The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
Katie McCurdy
By Sandra Oh
September 15, 2021 7:19 AM EDT

In 2018, someone sent me a clip of Bowen Yang lip-synching to my Grey’s Anatomy character, Cristina Yang. I was like, “Oh my god—look at this kid. He’s way better at this monologue than me.” His Miranda Priestly is utter genius.

Since then, I can’t tell you how much I’ve loved seeing him flourish on Saturday Night Live. I remember vibrating with excitement as I watched his skits such as “The Iceberg That Sank the Titanic” or his “Trade Daddy” character—a parody of a snarky (and fictional) Chinese government official—over and over again. He was firing on so many levels: his performance was lasering down belief systems, accents, trade, how we’re seen, so boldly. I wanted to write an essay on it.

As an Asian American performer on such a high-profile show, he’s taken on a stewardship role. But there should be no pressure for him to do anything more than just be himself: quick-witted, hilarious and absurd, with an elegant heart. We’re only really starting to see his potential as a performer and as a writer—he has so much to offer.

I am so proud to see him finding his way on his own terms. I hope he has whatever he needs to come to full fruition, because he’s mega. I am fully prepared to be his aunt. He can text me anytime.

Oh is an Emmy-nominated actor

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