When Kelly Marie Tran finally landed her very first part in a film after eight years as a struggling actor, it was the role of a lifetime: fan favorite Rose Tico in "Stars Wars: The Last Jedi." All at once, after almost a decade, she had made it — and making it meant, among other things, paying off her student loans.
Before the offer came to make her cinema debut with director Rian Johnson, the 28-year-old UCLA grad had gotten used to grinding, supporting herself by working odd jobs and at a temp agency while also trying her best to put herself out there to get cast in projects. "She'd wake up at 5 a.m., answer phones and grab coffee, leave for two or three auditions in the afternoon, then come back to the office and stay until 8 or 9 at night," reports Buzzfeed.
Gigs were scant and she was weary. Her acting experience consisted of a few appearances in CollegeHumor skits, a web seriesshe shot with her friends and some improv shows.