Chandra Wilson and Kelly McCreary on 'Pushing the Boundaries' as Black Women on Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy stars Chandra Wilson and Kelly McCreary hope to continue "pushing the boundaries" with the longstanding medical drama.
In an interview with Good Morning America published Sunday, Wilson, 51, and McCreary, 39, discussed their different experiences when it came to being cast on the series.
Wilson's character, Dr. Miranda Bailey, was initially described as "a tiny blonde with curls who was underestimated," but the actress went ahead for the role because she "never cared" about fitting in, she said in the interview.
"I wasn't 'ingénue.' I didn't have whatever that look was, and casting always likes to give you a type," Wilson said. "I was just like, 'I know you're looking for her, but here, how about this?'"
McCreary, on the other hand, was cast as a mixed raced woman, despite not having a Black parent and a white parent in real life.
"I'm Black; both of my parents are Black. I am the light-skinned one in my family and everyone else in my family has a darker complexion than I do," she said.
The actress, who plays Dr. Maggie Pierce on the ABC drama, added, "Because of my complexion, I was mostly going in to play mixed girls."
"These are roles that I wouldn't have been able to audition for and book, possibly, if my complexion had been darker. That's my light-skinned privilege," McCreary acknowledged.
Wilson and McCreary also touched on how they were able to further a conversation about the Black healthcare gap in their roles on Grey's Anatomy.
During one episode this season, the actresses had a conversation about how COVID-19 is disproportionately effecting Black communities.
"I understood the need to facilitate that and to be able to give a conversation to our audiences that maybe they aren't having, that they don't know. That as Black women, as Black children, as Black physicians these are conversations that we have," said doctor and executive producer Zoanne Clack, who also joined the GMA interview.
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Clack added, "Hopefully Grey's Anatomy is, by addressing our humanity and acknowledging us in our experiences and living our lives as Black women and Black people, somehow giving some inspiration to the young people, 'cause there are some young people who watch."
McCreary later in the interview called the show "kind of revolutionary and political without … hitting people over the head with it."
"The way that we have told the characters' stories over the years has just been sort of inherently culture shifting. I think that it has shifted the culture enough so that we were primed for more advanced conversations like the ones that we're having now," she said.
Wilson chimed in to add, "I feel like we've earned our place in talking about this now."
"We we pushed the boundaries 17 [seasons] ago. As our show has progressed and as culture has changed and as the years have gone on and the millennials have come, we are pushing the boundaries again," she said.
Grey's Anatomy returns to ABC on March 11 on ABC.
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