Star Wars: Kelly Marie Tran Explains How Rose Tico Was "Influenced by Culture" in Honor of AANHPI Heritage Month

May marks AANHPI (Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) Heritage Month. In honor of this cultural celebration, recently profiled Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Tran's parents are both Vietnamese refugees and the actor says she "grew up in a household that felt very Vietnamese despite living in America." During the conversation with's Jenn Fujikawa, Tran was asked, "Does cultural experience intentionally come through in the roles you play, specifically the part of Rose?" 

"I think my job as an actor is to always personalize the characters I'm playing, even if I'm not purposefully being like, 'Oh, let me imbue my culture,'" Tran explained. "Someone told me, 'Culture is like being a fish in water; you don't even realize you're in water.' It's so a part of who you are, that I think the roles that I've played have unintentionally been affected by the culture that I grew up in."

Tran added, "Rose felt very close to me only because her family was from a war-torn planet where her parents were ripped from the place they lived, and that is what my parents went through. So yes, culturally, it felt very much on the nose, almost. And the scene that her sister has before you even meet Rose – the idea that people are sacrificing themselves for a greater cause – I think is also a very cultural idea in my household, at least. I saw my parents sacrificing their own well-being and own individual desires in order to provide for the family. So yeah, it was absolutely influenced by culture."

Last month, it was announced that Tran would be appearing at the upcoming Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, which kicks off on May 26th. Currently, Tran is confirmed to be appearing for photo-ops and autographs, but it's unclear if she will be involved in any panels being held during the festivities.

"I miss Rose. I maybe miss who I was when I played her," Tran previously shared during a conversation for IGN. "I feel like, sometimes, I don't know that I could play her now. I feel like I'm different. I think so many times in our lifetimes, we are constantly growing and learning and, again, the realm of human experience is so limitless, you can be so many different people at one time but, when I think about Rose specifically and who I was then and how I was able to tap into certain parts of myself, I don't know if I could play her again. I miss parts of her." 

You can read more from Tran's AANHPI Heritage Month profile here