Grey’s Anatomy lands all the top guest stars.
We had the privilege of catching up with Bianca Santos for a little chat and we admittedly lost track of time. Well, that’s easy to do when talking to someone so down-to-earth, easy-going, passionate, and fun-loving.
Below, you’ll find a taste of our conversation, as Bianca talks about her next arc on Grey’s Anatomy and what her independent film project, Stronghold, means to her. Check it out!
To begin with, how did you land a role in Grey’s Anatomy? Did you have to audition for the role?
I did, yes. Auditioning is like pulling things from the abyss and hoping it sticks. I remember when Grey’s audition came up, and it’s always a gift when you land something.
When I found out that I had it and not only had it but also that it would be four episodes, I was very pleasantly surprised. The self-strip turned into a bow, which is lovely.
It’s fantastic. It’s a recurring role on one of the biggest shows currently on television.
Yeah! It’s super exciting.
Were you a big fan of the show before you got started?
I mean, the show is iconic!
It’s crazy to think that it’s been going on for 18 years. It’s one of those shows where you hear the name, and you’re like, “Wait! This is crazy. This is amazing.”
I definitely enjoyed the show, so being on set and being there – I would reveal that I’m a fangirl. I hope I operated the start professionally. I hope I wasn’t like “Oh my God, it’s so crazy that I’m here!” But I was a little flabbergasted.
Of course, I’m sure. I guess you worked a lot with Chris Carmack, didn’t you? How many people were you able to interact with during your stay?
With four episodes, I got to engage with quite a few characters, which was so much fun. I don’t think I can say too much; that’s the tricky part, not giving too much away, but it was so much fun.
This Thursday is the first where my character Kristen Clark will be introduced, and I think it will be a really sweet heartbreaking story between me and my husband, Simon Clark.
After what happens to our characters and where it ends, hopefully we will have a tender place in people’s hearts for our storyline. And yes, Chris Carmack plays my husband’s doctor, so I interacted with Chris and a few other doctors.
What else can you reveal about your character and his role?
Kristen and Simon are here because my husband is [Link’s] patient. The fact that I am pregnant and worried about my husband’s illness is a matter of concern in our lives, and it intertwines with the exciting and dramatic events at Gray Sloan Memorial. It’s a recipe for drama.
We rarely have recurring characters as patients, so hopefully that means Kristen and Simon will resonate with people. You’re finishing the season, aren’t you?
Yes, we have finished the season, so we are in this two-hour finale. In my filming experience, there were so many moments that ended up being so much fun. In my first episode on Thursday, Debbie Allen was the director, so if you can imagine, this is my first episode on Grey’s; Debbie Allen directs…
Yes, a living icon, and I was so nervous I really was, and at the same time, I’m trying to impress Debbie Allen and be professional, but she’s so, there’s a reason why it is iconic.
The word I would use for Debbie Allen is — she’s a refiner. Everything she touches, she makes it sparkle. Working with her was a little scary because it challenged me in the best way possible.
I was able to work with her as a director on this episode, and I was able to work with her again in my four episode arc, but I can’t say how.
You starred alongside Cedric Sanders, who plays your husband. Did you have instant chemistry to sell the roles?
It was so crazy because I think in these times, I don’t even know, do we still call these pandemic times? I’m not even sure. That’s totally the case when you’re on set and testing for COVID every other day.
But there was no chemistry test or anything like that with Cedric. We just got on set, we looked at each other, and I was like, “Hi, hubby,” and he said, “Hi, wife.”
And it was so easy to work with him. One of the things I appreciate, I think we just got lucky. People would come while we were filming, and they would just say, “You guys are so lovely. We truly believe that you are a couple who look up to you both. And he and I are like, “Cool! Awesome. Awesome.”
It’s the best thing you can hear.
Yeah, it really is, so the cast did a good thing casting us both because you can never guess the chemistry.
You attended the 400th episode celebration and you looked amazing, by the way!
Thank you, thank you very much!
So how was this experience for you?
It was amazing. It’s so rare that you work on a show, and then there’s some sort of event or mat attached. On top of that, being part of a show’s 400th episode celebration was, I’m trying to find the right word, magnanimous comes to mind.
You are in the presence of seasoned people, and having this small part of a big story was so special.
The 400th celebration had so many wonderful little details. The towels had quotes from the show, and there were different variations all over it, and you took it, and it would be Meredith Grey.
This show has so much history, and I got to be a part of it, and it was special. And the party was great. We were on a rooftop, and everyone was happy, and it felt like a big party.
Now I also cover Good Trouble. I also used to cover The Fosters.
Yeah, yeah, oh my god. Jasmine, we’re like family now. [Laughs]
Haha! So we all remember Lexi. It would be great if she stopped by the Coterie and reconnected with Mariana. Would you be into something like this?
Wow, I mean, hey, anything is possible in the world of television. Why not?
It’s so interesting because the word I would use to describe how I felt on set of Grey, everyone was so lovely, the directors, the crew, everyone was so positive, heartwarming, and I used the word family.
And I thought, oh my God, I used that word with The Fosters. I used to say my Fosters family. When you have something like that, it’s special.
Now you are also working on an independent film, Stronghold. Can you tell me a bit more?
I am super impressed by the strong presence of people of color in front of and behind the lens. And we both know how imperative it is to have that presence on both sides when telling diverse stories.
Absolutely, thanks for asking. I spent a lot of time being on one side of that dichotomy and always saying to myself, “I feel like I could produce. I think I can produce. I want to produce. And I think that kind of pandemic downtime has taught me that whatever you want, go for it because life is short.
And so, this year, I did. We’re in post-production on an independent film that I produced and starred in, and these are things that happened because I wanted them to happen because I tried so hard and that I just understood.
There were a lot of things I didn’t know, but I said, “I’ll just figure it out.” And I looked at the community. Whenever I had a question about something, I searched for a book or a friend, and I think that’s like the start of my journey.
Stronghold is something that will be special, and hopefully it will be a springboard for future projects because we need more diverse voices.
And what I’m so proud of is that my project is a group of women of color in positions of power – our director, our DP, the screenwriter, our first DA, all of these people are women of color. It was so intentional because you read some stats, and to this day Latinas have this big gap.
I am Afro-Latina. I feel responsible for two worlds. How could I create something and not have my sisters come? It’s my responsibility as a creative moving forward.
These are women who are all more than capable for this job. Our DP, Andressa [Cordeiro], is phenomenal… the shots she got… Our director, Julia Camara, impressed me so much. This is the way, and I want to do more, and this is just the beginning.
Do you have any idea when it will be out?
Our hope and goal is to be able to attend all of these wonderful independent film festivals in 2023.
I sincerely hope that this goal becomes a reality for all of you. Good luck and congratulations.
Our last question, since this is TV Fanatic. What TV shows are you fond of and enjoy?
I just got recommended Heart stroke on Netflix, and I haven’t had a chance to watch it, but people are obsessed with it. I have a thing for queer stories on TV, whether The Savages, which I liked. But Hearstopper is something I want to watch.
Outside of those types of shows, and not just because I’m on Grey’s, I really like everything about Shondaland. Invent Anna, Bridgerton, all. I happen to love these shows.
I think Shonda Rhimes is a genius. I’m a huge fan and love the TV work and quality of Shonda Rhimes. I’m still so impressed. I love that she chooses to have women as the central narrative of her shows. I’m up.
And we support Bianca Santos.
You can catch Bianca as Kristen Clark on Grey’s Anatomy tonight. Please tune in to see his arc unfold for the rest of the season!
You can find Bianca on Instagram, so shower her with love and support there.
Jasmine Blue is a senior writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.