Sandra Oh recalls being told she wouldn’t make it as an actress

Killing Eve’s Sandra Oh recalls being told she wouldn’t make it in Hollywood because of her Asian heritage and admits she still struggles with self-doubt

She found global fame in Killing Eve and scooped a Golden Globe for the role.

Yet Sandra Oh has revealed that she still struggles with self doubt, and was told by her agent that her chances of ‘making it’ in Hollywood were slim due to her Asian heritage. 

In a candid interview with Marie Claire, the 47-year-old actress looked back at her career and revealed why she’s grateful that success came in her later years. 

Shocking: Sandra Oh has revealed that she still struggles with self doubt, and was told by her agent that her chances of ‘making it’ in Hollywood were slim due to her Asian heritage

She explained: ‘I’m grateful that it’s happened at 47, because I’ve done enough work on myself to really experience it. And then, too, it just has deeper meaning for me.’

Discussing when she started out in the business, Sandra – who was born to Korean immigrant parents – confessed that she was warned about a lack of roles available for Asian women.  

Recalling the conversation she had with her agent, Sandra revealed: ‘She said, “Listen, I’m not going to lie?” – and that was, I think, what was so painful – “I’m going to tell you the truth,”. 

‘It was basically, “Go back home and get famous, and then try and make a transition because I already have an Asian actress on my roster, and she hasn’t auditioned in three months. I don’t know what I could do for you.”‘ 

Success: In a candid interview with Marie Claire , the 47-year-old actress looked back at her career and revealed why she’s grateful that success came in her later years

Yet Sandra refused to stop chasing her dream, and scored her breakthrough role as Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy. 

After joining in the first season of the hit show, she scooped both a 2005 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series and a 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series. 

In 2009, she received her fifth consecutive Emmy nomination for her work on the series. 

Oppressed: Discussing when she started out in the business, Sandra – who was born to Korean immigrant parents – confessed that she was warned about a lack of roles for Asian women

One to watch: Yet Sandra refused to stop chasing her dream, and scored her breakthrough role as Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy

Yet it was her role in the 2018 BBC America series Killing Eve that landed her global fame.   

Killing Eve explores the obsessive relationship between MI5 agent Eve (Sandra) and a psychotic and supremely stylish Paris-based assassin named Villanelle (Jodie Comer). 

Out now: To read the feature in full, see the July issue of Marie Claire, out now

Eve knows she must catch the chameleon-like killer before there’s another murder but finds herself becoming more fascinated by the beautiful Villanelle – all the time knowing she could be her next victim. 

Looking back at the moment she found out about the part, Sandra confessed that she struggled to believe it was real, and she didn’t think of herself as being a lead character. 

She recalled: ‘I was like, “What’s my part?” When my agent said, “You’re f***ing Eve,” I just couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see myself in a leading role… 

‘It’s like a f***ing shard in my heart [that I felt that way] because we work really hard, love what we do and understand how important it is to be visible and to see ourselves, right? 

‘But to catch myself in a moment where I’m not [doubting myself] is still really difficult.’ 

Sandra won the Best Actress in a TV Drama award at the Golden Globes for the role, becoming the first Asian woman to win in that category in almost 40 years. 

To read the feature in full, see the July issue of Marie Claire, out now. Also available as a digital edition through Apple Newsstand.

Addictive: It was her role in Killing Eve that landed her global fame. It explores the obsessive relationship between MI5 agent Eve (Sandra) and assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer)

 

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