Prior to the show's Season 16 premiere, we spoke with Grey's Anatomy star Kelly McCreary on what she loves most about playing Dr. Maggie Pierce, her passion for activism and more.
What can we expect from Season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy?
KELLY MCCREARY: Gosh, how do I even start? There’s a lot to clean up from last season. There’s the question of Meredith’s freedom. For Maggie, there’s the question of where do we go with Jackson? There’s a lot of emotional territory to explore. It should be really exciting.
What do you like most about playing Dr. Maggie Pierce?
KM: I think Maggie is really funny sometimes. She’s so quirky. I love watching her negotiate the situations she’s uncomfortable in, which is so many. There’s so much fun comedy in all of the newness she gets to explore.
Tell us more about your work with the Equal Justice Society and When We All Vote.
KM: I’ve been an ambassador for When We All Vote, which is a get out the vote campaign founded by Michelle Obama and her team. It was founded in the run-up to the 2018 midterms. It was initially actually a voter registration campaign. The reality, I think, is that a lot of people feel disempowered and disengaged by some of the things that are happening in their communities and politics overall. They may not realize that starting at the very local level, there are opportunities to make your voice heard and participate in the process of what laws are being created and how politicians behave on your behalf in office. It was a great opportunity to support awareness building.
Equal Justice Society is a Bay Area-based racial justice organization. It largely functions as a legal organization that files lawsuits against discriminatory practices in education and housing and other institutions
You support voting rights, reproductive rights and protecting and uplifting African American women and girls. How do you use your fame to make a difference?
KM: I would say that I want to be known as a person who is here to support and represent women and girls who look like me. I try to use my platform as a place to celebrate and uplift and share the stories, concerns and issues we face. As a person who is public-facing, I think I have an opportunity and responsibility to say, ‘Hey, I’m out here and I’m here for us.’
The current cast of Grey’s seems to be very close. Are you all supportive of each other’s projects, acting or non-acting, outside of the show?
KM: There are so many dynamic, interesting and engaged human beings who act on our show. Our lives are quite full with our other interests. Many of us are able to balance both. Ellen [Pompeo] is into environmental activism, Jesse [Williams] is well-known for being a vocal supporter of criminal justice reform and racial justice in general. We try to support and uplift each other.
If you weren’t on Grey’s, what would you imagine you’d be doing?
KM: Booking Grey’s was a scenario beyond my wildest dreams. I came from a theater background and was developing myself into a character actor—I still am, actually. I thought I’d do some great arcs and guest starring here and there. We’re all just journeymen actors. I just happened to have been in the same job for a blessedly long period of time. You just sort of imagine going from gig to gig and [developing] your craft. Sometimes you get awesome stories, sometimes it’s just a gig. That’s sort of how I thought my career would go. I would be happy and thrilled to be doing that too. Fortunately, I’ve had the great luck to explore this character so deeply, for so long, and play in this playground of great storytelling that means so much to so many people.
Photography by: Gray Hamner