‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ actress Kelly Marie Tran has opened up for the first time about the harassment she received online which led her to delete all her Instagram posts at the start of the summer.

As Rose Tico, Tran was the first woman of colour to play a leading role in the ‘Star Wars’ universe, and was subject to racist, sexist attacks from fans of the franchise since the release of ‘The Last Jedi.’

Now Tran has written an essay for the New York Times about the ordeal, describing herself as going “down a spiral of self-hate” due to all the harassment she endured.

“It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them,” she begins. “Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, only valid as a minor character in their lives and stories.”

Tran explained that she has been marginalised due to her Vietnamese heritage all her life. When she was 9, she stopped speaking Vietnamese so other kids wouldn’t mock her. At the age of 17, when out at dinner with her boyfriend’s family, a waitress remarked to them that it was “so cute that you have an exchange student!” She even changed her name from Loan to sound more American.

The actress writes, “[society] taught me I only existed in the background of their stories, doing their nails, diagnosing their illnesses, supporting their love interests — and perhaps the most damaging — waiting for them to rescue me. And for a long time, I believed them.”

The actress ended her essay on an empowering note, writing, “You might know me as Kelly. I am the first woman of color to have a leading role in a Star Wars movie. I am the first Asian woman to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair. My real name is Loan. And I am just getting started.”