Interview with Sara Ramirez

 
 

AE: Callie recently came out to her dad and it didn’t go so well. A huge portion of our readership has experienced that, or is gearing up for coming out to family. What was it like to portray that dynamic?
SR:
It was really heavy. I was really impressed and grateful it got as much time as it did on the show. It’s emotional any time you risk losing your family. When you cut that umbilical cord you really are on your own. When you have to make a choice to love yourself for who you are and keep your integrity versus appeasing your parents, you must choose yourself first. You must love yourself first. Unfortunately that can mean saying goodbye to a parent. That is frequently the parent’s choice, not the child’s. When a parent gives an ultimatum, they are making the choice.

Even if you don’t have your parent’s support you need to know that there are a slew of people out there who are sometimes better family than your own family. There is an alternative, plenty of family out there. Sometimes they just aren’t blood related. Those are the people you want to surround yourself with.

AE: You are on hiatus now. What will you do with all that free time?
SR:
My entire focus for the next month will be a foundation that I started, called the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation. I’m co-hosting a benefit in May.

Al was my best friend. He was like family to me. He passed away last July. He was given three months to live in June, but only made it six weeks. 45 years old. It was a really scary time. I took a red-eye after work and arrived in the I.C.U. and it was the most surreal experience to be in a place identical to my work set. And to go and have it all be real. Nothing prepares you, as much as you can intellectualize it, nothing prepares you for your best friend dying.

AE: How did that affect you as an actor, going back to work in a hospital?
SR:
Work was a great place to go and connect with other people and feel productive. Engage in the humor, the banter, play someone else. The story lines that related to people dying were just too much for me though. Now though, I have a whole new take on life and death and way more understanding and respect for people in those situations.

AE: Can anyone interested in supporting the foundation attend the benefit?
SR:
Yes! I’m trying to spread the word. If you go to aldrodriguezliverfoundation.com you can get all the details. I’m co-hosting the benefit with Carson Kressley on May 30 on Fire Island. Tickets are only $75 to $150 and it will be really fun and it’s for a great cause. There are plenty of places to stay by the event, and it’s also an easy trip in from Manhattan, so please come on down!

AE: What do you want to do after Grey’s?
SR:
I would love to continue working on my music and go back to the theater. If I could tour with my music I would do that. But if more TV or film came along I would definitely do that.

AE: When’s the Callie spin off coming?
SR:
There’s no Callie spin off

AE: Yes there is, what would it be called?
SR:
Callie takes Manhattan, I would take Callie to New York, see how she fares over there.

AE: Why are your teeth so white?
SR:
Well. Um. I’m not a regular coffee drinker. Uh, I go to the dentist.

AE: What kind of animal would you be?
SR:
A manatee. Because my father was an oceanographer, and every time I saw a manatee, they seemed very at peace.

AE: Aren’t they always getting cut by the boat?
SR:
And yet they survive.

AE: Moving on, what would be your—
SR:
and manatee isn’t the first thing you think of when you think of the ocean. Whales, dolphins, I think manatees are really underrepresented.

AE: They need better agents. What would be your ideal date?
SR:
Taking a road trip to San Francisco. Ride the trolley, walk down Lombard street, spend the day at Fisherman’s Wharf, and eat Ghiradelli Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream while sitting on the meadow looking at the Golden Gate Bridge.

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