Sandra Oh is reflecting on her experiences in Hollywood after finally getting the lead role in a big TV series.
The Canadian actress is starring in the new assassin thriller series “Killing Eve”, from “Fleabag” writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Oh, who is of Korean descent, sat down for an interview with Vulture to talk about the new show, as well as the racism she has encountered and internalized throughout her years in the film and TV industry.
“Racism exists. Let’s start there. I felt it, and I have felt it deeply,” Oh said. “And I’m extremely fortunate. And I have so much opportunity because I can say no, and I choose to say no. I took a lot of time to find the right project.”
The 46-year-old former “Grey’s Anatomy” star recalled the moment she learned she was offered the lead role of Eve in the new series.
“One thing I will share with you – when I got the script for ‘Killing Eve’, I remember I was walking around in Brooklyn and I was on my phone with my agent, Nancy,” Oh said. “I was quickly scrolling down the script, and I can’t really tell you what I was looking for.”
“So I’m like, ‘So Nancy, I don’t understand, what’s the part?’ And Nancy goes ‘Sweetheart, it’s Eve, it’s Eve.’ In that moment, I did not assume the offer was for Eve,” she continued. “I think about that moment a lot. Of just going, how deep have I internalized this? [So] many years of being seen [a certain way], it deeply, deeply, deeply affects us.”
“It’s like, how does racism define your work? Oh my goodness, I didn’t even assume when being offered something that I would be one of the central storytellers. Why? And this is me talking, right? After being told to see things a certain way for decades, you realize, ‘Oh my God! They brainwashed me!’ I was brainwashed! So that was a revelation to me,” Oh added.
The interviewer, E. Alex Jung, who is also of Korean descent, tweeted that he began crying as Oh told her story to him over the phone.
Oh also gave Jung some amazing words of encouragement during the interview.
“I’m very interested in you being an Asian-American writer, and the things you are talking about, and I want to encourage you in any way,” she told him. “Keep writing about it. Keep writing about what you don’t know. I think we need more of that introspection, questioning, for ourselves as our own community before anyone else is interested in our community.”
Asked how he reacted to those comments, Jung tweeted that he just continued crying.