Tran, 32, is best known globally for playing mechanic Rose Tico in the most recent “Star Wars” trilogy.
Several years ago, internet harassment surrounding “Star Wars” left her recalling the social messages she had internalized for years: that she “existed only in the background” of other’s stories.
Now, “Raya” marks Tran’s first major feature film as the lead – in which she is proud to be “honoring this part of the world” by playing the first Disney princess of Southeast Asian descent.
In “Raya,” Tran’s character – more Disney warrior than throwback Disney princess, the filmmakers emphasize – is entrusted by her father to become guardian of a supernatural gem.
“It feels like an absolute miracle to get to do what I’m doing,” Tran says of her career.