Congrats! Sandra Oh just became the first Asian-American ever nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series at the Emmys for her razor-sharp turn as a flawed MI5 spy in BBC America’s Killing Eve, but she’s not keeping her joy undercover. “Let’s just [expletive] celebrate it, man,” she says. “We’ve got to start somewhere. I’m happy to get the ball rolling.”
The 47-year-old actress was on a roll, professionally speaking, after landing her breakout gig in 2005 as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy, which earned her five Emmy nominations but no wins in the Best Supporting Actress category. Since she left the ABC medical show in 2014, good parts have been few and far between for Sandra. Then along came Eve, which in its complexity surpasses anything Sandra has done, including Grey’s. “It took 30 years to get this call,” she says.
Born in Ottawa, Canada, to Korean-immigrant parents, Sandra spent decades banging on doors — and banging her head against walls — trying to get considered for roles that weren’t necessarily written for Asian-Americans (Her character in Eve was Caucasian in the books that inspired the series.) Not that she’s bitter. “It’s just like, a f—in’ waste of time,” she says, with typical pith.
Her personal life hasn’t always gone so smoothly, either. In 2005, she split from director Alexander Payne (who’d cast her in his Oscar-winning 2004 comedy Sideways). But she’s been dating musician Andrew Featherstone, from the band The Hereafter, since 2007.
Perhaps most importantly, Sandra has made her family proud. Her dad is a businessman, and her mom is a biochemist, and they didn’t initially approve of her decision to pursue acting. “Koreans are ambitious, man,” Sandra says, nothing they recently saw their daughter’s face plastered on the Killing Eve billboard. “It means a lot to my parents that I do the work I do, and it has the visibility.”
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