NEW YORK — People magazine has named Canadian actor Sandra Oh, country legend Dolly Parton, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, and the nation's teachers as its "2021 People of the Year."
Oh, the Canadian-born daughter of South Korean immigrants, was celebrated for fighting anti-Asian hate and working on "transformative stories."
The Ottawa-raised performer stars and produces the Netflix series "The Chair," and in 2018 was the first Asian woman to be nominated for a lead actress Emmy, for "Killing Eve.''
The magazine also notes Oh spoke out after the spa murders in Georgia as levels of anti-Asian hate crimes rose significantly.
Parton was cited for giving away millions of books and supporting COVID-19 research, and the magazine said Biles' focus on mental health "redefined what it means to win in sports."
People also lauded the nation's more than three million teachers, who have "gone above and beyond to ensure our nation's kids have bright opportunities ahead."
"This year has been a transformative one, pushing us all to create something new and hopefully better for our lives," the magazine said.
"This issue reflects that spirit: Our People of the Year cover stars have all led the way in their fields to help make the world a little bit better."
Oh was singled out for her efforts to showcase marginalized perspectives and voices.
"Progress is not just sticking a bunch of people of color (into a show) and having them speak like everyone else," she says in the magazine.
"The thing that I'm most proud about with 'The Chair' is how it's translated to people of colour who are living and working in mostly white spaces. What I hope is that anyone who's watching it can say, 'That could easily be me.' "
The new issue hits newsstands Friday.
Last year, People named George Clooney, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Selena Gomez and Regina King as the "2020 People of the Year."
The Associated Press