Being done with Grey's Anatomy affords Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang) perspective — on both the highlights and the lowlights of her ten seasons on the show.
And as lovingly as the 42-year-old talks about the experience, she does have one critique, which she explains to KoreAm magazine.
"I will say, Grey's Anatomy has never dealt with race," she observes. "And that was up to [creator Shonda Rhimes]."
As much credit as Shonda gets (and deserves) for her color-blind casting — and for the notion that differences like skin color don't matter at Grey Sloan Memorial — Sandra argues that we as a society are not at that post-racial ideal.
"It bummed me out because I feel like, [issues of race] could be a great story idea, or even like a joke. But [the producers] would not go for it, because it was a show choice."
Now that she has graduated from Grey's, she has the freedom to tackle race with her choices in roles: "The next step for me is not about portraying how we're the same; it's about portraying our differences, exactly who we are," she says.
She expresses interest in playing immigrants, even those with heavy accents or stereotypical jobs — roles that Asian-American actors might try to avoid.
"When I felt like I was trying to introduce that as a possibility for a character, a possibility as a comedic character, I think it freaked people out. Because, first, I think, it came across as racist. I'm like, 'No, we're just not ready for it yet. We're not ready to actually play our own, with our familial accents, you know?"
She continues: "I feel like now I'm interested in telling the story about, you know, an aunt and uncle who opened up a dry cleaners store … It's not regressive at all because, I think, creatively [certain immigrant stories have] never been told, not properly. That's the shift we need to make — that the story is about ourselves."
Wherever her career takes her, professionally and creatively, we'll be watching!