Movie stars often spend their hefty paychecks on lavish homes, automobiles or fashion, fully embracing the luxurious lifestyle. The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran earned her breakout role as Rose Tico in the film, with the actress going on to pay off her student loans with the paycheck she received.
It’s unclear how much the actress owed in student loans, but, according to Variety, a newcomer to the Star Wars saga can earn anywhere between $100,000 and $300,000, which BuzzFeed claimed allowed her to pay back the loans she accrued from attending UCLA.
The latest chapter in the Star Wars saga featured many familiar faces and very few newcomers. Laura Dern debuted in the franchise, yet previously had an illustrious career. Tran, on the other hand, was on the verge of giving up her dream, earning the role during her lunch break from an office job.
“I remember thinking, ‘This could be my life forever,'” she told Entertainment Weekly. “Like, I could just never make it. I could work this hard for the next 20 years of my life and still be struggling.”
Prior to landing the gig in the series, Tran had settled for a much more modest role in movies and TV.
“I had resigned myself to thinking that one day I would be just the weird side character who always talks about being Asian and brings kimchi to the party,” Tran told the Detroit Free Press.
The chance to be featured in a Star Wars film is an opportunity many would kill for, yet Tran hadn’t even seen the films prior to taking on the role.
“In 10th grade, my teacher was obsessed with [Star Wars] and played it in the background, but I was reading Harry Potter so I wasn’t listening to it,” Tran told BuzzFeed.
Even with the chance to audition for The Last Jedi, she still didn’t check out the previous films.
“I didn’t have this expectation of what I thought this person should be like; I wasn’t trying to model her after someone I’d seen in a movie,” Tran pointed out.
In fact, the actress claims the reason she scored the role was due to her lack of familiarity with the franchise.
“And this is why, I’m telling you, the fact that I hadn’t grown up with Star Wars really helped me,” Tran confessed. “I think I would have fallen over.”
You can see Tran in The Last Jedi, in theaters now.