Sandra Oh is the most-nominated East Asian performer in Emmys history; she has never won an Emmy. Zendaya was the winner in the Lead Drama Actress category this year (more on Zendaya later) and, well, it’s hard to be mad about that and I can’t pretend to be. It’s not like Sandra was mad. Look at this proud unnie


Sandra took a more casual approach to the Emmys this year. She was not in a ballgown but the same level of consideration was put into her outfit even though it wasn’t formalwear. This is no ordinary bomber jacket. As she told British Vogue, these pandemic times have “forced me to reflect on who I am and how I express myself through clothes”.

She’s wearing a custom jacket by Matthew Kim’s LA-based brand KORELIMITED which produced a line of t-shirts and hoodies in support of Black Lives Matter. Together they collaborated on a piece that honoured Sandra’s Korean heritage and paid tribute to Black culture. The writing on the bomber reads “Black Lives Are Precious” because “Black Lives Matter” is not directly translatable in Korean. The dashes are a nod to the Korean flag. And the colour, royal purple, carries meaning for both the Korean and Black communities. It’s “super Korean”, as Sandra said, and just think, as one example, of the use of purple in Black Panther (vibranium is purple, derived from the purple “heart-shaped herb”, reserved for the Wakandan ruler and their family, fitting because the colour symbolises royalty and power). 


Sandra did her own hair, braided in a traditional Korean style which I’m totally feeling because when we were growing up, in our case in Chinese homes, watching Chinese soap operas, we’d always want to wear our hair the way the Chinese maidens wore theirs. In my case, it was my then-favourite actress Barbara Yung and the characters she played. Here are some examples: 

And a selection of styles including other actresses from popular soaps in the 80s:

A lot of this is wig work, obviously, but as Sandra just showed us, you can totally make it happen without hairpieces. If I ever get on another red carpet, I’m going full old-timey Chinese with the hairstyle. 

Read more about Sandra Oh’s Emmys look at British Vogue