Sandra Oh on the importance of 'being true to yourself' in Hollywood

Sandra Oh talks about her role in Killing Eve, which is entering its second season.
Sandra Oh plays Eve Polastri, an M15 agent, on the BBC America series Killing Eve. (Bell Media )
Listen18:25

Canadian actor Sandra Oh takes on roles that tend to be complex, strong and groundbreaking characters. Typically, they challenge norms and push creative boundaries, such as Jade in Oh's first film, Double Happiness, or Dr. Cristina Yang, who she played for a decade on Grey's Anatomy.

In Oh's big comeback to television, she plays Eve Polastri, an M15 agent, on the BBC America series Killing Eve. She tells Tom Power why it was a role that was worth the wait for her, especially as someone who's had to carve out a place for herself in Hollywood.

"There's a quirky fascination with the dark side of things, and Eve is definitely holding that," Oh says, adding that what fascinates her about this particular character is that she is embroiled in a conflict with another female character on the show, allowing her to take a deep dive into exploring female psychology."

Over the past ... 30 years, I realize that change is very slow- Sandra Oh

On what diversity on screen means for her personally 

"I think when you come from an immigrant background, there is a lot of weight and responsibility and guilt to fulfill your parents' desires because they have sacrificed so much for you," she says. 

Oh says of her own experience that her parents had very normal concerns and fears about her aspirations to become an actor, but she "wore those concerns down."

She says that she feels good others can look up to her as a successful Asian-Canadian actor. "What did I have to look at?" she remembers thinking in the earlier days of her career.

"If you can be who you are, and be doing what you love, just being true to yourself — hopefully people can see themselves in you," she says. "They can see themselves reflected, and see the possibility that is hopefully there for them."

On whether Hollywood has changed regarding issues of diversity and inclusion

"I'm glad that we're talking about it, but over the past ... 30 years, I realize that change is very slow."

You can catch Killing Eve when the series premieres in Canada on Sunday, July 22 on Bravo.


Listen to the full conversation at the top of this post. 

Interview with Sandra Oh produced by Elaine Chau.

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