Kelly Marie Tran

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Kelly Marie Tran
Kelly Marie Tran on MTV International.jpg
Tran in 2017
Kelly Marie Tran

(1989-01-17) January 17, 1989 (age 31)
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles (B.A.)
Years active2011–present

Kelly Marie Tran (born January 17, 1989) is an American actress.[1][2][3] She has come to wider attention for her role as Rose Tico in the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Tran was born on January 17, 1989 in San Diego, California.[5][6] Her parents are refugees from Vietnam who fled the country following the Vietnam War.[7][8] As a child, her father was homeless and grew up on the streets of Vietnam.[9] After moving to the United States, he worked at Burger King to support the family, and Tran's mother worked at a funeral home.[10]

Tran attended Westview High School in San Diego and worked at a yogurt shop to earn money for head shots.[6][9] Tran then graduated from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a B.A. in communications.[10][11]


2011–2014: Early works[edit]

Her early credits consisted of primarily CollegeHumor videos and small TV roles.[9][12] She landed a commercial agent in 2011, who got Tran to take improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade. At The Second City, Tran is part of the all-female, Asian-American improv group, Number One Son.[9][13]

In 2013, she starred in the web-series Ladies Like Us.[11] In 2015, Tran was working as an assistant at an creative recruiting firm in Century City.[9]

2015–present: Star Wars breakthrough[edit]

In 2015, Tran was cast as Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Rose Tico is a rebel mechanic who joins up with main character Finn after the sacrifice of her oldest sister, Paige Tico (Veronica Ngo), a gunner trained by Resistance commander Poe Dameron.[14] She was unable to tell her family that she had won the role. When she went to film her scenes at Pinewood Studios in early 2016, she said she was filming a small movie in Canada.[15] With her role in The Last Jedi, Tran became the first Asian-American woman to play a main role in a Star Wars film.[12] In 2017, she also became the first Asian woman to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair when she appeared on the cover of the summer 2017 issue with actor John Boyega (who played Finn), and Oscar Isaac (who played X-Wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron).[16]

Tran plays the lead role of Kaitlin Le in Radiotopia's mystery thriller podcast, Passenger List.[17] She was a series regular on the Facebook Watch series Sorry for Your Loss.[18]

She will be a voice actor in the Disney+ series Monsters at Work and the film The Croods 2.[19][20]

Personal life[edit]

Harassment and attacks[edit]

Despite the critical and commercial success of The Last Jedi, Tran received online attacks, many racist, from people who disliked the character of Rose Tico.[21][22] In response to that criticism, employment discrimination attorney Anthony Nguyen praised Tran for being "the first woman of color to be cast in a leading role in the Star Wars franchise". Condemning the racist attacks, Nguyen remarked that "people of color, especially Asian-Americans, are grossly underrepresented in TV and film."[23] In addition, freelance writer and journalist Nicole Karlis opined that attacks on Tran's race and appearance reflected a fear of women who broke sexist stereotypes.[24] In June 2018, Tran deleted all of her posts on Instagram after months of harassment.[25] Rian Johnson, who directed The Last Jedi, criticized her attackers.[26] Other Star Wars fans expressed support for the actress,[27][28][29] which Johnson indicated appreciation for.[26] Johnson's sentiments were also expressed by John Boyega[30] and Mark Hamill.[31][32]

In August 2018, after a prolonged stretch of silence about her harassment, Tran published a first person account in the New York Times addressing the issue.[1] Tran stated that she had become self-conscious and for a time believed what her harassers were saying.[33]



Year Title Role Notes
2011 Untouchable Jamie Short film
2011 The Rising Cost of Cosmetics Chun Hei Park Short film
2011 Impressions Alice Short film
2011 Hot Girls on the Beach Boba Chick / Student Segment: "Great White Shark Movie"
2012 The Cohasset Snuff Film Christine Chan Uncredited
2013 Andy's CDs Kelly Short film
2016 XOXO Butterfly Rave Girl
2017 Star Wars: The Last Jedi Rose Tico
2019 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Rose Tico
2020 The Croods 2 Dawn Betterman (voice) In production


Year Title Role Notes
2011 This Indie Girl Hero Girl Episode: "Just the Way It Is"
2012 Fabulous High Sierra Mar Student #4 Television film
2013–2015 Ladies Like Us Kelly/Larry Television series
2014–2016 CollegeHumor Full Asian / Kate / Kelly / Startup "Foodler" Girl / Melissa / Amber Web Series
2014–2016 Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street Sara 3 episodes
2014 To the Bridge Lydia Pilot episode
2014 About a Boy Marguerite 2 episodes
2014 Hope & Randy Tina Mini-series
2014 Currently Cool Jenny Episode: "Baby Daddy Daddy Daddy"
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Teen Friend Episode: "Thomas Middleditch Wears an Enigmatic Sweatshirt and Sweatpants with Pockets"
2015 Ladies Like Us: The Rise of Neighborhood Watch Larry 2 episodes
2015 Adam Ruins Everything Sharon / Phone Woman 2 episodes
2015 Discount Fitness Betsy Episode: "Goal Met"
2016 Pub Quiz Asia Television film
2016 History of the World...For Now Daughter Episode #1.4
2016 Fall Into Me Eva Episode: "British Billionaire"
2016 Sing It! Twinkle Twinkle Auditioner Episode: "THE SHOW BEGINS!"
2018 Star Wars Forces of Destiny Rose Tico (voice) Episode: "Shuttle Shock"
2018–2019 Sorry for Your Loss Jules Shaw 18 episodes
2020 Monsters at Work Val Little (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
2019–present Passenger List Kaitlin Le Lead role

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2018 23rd Empire Awards Best Female Newcomer
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
44th Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
20th Teen Choice Awards Choice Breakout Movie Star Nominated


  1. ^ a b Tran, Kelly Marie (August 21, 2018). "Kelly Marie Tran: I Won't Be Marginalized by Online Harassment". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Nữ diễn viên Kelly Marie Trần đến Việt Nam ra mắt bom tấn Star Wars". November 13, 2017.
  3. ^ Yam, Kimberly (November 12, 2017). "Kelly Marie Tran Wore Gown From Vietnamese Designer To 'The Last Jedi' Premiere". HuffPost.
  4. ^ Yee, Lawrence (April 14, 2017). "Meet Rose, the 'Biggest New Part' in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'". Variety.
  5. ^ "Happy birthday". Journal Gazette. Associated Press. January 17, 2019. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Rocha, Michael James (February 15, 2016). "San Diego native joins 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' cast". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  7. ^ Yam, Kimberly (November 30, 2017). "Kelly Marie Tran Promotes 'The Last Jedi' In Traditional Vietnamese Garb". HuffPost.
  8. ^ Jasper, Marykate (December 10, 2017). "Kelly Marie Tran, the Daughter of Refugees, Couldn't Help Crying with Joy at the Last Jedi Premiere". The Mary Sue.
  9. ^ a b c d e Flaherty, Keely (November 14, 2017). "Kelly Marie Tran: The Rise of Rose". Buzzfeed News.
  10. ^ a b Plattner, Seth (December 10, 2017). "Kelly Marie Tran Is Bringing a New Brand of Hero to Star Wars". Elle.
  11. ^ a b Dornbush, Jonathon (February 15, 2016). "Who is Star Wars: Episode VIII actress Kelly Marie Tran?". Entertainment Weekly.
  12. ^ a b Hiatt, Brian (December 12, 2017). "'The Last Jedi's New Hope: Meet 'Star Wars' Breakout Kelly Marie Tran". Rolling Stone.
  13. ^ "Power of Color". The Second City. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  14. ^ Kamp, David (March 24, 2017). "Cover Story: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Definitive Preview". Vanity Fair.
  15. ^ Yee, Lawrence (April 14, 2017). "Meet Rose, the 'Biggest New Part' in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'". Variety.
  16. ^ Truffaut-Wong, Olivia (May 24, 2017). "'The Last Jedi' Star Kelly Marie Tran Is The First Asian Woman To Cover 'Vanity Fair' & Her Appearance Couldn't Matter More". Bustle.
  17. ^ Quah, Nicholas (September 10, 2019). "Plane-Crash Podcast Passenger List Podcast Is Ready for Takeoff". Vulture.
  18. ^ "Exclusive: Elizabeth Olsen, Kelly Marie Tran grapple with love and death in 'Sorry for Your Loss' photos". Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  19. ^ "Kelly Marie Tran Joins Voice Cast of 'Croods' Sequel (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  20. ^ "'Monsters, Inc.' Voice Cast to Return for Disney+ Series (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  21. ^ Menta, Anna (December 19, 2017). "Racist Attacks Against Kelly Marie Tran posted to Rose Tico's Wookieepedia page". Newsweek. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  22. ^ Moye, David (December 27, 2017). "Kelly Marie Tran Of 'Last Jedi' Facing Racist, Sexist Comments Online". HuffPost. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  23. ^ "Attorney Anthony Nguyen Comments on the Racist Backlash Against Vietnamese-American Actress Kelly Marie Tran". Cision. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  24. ^ Karlis, Nicole (December 29, 2017). "Threats against Kelly Marie Tran highlight a fear of women who break sexist stereotypes". Salon. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  25. ^ Chuba, Kirsten (June 5, 2018). "'Star Wars' Actress Kelly Marie Tran Leaves Social Media After Months of Harassment". Variety. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Arnold, Ben (June 6, 2018). "Rian Johnson slams Star Wars trolls after Kelly Marie Tran quits social media". Yahoo! News. Verizon Media. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  27. ^ Kitchener, Shaun (June 5, 2018). "Star Wars fans support Kelly Marie Tran as she quits Instagram after horrific abuse". The Express. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  28. ^ Welsh, Daniel (June 6, 2018). "'Star Wars' Fans Support Actress Kelly Marie Tran Wipes Her Instagram After Months Of Abuse". HuffPost. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  29. ^ Cavanaugh, Patrick (June 7, 2018). "Star Wars Fans Show Support For 'The Last Jedi' Star Kelly Marie Tran Following Social Media Departure". Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  30. ^ Lam, Katherine (June 13, 2018). "John Boyega slams 'Star Wars' fans for harassing costars". Fox News. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  31. ^ Clark, Travis (June 7, 2018). "Mark Hamill defends Kelly Marie Tran after online harassment and calls out 'Star Wars' fans". Business Insider. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  32. ^ Cavanaugh, Patrick (July 11, 2018). "Star Wars: Mark Hamill Shares Support for 'The Last Jedi' Co-Star Kelly Marie Tran After Social Media Deletion". Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  33. ^ Geier, Thom (August 21, 2018). "'Star Wars' Actress Kelly Marie Tran on How Racist Trolls Retriggered 'Spiral of Self-Hatred'". MSN. Retrieved April 19, 2019.

External links[edit]