Sandra Oh got a lead role. Her reaction shows why it’s a big deal.

One day strolling around Brooklyn, Sandra Oh( “Grey’s Anatomy”) learned she landed the part of Eve on BBC America’s “Killing Eve.”

But of all the feelings relevant actors may experience learning they’ve snagged a lead role, Sandra Oh just felt … confused .

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards.

Lead roles are rarely offered to racial minorities, she noted to Vulture. It took her a moment for the news to sink in.

“When I got the script for ‘Killing Eve, ‘ I remember I was walking around in Brooklyn and I was on my phone with my agent, Nancy, ” told Oh. “I was quickly scrolling down the script, and I can’t actually tell you what I was looking for. So I’m like, ‘So Nancy, I don’t understand. What’s the proportion? ‘ And Nancy runs, ‘Sweetheart, it’s Eve, it’s Eve.'”

Oh, who is Korean-Canadian, said the moment was a wakeup call for her( emphasis added ):

“I think about that moment a lot . Of just going, how deep have I internalized this?[ So] several years of being seen[ a certain route ], it deeply, profoundly, deep affects us. It’s like, how does racism define your work? Oh my goodness, I didn’t even assume when being offered something that I would be one of the central storytellers . Why? And this is me talking, right? After being told to insure things a certain way for decades, you realize, ‘Oh my god! They brainwashed me! ‘ I was brainwashed! So that was a revelation to me.”

Oh and her “Killing Eve” co-star Jodie Comer at a press event in January. Photo by Frederick M. Brown/ Getty Images.

It attains sense that Oh felt “brainwashed.” She’s ran in an industry with limited opportunities for people like her.

A report published in February by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African-American Studies at UCLA determined racial minorities are still underrepresented across virtually all roles in TV and film production. While minorities make up 40% of the U.S ., for instance, only 20.2% of cable scripted leadings were people of color, research reports find. And most of the roles were written for men.

These disproportionate figures don’t simply affect performers of coloring trying to find work; they affect every minority watching from home who don’t see themselves on screen . For Oh, her role in “Killing Eve” is another step in changing that status quo.

“We haven’t even scratched the surface of how deeply we need to see ourselves represented, ” she said to Vulture. “And how it’s not just leaving the images to the outside voices. It’s seeing it within ourselves.”

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