In total transparency, I admit I have not yet indulged in the world of Grey’s Anatomy. Perhaps this fact made the interview more interesting, approaching it as an outsider who wants in. In my interview, I spoke with Camilla Luddington. Many of you know her as Jo Wilson, recently made Jo Karev, in the award-winning show Grey’s Anatomy. Despite the fact I didn’t know a whole lot about the show, I have plenty of friends who have raved on and on about how much they adore the show. It’s stacked full of emotions and will have you laughing one second and on the floor crying the next. Read an excerpt of our conversation below and order a copy of the Winter 2019 issue here.
Jo Wilson definitely hasn’t had the easiest past. How do you channel her emotions and feelings during somber and emotionally raw scenes?
A lot of research is involved in the storylines. Obviously, there has to be some creative license to make it work for you and that allows you to feel the same emotion the character may feel. For example, with the abusive husband situation, I have been fortunate enough to never have been in that situation. Grey’s talked to a lot of people who have, and we started the discussion early on about what that does to a person, how it affects their other relationships, and whether or not they have PTSD with that sort of thing.
Obviously, there are a ton of relatable moments throughout the show. Has there ever been a moment where a scene has almost felt too real for you or someone else on set?
You know which scene was interesting? It wasn’t sad, but I was personally newly engaged right after Jo and Alex were engaged. I did the wedding scene on the show, and it was like getting married before actually getting married. I said, “I do,” before I said, “I do.” It was something that felt very trippy, and I was like, “Wow, I’m saying my vows for the first time for TV.”
Has there ever been an emotional boundary you’ve had to personally overcome to take on Jo?
I think the storyline with Matthew Morrison, the abusive ex-husband, was difficult. Whenever Jo runs into him on the show, her whole world is turned upside down. She’s kind of taken back to a time where she told people about the abuse, but they didn’t believe her. I think we did about two episodes with him, and it took about two and a half weeks to film. That was a really intense time for me, and I remember driving home and feeling distraught. I definitely sat in my car and just cried. Even after the table read, the first time I read the script, she describes what he did to her. I had always speculated what happened to her, but when reading it out loud, I could hardly get through the speech. That storyline challenged me the most emotionally.
A lot of young women watch the show, and your character definitely has her ups and downs with love. What is one piece of romantic advice you have for all women?
Maybe it sounds cheesy, but you do really have to love yourself. Don’t look for someone to complete you. It’s important to complete yourself. Find someone who complements you. And find someone who has love and respect for you. That’s the advice I’d hope to give my daughter for her future partner.
What is the best thing about Grey’s Anatomy in your mind?
I can answer the question in so many ways, but the fans are still passionately into it and tuning in, and it means we are still touching people. I call the show a unicorn because the show is 15 years old and people are still tuning in. That is literally magical. I don’t think I’ll ever get the opportunity to be on a show this long again.
What is one of your favorite memories on set?
I remember the very first time I put on the scrubs. It must have been the first fitting. I had watched the show as a fan for years myself, and I think it became very real for me that I was going to be a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy. It was very like, “Oh my gosh.” I remember grabbing my phone to take pictures to send to family.
Is it odd to think one day your daughter will be able to understand and watch scenes you have acted in? Will you willingly show her?
I thought about this too. Every once in a while, if I do something like Good Morning America, Matt will record a bit of it, and she will watch it. She doesn’t understand, but she will stare at the screen and say, “Mama, mama.” It will be bizarre for her one day to realize her parents work on TV and it’s not just Ana and Elsa on the television all of the time. She’s going to have to wait on Grey’s because there is a lot of adult content. I think it’s amazing one day she could find it and binge watch it like so many teens are doing. I don’t know how I’ll feel about her watching me have relations with different people on the show. I hope she’s proud.
You started acting at a very young age. What has been one of the most difficult yet rewarding lessons you’ve learned along the way?
I think one of the most difficult lessons to learn in any industry, but especially this one is dealing with rejection. It’s so consistent. The biggest lesson I learned is to shake it off. That was something that was not easy to learn. When I walked into an audition room and did everything I could, I learned to leave the audition in the room instead of taking it home with me and wondering if they liked me or if I was worthy. I learned to feel worthy anyway and feel comfortable with however it goes. It doesn’t affect how I am as a person. It was hard to learn that rejection doesn’t define you.
If someone had to play Jo Wilson on set one day in place of you, but you got to pick what person, who would play Jo Wilson?
I think Caterina Scorsone would do a great job at playing Jo Wilson.
Lastly, what’s one thing you wish someone would have told you 10 years ago?
Sleep in longer. I never sleep in past 7 AM anymore, and I long for the days I could have slept in until noon.
STORY ELIZABETH STAFFORD
PHOTOS MARTINA TOLOT
HAIR CARLY WALTERS BETHEL
MAKEUP MELISSA HERNANDEZ
STYLIST NATALIE HOSELTON
Read more in Volume IV, Issue No. 001 – Winter 2019.
Order a print copy here: CAMILLA LUDDINGTON COVER.
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Winter 2019 – Volume IV – Issue No. 001
Cover: Camilla Luddington