Although Oh was clearly already a star long before American audiences started noticing her, it’s her performance as Cristina Yang in ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” that was arguably her breakout role. Oh was one of the original cast members of the beloved series, created by Shonda Rhimes, starring alongside Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, Katherine Heigl as Izzie Stevens, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, and many more.
At first, Yang is just a surgical intern with Grey and a few others, but over the course of the first 10 seasons, Yang grows to become a resident, and then a cardiothoracic surgical fellow at Seattle Grace Hospital. By the end of Season 10, Oh simply felt like she had gotten all she could from the show and the character, and so she left “Grey’s Anatomy.” Oh’s character has made a very big impact on the entertainment industry and our culture, with Alyana Santillana of Voices of Gen Z writing about how, despite Yang being intelligent and a doctor, she completely upends the “smart Asian” stereotype through her decision to not have a family in order to pursue her career, her confidence in her sexuality, and her defiant and strong attitude. Santillana shared that “Cristina’s characterization inspired me, and many other young girls, to be unapologetically driven, to be self possessed, and to be unstoppable.”
Of course, then comes along Eve Polastri of “Killing Eve,” and she’s proven to be just as influential. The show, whose first season was led by showrunner, writer, and executive producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, is a monumental accomplishment in and of itself, featuring two complex lead female characters who just so happen to have a romantic obsession with one another. The main problem? Eve is an MI6 agent hunting down the other woman who is a psychopathic assassin named Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer. “Killing Eve” is critically acclaimed and loved by many, with Oh and her character being a main focus of the appreciation.