Sandra Oh doesn’t take for granted that she’s on the cover of People as one of the publication’s People of the Year 2021.
“It means so much to me to be on this cover,” said the 12-time Primetime Emmy nominee for the accompanying cover story. “When I was growing up I never saw my face on the blanket. Being invited to do the blanket is a great privilege because it normalizes things for my nephews and nieces. I hope they weren’t missing something. that I feel like I’m always away. “
Oh also reflected on attending a Stop Asian Hate rally in Pittsburgh last March, where she gave an inspiring speech. The protest came days after eight victims, including six women of Asian descent, were shot dead at three Atlanta-area spas.
“It was really just ‘I wanna be with people’ and I’m not just talking about Asians,” said Oh, 50. People, referring to how she was feeling then. “There’s been a lot of pain and outrage, and when that happens you have to come together. It’s the only way through, it’s together. If you’re standing side by side with someone who is isn’t your gender or not your race, you can just say, “Okay, we’re standing next to each other for this. We have things in common here. “For me it was mostly, I’ll really say it was about trying to go through fear as well.”
Oh broke the barriers for Asian portrayal on screen. In 2018, she became the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy in the Leading Actress category for her work in Kill Eve. (She just finished filming the fourth and final season.) Most recently, she played Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim on Netflix’s The chair– placing a Korean-American woman in a position of power usually held by white men at a prestigious university.
Watch Oh discuss everything below.