“Killing Eve” star Sandra Oh covers the June 2020 issue of ELLE Canada magazine photographed by Greg Swales and styled by Patrick Vimbor.
Lately, much has been made in the representation conversation about minority actors being cast in roles that are essentially “colour-blind,” effectively removing the stereotype that only someone who looks a certain way can play a lead role and opening up opportunities for PoC to play roles outside the typically typecast ones: “But I’m in a place in my career now where I am specifically interested in roles that explore a character’s race,” says Oh. “Because I can—and because I want our conversations to eventually move to a place that recognizes that it’s important. Let’s say it’s a show about a fashion magazine and the editor’s Black. You can’t just write this character without having the background of who she is. But that has been the primary storytelling for as long as we’ve been around.”
That one-dimensional approach makes little sense, because we all know how often a person’s race or culture influences their choices or way of navigating the world: “Asian-Americans, particularly from my generation, almost recoil if we hear an accent [onscreen] because of how laden in racism and misunderstanding [it is] and [how it’s a result of] not being in charge of the story,” she says.
Oh pauses for thought and reflects on a shift she is excited to see happening: younger actors who “carry” their accent: “If you are Korean-American and from Los Angeles, you have an accent, but they aren’t trying to flatten their accent, like I have,” she says. “They are just carrying that into the character of, say, a doctor. That’s how we get the shift. We don’t want to just have a person of colour acting the way a white person would act. Because they’re not!”
Cover: Gucci Dress | Jennifer Fisher Jewelry
Image 1: Louis Vuitton Silk Shirt and Leather Skirt | Balenciaga Gold-tone Metal Earrings
Image 2: Gucci Sequin-embroidered Linen Dress | Kenneth Jay Lane x Brandon Maxwell Gold-plated Metal Earrings with Peridots, Blue Crystals and Faux-coral Cabochons
Hair by Jenny Cho
Makeup by Kara Yoshimoto Bua
Nails by Christina Aviles Aude
[Photo Credit: Greg Swales/ELLE Magazine]