For the past 14 years, Chandra Wilson has starred as Dr. Miranda Bailey on ABC’s Grey's Anatomy, and while she’s spent more than a decade in front of the camera, Wilson occasionally goes behind the scenes as director as well.
Wilson told BuzzFeed News she had the honor of directing the upcoming Feb. 28 episode of Grey's, when the show will mark a milestone as it becomes the longest-running primetime medical drama in history.
“I noticed it at the beginning of the season, because we’ve been counting to see which episode was going to get us there, and so when I saw my name [listed as director] I was really excited and really flattered," Wilson said in an upcoming interview of BuzzFeed News’ Profile set to air on Feb. 24.
Shonda Rhimes originally created Grey’s Anatomy back in 2005, starting ABC’s famous TGIT lineup, and the show has remained popular among viewers for 14 years.
With that in mind, Wilson said she felt the “weight and responsibility” that came with directing this landmark episode in the series.
“‘What was the script going to be?’ ‘What was I going to need to say?’ ‘Was it going to be about the OGs, was it going to be about the new folks?’” Wilson said.
Despite her initial preoccupations, the actor said she was ultimately happy with how the 332nd episode in the series came out.
“We end up with an episode that really lets the fans know that we continue,” Wilson said. “That’s really at the end of the day what it ends up being about, so I’m excited.”
Wilson’s other acting credits include minor roles on The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and General Hospital, and she’s even directed episodes of The Fosters and Scandal. But Grey’s Anatomy has made up the bulk of Wilson’s career, earning her five Emmy award nominations and a SAG Award for Best Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series in 2007.
When Rhimes first conceived of the role of Dr. Miranda Bailey, she pictured a petite, blonde woman, but Wilson's agent and manager encouraged ABC to let her audition for the part.
"One of the things that I had to put away a long time ago is whether I was gonna be right because if I had spent time looking in the mirror, spent time standing on the scale, I never would have done anything," Wilson said. "So, I had to allow myself to say right here in this skin is what I am. And this is what I'm going to present."
After landing the role, Wilson said she was struck when she watched the 2005 pilot by the show's diversity.
"Then I saw the pilot and I was like, 'Wow that's that's America, that's walking down the street,'" she said.
The actor has seen success in Hollywood over the past decade and a half, but not without coming up against the difficulties that come with working in the entertainment industry, especially when it comes to pay inequity.
“It’s interesting, because our industry looks around and makes a determination of what your value is, and what your worth is,” Wilson said.
“If you live in that space, you start to internalize that and think of your own value and worth based on a number that some industry has put on that. That can be really dangerous for your self-esteem, your self-worth.”
Wilson said in spite of these challenges, at the end of the day she tries to focus on the fact that she’s living her dream as an actor.
“I’m getting a chance to make a living at this thing that brings me so much joy,” she said. “And the reason I do it is because I like to bring joy to you guys.”
Watch Chandra Wilson's interview on Profile on Facebook Watch on Feb. 24.