Kelly Marie Tran, star of Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon,” wants to take off the “unfair pressure” of being “extra grateful” about representing minorities.
In a recent interview, the Vietnamese American actor explained feeling this way implies that such opportunities may never happen again — and that should not be the case.
“It should not feel so precious that there is something like this that exists in the world,”
of her Disney princess role at The Wrap’s Power Women Summit last Tuesday.
“There should just be so many. Do you know what I mean? 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.’ And that’s such an unfair pressure to put on yourself.”
Tran has paid better attention to her mental health after facing backlash for her casting as Rose Tico in “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.” This made her the first woman of color to play a significant role in the franchise.
Raya is a Southeast Asian princess. Tran acknowledges that playing the role is a huge opportunity, but thinking that such chances only happen once ultimately does a “disservice.”
“I’ve sort of tried to let go of this idea that I have to represent or I have to be so grateful for something that obviously is a really, really big opportunity — but at the same time, I think that does us a disservice,” she told The Wrap. “Like, it’s not fair to think that this is going to be the only time that this happens.”
Tran continued, “So I guess if there’s anything in my power that I can do to sort of take that pressure off anyone sitting here of being like, ‘I have to be so extra grateful and this is an extra honor.’ Like no, you also are really good and you deserve to be here. And I have to tell myself that every day.
“So 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.”
“Raya and the Last Dragon” will be available in theaters and on Disney Plus on March 5, 2021.