Karrueche Tran on How Chris Brown Affected Her Career


Karrueche Tran by no means had desires of changing into an actress. Growing up, she needed to be a hairdresser. Then a manicurist. Then a restaurant proprietor. Acting sort of got here out of nowhere when, in 2015, Tran ended a four-year high-profile relationship with R&B singer Chris Brown and was left with hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers and nothing to account for. She may do sponsorship offers for a residing, however how lengthy would that final? She may enterprise into actuality tv—however that didn’t seem to be her path both. “I hit a point in my life where it was weird,” Tran tells StyleCaster. “I had a platform. But there really was no substance and quality.”

It wasn’t till her supervisor requested if she ever thought of appearing that Tran discovered her calling. After a one-line function in a horror film and visitor spots right here and there, Tran labored her means as much as TNT’s “Claws,” a criminal offense drama about 5 Florida manicurists who develop into entangled in one of many state’s greatest and most violent drug rings. But Tran’s story’s not so simple as that. As she’s confirmed together with her eight-year climb to “Claws,” which premiered its 2nd season on June 10, she wasn’t an in a single day success—neither is she going wherever.  

Karrueche Tran on

Photo: TNT

Tran, the eldest of 2, grew up in a multicultural family. Her father is black; her mom is Vietnamese; her stepfather is British; and her godmother, who helped elevate her, is Jamaican. Tran’s racial ambiguity—she’s been mistaken for Hawaiian, Thai, Dominican, Korean, and every part in between—usually led to questions on her background, prompting confusion as to what race she really recognized with. “A lot of people don’t really know what race I am just by looking at me,” Tran says. “Growing up, it was difficult identifying with either or knowing which culture I felt like I belonged to. But I truly feel like I am both. That’s what I am. I’m half and half.”

I’m petite. But I at all times needed to be curvy, thick, and have a giant booty and boobs as a result of that’s what’s lovely to lots of males. 

Raised in Los Angeles, Tran’s life was extraordinary till it wasn’t. In 2010, Tran, a private assistant and a contract stylist on the time, met Brown on a styling job. Shortly after, they started relationship and Tran’s life as she knew it was overturned. She made worldwide headlines as Brown’s first main girlfriend since his dramatic breakup with Rihanna in 2009. For 4 years, Tran withstood an onslaught of bullying from each Brown’s and Rihanna’s followers, the paparazzi stalking her each transfer, and the tabloids digging into her private life. The couple dated on and off till 2015 when Tran ended the connection for good after information broke that Brown fathered a toddler with one other lady.

Still battling Brown within the press (in 2015, Tran accused Brown of breaking into her automotive and smashing her window) and dealing with hate on social media, Tran was at a standstill, uncertain what to do subsequent. “I hate to say the phrase fame, however as a result of I used to be in a sure scenario, in a high-profile relationship, I used to be recognizable,” Tran says. “It was kind of like, ‘I have these followers. But what else do I have?’ I hit a point where I was like, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’”

Photo: TNT

She obtained a number of provides to develop into a actuality tv star, however Tran needed longevity. Then her supervisor urged appearing. Despite having 0 appearing expertise, Tran went for it. She had nothing to lose. “I was like, ‘If it works, that’s awesome. If not, then at least I tried,’” Tran says.

However, the primary few years weren’t straightforward. Though Tran’s racial ambiguity proved helpful when she began appearing (“It’s a cool thing to be able to portray different characters and races”), what she struggled to shake off was her fame as a tabloid sensation and the idea that she was promoting out her hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers for onscreen fame. “It’s an interesting society that we live in with social media, because if you have a platform and if you have the numbers, you can kind of venture into different things: acting, designing, collaborations,” Tran says. “People saw it as, ‘Oh, you know, she’s only able to become an actress because she has numbers, so they want to use her for her numbers.’ When I started acting, a lot of people didn’t believe in me or thought that I didn’t have talent.”

When I began appearing, lots of people didn’t imagine in me.

After finishing a one-line function within the 2014 horror film “The Fright Night Files” and dozens of appearing courses, Tran went on to e-book roles within the Emmy-nominated sequence “The Bay” and the short-lived net drama “Vanity,” reverse Denise Richards. Despite minor success within the independent-movie scene, Tran nonetheless wasn’t snug calling herself an actor. “I felt ashamed and embarrassed, like people weren’t taking me seriously because I didn’t have this substantial résumé.” says Tran. “Like I didn’t qualify to call myself an actor. What I had to realize is everybody has their own story and just because I didn’t grow up in theater or on Broadway or as a child actor doesn’t mean I can’t do this.”

Photo: TNT

Tran’s large break got here in 2017 when she landed the function for Virginia Loc, a millennial half-Vietnamese stripper-turned-manicurist-turned-murderess, in “Claws.” Not solely was Tran drawn to Virginia’s race (“She was written as half-Vietnamese, and as you know, I’m half-Vietnamese too”), however she was additionally drawn to the present’s progressive tackle crime dramas, which have traditionally been led by males. “There are shows like ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘The Sopranos,’ which are all male-driven,” Tran says. “For us, it’s the females who are calling the shots. It shows that women can do it too. It’s not only a man’s world. Women can be badass. They can be emotional and strong.”

Tran credit the present’s success to the military of ladies who write, direct, and produce it, together with actress and author Rashida Jones. “If you’re watching a show about women, but it’s written or created or directed by men, that’s going to be an inaccurate representation of a woman’s reality,” Tran says. “Because when you’re looking through a lens of a male director, it’s through a male’s mind. They don’t really understand a woman’s position.”

It’s not solely a person’s world. Women may be badass, emotional, and robust.

Though Virginia is understood for her comedic aid (in season 1, when a personality asks if every part needs to be about her, Virginia responds, “Uh, yes, girl. I’m a millennial”), Tran doesn’t take her character’s backstory as a intercourse employee frivolously. “Virginia had to fight to survive. Her story is that unfortunately she has had to use her body. She comes from the strip club. She’s very much from that world,” Tran says. “That’s a lot of other women’s stories as well. That’s what makes Virginia and what makes this show so real and relatable. It’s because there are a lot of women, some women who I know, that have had to go through the same thing that Virginia did.”

As a member of Hollywood’s #MeToo motion (in 2017, Tran was granted a five-year restraining order in opposition to Brown after she claimed that he bodily threatened her over textual content), Tran praises “Claws” for taking motion to guard girls on set (the present provides sexual harassment seminars, amongst different issues). “It’s been such a powerful year for women. We’ve shown our strength, and we’ve shown that we can stand together and support one another,” Tran says. “We can only go up from here.”

Karrueche Tran on

Photo: TNT

Though she nonetheless faces hate on social media, Tran considers her platform to be a blessing. As a results of her bodily insecurities, Tran launched the Instagram motion #WithLike to encourage her followers to embrace their our bodies and pure magnificence. “I’m petite. I’m small, and I always wanted be curvy and thick and have a big booty and big boobs. That’s because that’s the perception of what’s beautiful out there to a lot of men,” Tran says. “With social media, we have this perception that we have to be perfect and we have to look a certain way and we want to look like other people. I think it’s pretty fucked up.”

It’s been such a strong 12 months for ladies. We can solely go up from right here.

While Tran hasn’t overcome her insecurities fully (“I’m still in that process”), she admits that she’s now not being attentive to societal requirements of magnificence. “I’ve dealt with self-esteem and self-image issues. I’ve accepted who I am with my body. It took a while for me to do that,” Tran says. “If people learn to accept who they are, that they don’t have to be perfect, that they don’t have to look a certain way, that we’re all individually different, that that is OK, I just think things would be much, much better.”


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