From 'Mad Men' to 'The Handmaid's Tale', How Elisabeth Moss Took on Men

Elisabeth Moss won the Emmy for best actress in a drama

Elisabeth Moss took home her first Emmy on Sunday night for her role as Offred, a quiet but shrewd rebel against a horrifically patriarchal society in The Handmaid’s Tale.

It’s not the first time Moss, 35, has played a resourceful woman in a male-dominated setting: She was nominated for multiple Emmys as secretary-turned-copywriter Peggy in Mad Men and portrays a detective bent on solving a young girl’s murder in Top of the Lake.

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“She’s the everyman. She’s just trying to do the right thing and achieve her goals. She’s a good person, and I think do identify with that and want her to succeed,” Moss told PEOPLE in 2008 of Peggy. “I think she is very ambitious … Peggy is a junior copywriter in a man’s world, and those are some big issues to deal with.”

Although all three characters are strong female leads, Moss has said she doesn’t necessarily gravitate to parts because they are feminist.

“I find myself getting slightly tripped up because I am a feminist, and I’m not ashamed of it,” she told TIME in April while discussing The Handmaid’s Tale. “But that’s not why I chose this role. I did it because it’s a complex character.”

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Still, she loved the fact that one of her pivotal Mad Men scenes — when Peggy confidently struts into her new office, sunglasses on, cigarette sticking out of her mouth — became a feminist meme.

“She’s walking down the hall, and she’s carrying a box of her things and wearing sunglasses, doesn’t give a sh-t and has made this giant leap because it takes place in the ’60s,” she said. “I’m super-proud to have been part of a moment that people can gain any inspiration from or connect with women’s rights.”

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The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, are airing live on CBS from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

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