Grey’s Anatomy lands all the best guest stars.
We had the privilege of catching up with Bianca Santos for a little chat and admittedly lost track of time. Well, it’s easy to do when speaking to someone as down-to-earth, easygoing, passionate, and fun.
Below you can find a taste of our conversation, as Bianca talks about her upcoming arc on Grey’s Anatomy and how much her indie film project, Stronghold, means to her. Check it out!
Jumping right into it — how did you land a role in Grey’s Anatomy? Did you have to audition for the part?
I did, yes. Auditioning is like shooting things into the abyss and hoping that it sticks. I remember when the Grey’s audition came in, and it’s always a gift when you land something.
When I found out that I got it and not only that I got it, but that also it would be four episodes, I was so pleasantly surprised. The self-tape turned into an arc, which is lovely.
That’s fantastic. It’s a recurring role on one of the biggest shows currently on television.
Yeah! It’s super exciting.
Were you a huge fan of the show before you got on it?
I mean, the show is iconic!
It’s crazy to think that it’s been on for 18 years. It’s one of those shows where you hear the name, and you’re like, “Wait! That’s crazy. That’s amazing. “
I definitely have enjoyed the show, so to be on set and be around — I would be revealing that I’m a fangirl. I hope I operated onset professionally. I hope I wasn’t like, “Oh, God, it’s so crazy that I’m here!” But I was a little starstruck.
Of course, I’m sure. I’m assuming you worked a lot with Chris Carmack, right? How many people did you get to interact with while there?
With being on for four episodes, I actually got to engage with quite a few characters, which was so fun. I don’t think I can say too much; it’s the tricky part, not wanting to reveal too much, but it was so fun.
This Thursday is the first where my character Kristen Clark will be introduced, and I think it is going to be a really sweet kind of heartbreaking story between myself and my husband, Simon Clark.
Following what happens to our characters and where it ends, I hope we have a tender spot in people’s hearts for our storyline. And yes, Chris Carmack plays my husband’s doctor, so I interacted with Chris and a couple of other doctors.
What else can you reveal about your character and her role?
Kristen and Simon are there because my husband is [Link’s] patient. Me being pregnant and worried about my husband’s illness is a point of concern in our lives, and that gets intermingled with the exciting, dramatic happenings of Grey Sloan Memorial. It’s a recipe for drama.
We rarely get recurring characters as patients, so hopefully, that means Kristen and Simon will resonate with people. You’re finishing out the season, right?
Yeah, we finished the season, so we are in that two-hour finale. In my experience with filming, there were so many moments that ended up being so much fun. In my first episode, Thursday, Debbie Allen was the director, so if you can imagine, it’s my first episode on Grey’s; Debbie Allen is directing …
Yes, an icon living, 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 just so, there’s a reason why she’s iconic.
The word I would use for Debbie Allen is — she’s a refiner. Everything that she touches, she makes sparkle. Working with her was a bit scary as hell because it challenged me in the best way possible.
I got to work with her as a director on that episode, and I got to work with her again in my four-episode arc, but I can’t say how.
You played opposite Cedric Sanders, who plays your husband. Did you guys have instant chemistry to sell the roles?
It was so crazy because I think in these, I don’t even know, do we still call these pandemic times? I’m not even sure. It totally is when you’re on set and COVID testing every other day.
But there was no chemistry test or anything like that with Cedric. We just showed up on set, looked at each other, and I was like, “Hi, husband,” and he was like, “Hi, wife.”
And it was just so easy to work with him. One of the things I appreciate, I think we just got lucky. People were coming up while we were filming, and they were just like, “You guys are just so lovable. We really believe that you guys are a couple watching the two of you.” And he and I are like, “Cool! Awesome. Great.”
It’s the best thing you can hear.
Yeah, it really is, so casting did something right with getting the two of us because you can never guess chemistry.
Now you attended the 400th episode celebration, and you looked gorgeous, by the way!
Thank you, thank you so much!
So, what was that experience like for you?
It was incredible. It is so rare that you work on a show, and then there’s some kind of event or carpet attached. On top of it, to be a part of a show’s 400th episode celebration was, I’m trying to think of the right word, magnanimous comes to mind.
You’re in the presence of seasoned people, and having this little part of a grand story was so special.
The 400th celebration had so many wonderful little details. The napkins had quotes from the show, and there were different variations all over, and you’d pick it up, and it would be Meredith Grey.
This show has so much history, and I got to be a tiny part of it, and it felt special. And the party was great. We were on a rooftop, and everyone was happy, and it felt like a big celebration.
Now, I also cover Good Trouble. I used to cover The Fosters as well.
Yeah, yeah, oh my, gosh. Jasmine, we’re like family now. [Laughs]
Haha! So, we all remember Lexi. It would be awesome if she stopped by the Coterie and reconnected with Mariana. Would you be into something like that?
Wow, I mean, hey, everything’s possible in the TV Universe. Why not?
It’s so interesting because the word I would use to describe how I felt on Grey’s set, everyone has been so lovely, cast directors, crew, everyone has been so positive, comforting, and I used the word family.
And I was thinking, oh my gosh, I used that word with The Fosters. I used to say my Fosters family. When you have something like that, it is special.
Now you’re also working on an indie film, Stronghold. Can you tell me a bit about that?
I’m super impressed with 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, thank you for asking. I’ve spent a good amount of time just being on one side of that dichotomy and always thinking to myself, “I feel like I could produce. I think I can produce. I want to produce.” And I think this sort of downtime of the pandemic has taught me is that whatever you want, just go for it because life is short.
And so, this year, I just did it. We are in post-production for an indie film that I produced and starred in, and those are things that happened because I willed them to happen because I put great effort and just figured it out.
There were a lot of things that I didn’t know, but I said, “I’m just gonna figure it out.” And I leaned into community. Whenever I had a question about something, I reached for a book or for a friend, and I think that this is just like the beginning of my journey.
Stronghold is something that will be special, and I’m hoping that that’ll be like a stepping stone for future projects because we need more diverse voices.
And what I’m so proud of is that my project is a bunch of women of color in power positions– our director, our D. P., scriptee, our first A. D., all of these people are women of color. That was so intentional because you read some of the statistics, and to this day, Latinas have this big gap.
I’m Afro-Latina. I feel a responsibility to two worlds. How could I create something and not bring in my sisters? That’s my responsibility as a creative moving forward.
These are women who are all more than capable for this job. Our D.P., Andressa [Cordeiro], is phenomenal … the shots that she got… Our director, Julia Camara, I was so impressed. That’s the path, and I want to do more of it, and this is just the beginning.
Do you have any idea when it’ll be out there?
Our hope and goal is that we’ll be able to get to all those wonderful indie film festivals in 2023.
I sincerely hope that goal becomes a reality for you all. Good luck, and congratulations.
Our final question, since this is TV Fanatic. What TV shows are you a fanatic for and enjoy?
I was just recommended Heartstopper on Netflix, and I haven’t had a chance to watch it, but people are obsessed. I have a soft spot for queer stories on TV, whether it’s The Wilds, which I enjoyed. But Hearstopper is something I want to watch.
Other than those types of shows, and not just because I’m on Grey’s, I genuinely love anything Shondaland. Inventing Anna, Bridgerton, all of them. I just happen to love those shows.
I think that Shonda Rhimes is a genius. I’m such a big fan, and I love the TV work and quality put out by Shonda Rhimes. I’m always so impressed. I love that she chooses to have women as the center narrative of her shows. I stan.
And we stan Bianca Santos.
You can catch Bianca as Kristen Clark on Grey’s Anatomy tonight. Please tune in to see her arc unfold for the remainder of the season!
You can find Bianca on Instagram, so shower her with love and support there.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.