Tran penned an essay about the online abuse in August 2018, in which she said the experience led down a “spiral of self-hate.”
“It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them. 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, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories,” the star wrote in an op-ed for the
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“For months, I went down a spiral of self-hate, into the darkest recesses of my mind, places where I tore myself apart, where I put their words above my own self-worth,” she wrote.
The San Diego native, who was born Loan Tran, recalled past experiences of forcing herself to assimilate, including a time when she was mistaken for an exchange student and even abandoning the Vietnamese language to stop school children from “mock[ing] me.”
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“Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was ‘other,’ that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them,” she wrote. “And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me, the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all.”
Though she has yet to return to Instagram, Tran said she is focused on leading by example; most importantly being a voice for minorities, including women and people of color.
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“I am not the first person to have grown up this way. This is what it is to grow up as a person of color in a white-dominated world. This is what it is to be a woman in a society that has taught its daughters that we are worthy of love only if we are deemed attractive by its sons,” she wrote.
“This is the world I grew up in, but not the world I want to leave behind,” Tran poignantly said, adding, “I want to live in a world where people of all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are seen as what they have always been: human beings. This is the world I want to live in. And this is the world that I will continue to work toward.”