olympics of being like, ‘Oh, I have to be extra grateful because it will never happen again,’” she explains. “And that’s such an unfair pressure to put on yourself.”
Unfortunately, Tran is no stranger when it comes to pressure after having faced backlash and bullying over her role in “Star Wars”.
“I think it’s something that I experienced with ‘Star Wars’ but also something that I’m experiencing again, which is the idea that our stories are valid and we deserve to tell them in any way that we want to and we deserve to tell them repeatedly from different angles,” she says. “And it shouldn’t be just this one thing that we’re so desperate to grasp on to.”
Tran says she has “tried to let go of this idea that I have to represent or I have to be so grateful” for roles that are really big opportunities in terms of representation, but add that it’s a double-edged sword: “I think that does us a disservice.”
For Tran, it’s the reminder to tell herself and fellow roundtable panelists, “You are really good and you deserve to be here.
“I’m telling you right now, snaps for all of you for just existing in this world that just takes more energy to exist in when you feel like you have been other-ed,” she adds.
“Raya And The Last Dragon” is currently scheduled to be released in theatres on March 12, 2021.