As a child growing up in Brisbane, Maria Tran was fascinated by 80s martial arts films.
She would envision herself in one; her alter ego was the underdog that became the one everyone cheered for.
The films were outlandish and yet somehow, relatable.
Maria Tran on Where Are You Really From? Post continues below.
"My alter ego wanted to be an action star because growing up watching a lot of the 80s Asian martial arts films, I thought they represented what I wanted to be," Tran told Mamamia.
"We're the underdogs in Australia, but when I get to watch these films, we get to be the heroes."
Tran is a second generation Vietnamese-Australian. Her parents, who both came to Australia by boat after the Vietnam War, ran a fish and chip shop, which was located 12 minutes from their closest competition, Pauline Hanson. The takeaway shop became a symbol of the family's goal to "make a difference and contribute" to their adopted homeland.
Tran will appear on the first episode of season three of Where Are You Really From?, which is premiering on SBS on Tuesday.
The episode focuses on Brisbane's Vietnamese community.
Speaking to Mamamia, Tran shared that while the most vivid memories of her childhood revolve around the closeness and vibrancy of the community she grew up in, she also felt conflict between her Vietnamese and Australian identities when she was younger.
"Growing up I was in between cultures. My parents were quite traditional Vietnamese, they wanted to maintain the language, every single weekend we'd have huge get togethers and community parties where aunts and uncles would share their recipes — things like that," she said.
"But at the same time, they wanted me to do well in school, to still be a part of Australian culture, to be good at English, etc, so I was kind of torn between [the two cultures].
"Sometimes I felt like I wanted to be more Aussie, and only later on as an adult did I realise I wanted to know more about myself, my community, and my identity."