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Sandra Oh Opened Up About Her Life As A Korean-Canadian In Ottawa In A New Interview

The actress still visits her parents in Canada from time to time.

Although her Grey's Anatomy days are long over, people will never forget what an amazing job Sandra Oh did in her portrayal of Cristina Yang. Her witty commentary, ruthless ambition, and honest friendship ruled the show for the first ten seasons, and after she left, Yang was seldom heard from again. Since she left Grey's, Oh has been keeping busy with other big projects, including American Crime and Killing Eve, as well as spending time with her parents back home in Canada. Sandra Oh's childhood in Ottawa has kept her in touch with her Korean-Canadian roots.

If you didn't already know, Oh was born in Ottawa to two parents who immigrated from Korea to the States, and then to Canada a few years later. She now has a good relationship with her parents but in a recent interview with Net-a-Porter, Oh revealed that it wasn't always so good, particularly during her last years of high school.

"I put my parents through so much s***. I did a lot of improv in high school, and in my last year, we had a big competition. I was applying to theatre school at the time [against my parents' wishes] and I did an entire skit with two people playing my parents about how I wanted to go to the National Theatre School. And my parents were in the audience. Awful! What kind of daughter does that?"

Luckily for Oh, her talent shone through and she was accepted to Montreal's National Theatre school. Her siblings, on the other hand, chose career paths that her parents approved of — her sister is a lawyer in Vancouver, and her brother is a medical geneticist in Boston. 

Despite following her dreams and becoming an actress, Oh has never strayed far from her Korean-Canadian roots. She even gave a subtle traditional shoutout to her parents at the Golden Globe Awards, she told Net-a-Porter.

"When I won the Golden Globe [for Best Actress in a TV series, in January], my parents were there, and I bowed. I don’t think people who are not from our culture understand the depth of respect and strength in bowing to your elders. It’s not a supplicating gesture, it’s a gesture of raising, not only yourself but also the person you are bowing to. That’s what I know not only the Asian diaspora but many people of colour understand. And that’s who I am talking to.”

Despite their previously rocky relationship, Oh knows that her parents are ultimately proud of her for following her dreams and paving the way for so many other Asian-Canadians that dream of being on the big screen one day.

"This is what I really love about my parents. Not only is it, this is my daughter on this billboard, it’s absolutely an Asian face, too, and that has a profound meaning for them, which we don’t need to talk about, but I know they carry it. And I know they carry it for everyone in their generation.”

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