Sandra Oh has been named one of People magazine’s People of the Year and she said the honor is particularly significant for her.
“It means so much to me to be on this cover,” she told the publication in an interview released Wednesday. “When I was growing up, I never saw my face on the cover.”
As part of the feature, the “Killing Eve” star will appear on the cover of the Dec. 13 double issue.
She explained, “To be asked to be on the cover is a great privilege, because it normalizes things for my nephews and nieces. Hopefully, they’re not missing something that I feel like I was always missing.”
The actor spoke to People just two days after she finished shooting the fourth and final season of “Killing Eve.” Her work on the hit drama earned her a Golden Globe win in 2019 and multiple Emmy nominations.
Aside from "Killing Eve," Oh has been booked and busy this year, starring in and serving as an executive producer on the Netflix comedy “The Chair.”
In the show, Oh portrays Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim, the first woman of color to head an English department at an esteemed university.
Speaking about the importance of her character, Oh told People that she is “proud” of “The Chair” because of “how it's translated to people of color who are living and working in mostly white spaces.”
She added, “What I hope is that anyone who’s watching it can say, ‘That could easily be me.’”
In August, Oh appeared on Sunday TODAY and expanded on why Kim is a trailblazing character, saying the characters shows how Hollywood has “progressed.”
When she saw that her character was named Ji-Yoon Kim, she told Willie Geist that she realized she could “play a character who specifically has a Korean name. And all the characters are going to call her that name correctly.”
She pointed out that while starring in her breakout role on “Grey’s Anatomy” the show did not address ethnicity.
“Killing Eve,” another series where Oh doubles as executive producer, incorporates some aspects of her cultural heritage as well. For example, Oh's character, Eve Polastri, gets to speak in Korean in the show.
During her interview with People, Oh also addressed her impassioned speech at a “Stop Asian Hate” protest earlier this year in Pittsburgh where she voiced her support for Asian American communities after the spa shootings in Atlanta resulted in eight deaths, including those of six Asian women.
“It was really just, ‘I want to be with people,’ and I’m not just talking Asian people,” Oh said. “There was a lot of pain and outrage, and when that happens, you need to gather together.”
At the protest, Oh told the crowd, “I know many of us in our community are very scared and I understand that. One way to get through our fear is to reach out to our communities.”
“I will challenge everyone here, if you see something, will you help me?” she asked over a megaphone. “We must understand as Asian Americans we just need to reach out our hands to our sisters and brothers and say, ‘Help me,’ and, ‘I am here.’”
Before concluding her speech, she said, “And just for one thing, I am proud to be Asian!”