10 Secrets to Sandra Oh's Success

Actress Sandra Oh is at the top of her game. She stars in BBC America's critically-acclaimed Killing Eve (2017-present) and just took home the 2019 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress for her portrayal of MI6 agent, Eve Polastri, opposite the stellar Jodie Comer, who plays Villanelle. And, we shall be seeing more of Sandra in the titular role this coming April 7, when season two of KE returns to BBCA.

And, how did Sandra get here? We've gone back through interviews, her decision-making when it comes to roles, and found she is not one to be easily fazed. This list consists of 10 examples of why we stick to our claim: it's clear Sandra Oh knows what she's doing:

1. She's been modest from the start. 


Early in her career, Sandra swung by the Canadian TV show "Eye on Toronto" to chat about her forthcoming role on Arli$$. She was introduced by the host, saying, "We have, well, who I think is, the most brilliant actresses in Canada." Sandra was off in the wings and burst out in laughter when hearing the praise. The hosts asked why she was so giggly and presumed she must be being "modest." You can check it out for yourself in the above clip.

2. She followed her heart. 


Sandra sat down with Ellen DeGeneres for a chat, which turned out to be their first meeting. After exchanging some pleasantries, Sandra revealed that her parents, in the early stages, didn't consider acting a valid career. While it may have taken some convincing, which she talks about in the above clip, Sandra worked to earn her parents' blessing (and we know how that worked out in the end).

3. She stuck with it.


Sandra's first on-screen role was in the 1989 short, The Journey Home. In the early '90s we saw Sandra taking on smaller roles, building up her resume, ultimately landing a regular role as a strong supportive character in the sports comedy Arli$$ as Rita Wu in 1996. It was in 2005 when she secured her breakthrough role as the no-holds-barred Dr. Christina Yang in the long-running medical drama Grey's Anatomy. Sandra portrayed the fan favorite character through 2014.

4. And, she had fun with it.


It's not all work. We see Sandra's playful side in the above clip with Grey's co-star Kevin McKidd, who played Dr. Owen Hunter and her on-screen love interest. Sandra describes an intense scene the two were working on. She was very much in character, but when glancing over at McKidd... he missed his cue. It sounds like his mind was elsewhere. Even so, we thoroughly enjoyed her razzing. She's not just a good sport but a good storyteller.

5. She didn't rest on her laurels.


She didn't just land a steady gig, in 2006 Sandra won her first Golden Globe for her performance on Grey's Anatomy for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or Motion Picture Made for Television. While she has no plans to return to Grey's, which is still on-air, she does give credit to the show, saying in an interview from earlier this year with Variety, "Even though I could just talk on and on and on about that show and what I feel like I learned from it and continue learning from it. It was so special, lightning in a bottle that’s lasted for over a decade."

6. She honed her craft. 


Sandra talks candidly in a 2018 Vanity Fair interview about the lack of roles coming her way post-Grey's. But, she didn't let it deter her, saying, she was "actively waiting by doing the things that I love . . . it was my choice to do three plays. It was my choice to do American Crime, you know?” She reflects on how being patient opened things up for her, saying, "Actually being able to exercise your own choice can bring about greater opportunity. I think it’s just as important what you say no to as what you say yes to.”

7. She waited it out.

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And, then came... Killing Eve. While Sandra is thoughtful and thinks through her decisions, Killing Eve's protagonist, MI6 agent Eve Polaris, goes more from the gut. And, thank goodness, because Eve's instincts are shockingly correct in tracking the female serial killer, Villanelle (Jodie Comer). While the two women differ, Sandra definitely has an affinity for the flawed character she plays, saying to Deadline, "…because this character is not slick. I felt immediately like I could understand Eve." And, we are beyond happy it worked out the way it did, with Sandra taking on this essential role. Season one had us on the edge of our seats. We should mention, the first look of season two looks just as thrilling...

8. She didn't hold back. 


It's no wonder Sandra's fans love her so much, she's not afraid to share her real emotions. In the above interview with Access, from just last week, Sandra watched backstage footage from her 2006 Golden Globes win. In the clip, she called her dad to share the news about her huge accomplishment. Looking back at this moment brought her to tears, and she had no problem letting us all in on the moment. Be careful if you're at work, you might need a tissue!

9. She lets it all out.


Twelve years after winning her first Golden Globe, Sandra returned to this year's award ceremony as host and nominee. She wowed as host, and WON her category. Before she kicked off her thank you speech, she took a moment to yell out, with great strength, "Killing Eve!!!" Okay, no matter how sensible a person can be, one deserves to blow off some steam. That might just be part of her secret to success...

10. She never forgot where she came from. 


Sandra's parents aren't only supportive of their daughter's choice in career, they're putting in the legwork, too (in a way). In April 2018, Sandra and her parents scouted out a Killing Eve billboard. Her parents are seen proudly posing in the above Tweet, with Sandra writing in the caption, "Just took me 30 yrs..." In September, the two joined Sandra at the Emmy Awards, which... they "won." And, you may have spotted them all smiles at the Golden Globes this past weekend. It seems like Sandra's fans, family, errr, the entire world (just about), are in on the KE phenom. It's infectious.

Congratulations to Sandra Oh and we look forward to more great things coming out of her corner.

We CANNOT wait for season two of Killing Eve on April 7 — what about you!?