Tag Archives Shondaland

The Characters We Love: Andrea “Andy” Herrera from ABC’s Station 19


For every project that is touched by the legendary Shonda Rhimes, there’s a very good chance it will be a huge success. Just take a look at Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder. ABC really hit the jackpot with these iconic television series. Station 19 is one of the newest shows on Rhimes’ résumé that is also airing on ABC. While she did not create the show herself (that credit goes to Stacy McKee), Rhimes is playing her part – and playing it well – as the executive producer of the show. As a spin-off to Grey’s Anatomy, and also set in Seattle, the series centers on the lives of the men and women at Seattle Fire Station 19. Only in its second season, the ensemble stars Jason George, Grey Damon, Barett Doss, and Jay Hayden, among others. However, at the helm is Jaina Lee Ortiz, who portrays Andrea Herrera, or simply: Andy. A firefighter, as well as a qualified EMT, Andy is confident, independent, and badass, and that’s why we love her!

There is no Station 19 without Andy Herrera, and Ortiz portrays her with authenticity and power. She lost her mother at the young age of 9, and her father (and former Captain) practically raised her at the station. Saving lives and making a difference is all she ever knew and wanted to do. She’s resourceful, often finding herself in the toughest of situations, but knowing just what to do to get out of them. In almost every episode, her friends, colleagues, and even potential lovers all look to her for guidance simply because she’s seen it all from such an early age.

Jaina Lee Ortiz in uniform, and on the scene, as firefighter Andy Herrera.

Jaina Lee Ortiz can relate to her character greatly. Born Jessica Ortiz in California and raised in the Bronx, her father, Joe Ortiz, is an NYPD 1st Grade Detective. Because of this, she got accustomed to hearing crazy stories nearly every day growing up. In addition, Ortiz is one of the very few Latina leads on television, something she had to learn to embrace. “When I got my first headshots, I felt like I needed to blend in,” Ortiz said on a 2018 episode of The View. “I felt like I needed to dye my hair a lighter blonde and I considered sticking some blue contacts in my eyes. It’s sad that I didn’t feel accepted and included. Women and minorities are really underrepresented in the media. So just to be a part of knowing that Shonda Rhimes has created this environment where women get to be their own heroes and their own stories, it’s refreshing and empowering.”

Station 19 airs Thursday nights on ABC. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all things Jaina Lee Ortiz, check out both her Instagram and Twitter.


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The Characters We Love: Andrea “Andy” Herrera from ABC’s Station 19: Featured Image Credit: abc.com

Medalion Rahimi Joins ShondaLand in ‘Still Star Crossed’


Getting to work in ShondaLand with the wonderful Shonda Rhimes is an absolute honor, wouldn’t you agree? She undoubtedly has given us a reason to stay home all Thursday night to watch her three mega hit shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. In 2016, she also brought us The Catch, and later this May, we can look forward to Still Star Crossed. While we wait to hit the DVR record button, we got to chat with one of the leading stars of this new show, Medalion Rahimi.

You may recognize Rahimi’s face in the latest film,
Before I Fall, which is based on the 2010 novel by Lauren Oliver. Essentially, Before I Fall is the teenage version of Groundhog Day, but this time Bill Murray isn’t involved and there aren’t any comedic shenanigans. Rahimi portrays the character Elody—a fun, carefree teenager who is best friends with leading protagonist, Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch). We won’t spill any spoilers here, but if you haven’t checked out the movie yet, don’t you want to know how the cycle eventually ends? Until then, keep reading to get to know Rahimi a little better.
Cliché: I feel as if 2017 will be a huge year for you. For our readers who are just learning about you, how did you begin your career as an actress?
Medalion Rahimi: I’ve always been drawn to performing and the arts, but it wasn’t until high school that I really started to consider acting as a profession. We had an incredible drama teacher, and he encouraged us to pursue what made us happy. I got my BA from UCLA’s School of Theater, and I started auditioning for non-union projects that I found on online breakdown services. Eventually, I met a casting director on an audition who offered to set me up with an agent. The agent met with me and sent me out on an audition. She said that if I booked the job, she would take me on. And I booked it!
How did the role of Elody in Before I Fall come about for you?
I actually had originally auditioned for the role of Ally, played by the lovely Cynthy Wu. I sent in a self-tape while I was visiting Berlin. When I got back, I met with Ry (the director), and after a few minutes of just talking, she offered me the role of Elody.
What was it that drew you to this role? How different or similar are you to Elody?
I definitely see a lot of myself in her. She sort of acts as the hype man of the group as well as the mediator, and I feel I play those roles with my friends. Plus, we both love to dance! Elody is fun-loving; she’s unapologetic and she cares deeply for her friends. She has this incredible energy and sees the glass as half full. She comes from a broken home with an alcoholic mother, so having a rich backstory made this character more interesting to play.
Did you feel pressure bringing a well-known book to life knowing you have critics out there comparing the movie to the book?
Of course. I want to do right by the book fans, but I think the film brings something different to the story. We always made a conscious effort to stay as true to the book as possible.

Women are special. Women are survivors. We need to lift each other up, and we have to be there for each other.

I love how the main cast consists of primarily women, which is what we need more of. For girls in high school (or younger) watching this movie, what do you think would be a takeaway after watching the movie?
The film touches on so many relevant issues that I think will resonate a lot with our young adult audience. When it comes to bullying, it’s important to not be complacent because that can cause as much harm as engaging. I also hope that this film lets girls around the world know that they are not alone. Women are special. Women are survivors. We need to lift each other up, and we have to be there for each other. Although life can be tough and seem dim, there is so much magic and beauty to find in the world and in one another.
If you had to live a day over and over again, what would you want to happen in that day you’d have to repeat?
A picnic in the park or by the beach surrounded by my family and friends with yummy food, music, art supplies…and my dog, Yoda.
Congrats on your role in the new Shonda Rhimes show, Still Star Crossed. Can you tell us about your character?
I play Princess Isabella of Verona, Prince Escalus’s sister. She’s strong-willed, intelligent, and opinionated. Isabella plays the right-hand woman to her brother, although some may say she’s more fit to rule…
You’ve been in ShondaLand for a while since your appearance on The Catch. Now that you’re a series regular in Still Star Crossed, what is it like to work with the genius Shonda Rhimes? Were you familiar with her work beforehand?
Before my recurring role on The Catch, I was already watching some Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Shonda Rhimes is a great producer, and it is truly an honor to work with such an inspiring woman.
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Medalion Rahimi Joins ShondaLand in ‘Still Star Crossed’. Photographed by Lionel Deluy

Actor Jay Hayden Joins #TGIT on ‘The Catch’


“My agent said the words ‘Shondaland’ and ‘Mireille Enos,’” recalls Jay Hayden, the handsome star of Shonda Rhimes’s latest hit show The Catch. “I then replied, ‘Where and when?’”

Although he grew up with a normal family in New England, Hayden’s life in show business was set in motion from an early age. “You know,” he says, “I was a totally normal kid who probably would have grown into a totally normal adult, but my cousins and sisters decided that we needed to be a lip syncing cover band that performed at all the family’s get-togethers. So I, the 5-year-old, was forced to be the lead singer of The Basics while my 10-year-old cousins and sisters played fake bass, drums, and guitar. Judging by the VHS tapes, I was always interested in entertaining… and my own boogers.”
Since living in LA, Hayden’s credits have moved beyond the confining lead roles of home videos, through an array of smaller spots in various TV shows and movies, and into center stage this spring with his role on ABC’s newest member of #TGIT.
“I play Danny, Alice’s investigative partner in the field,” Hayden explains. “Danny is a mischievous, irreverent, girl-crazy PI—fiercely loyal to Alice and Valerie—who’s not at all squeamish about breaking the law, if it helps AVI solve a case and help a client.”
Premiering at midseason, The Catch’s freshman run will debut with 10 episodes, which means a lot of room for character development. Having dipped his toes in both the TV and movie pool, Hayden dissects the experience of the two mediums and the excitement that comes from the unknown aspects of a series.
“In film, you get a full and complete script, most of the time,” he says. “You know where the character and the story are going, what will be learned, lost, loved, and how it all ends. In TV, you don’t always know what’s next for your character; scripts and storylines change as a show evolves.”
And, if that’s not enough to be excited about, Hayden’s also gearing up to start the promotional junkets for his film Undrafted, which is slated for release in July. Starring alongside Joe Mazzello, Chace Crawford, and Aaron Tveit, the film centers around group of misfit teammates from an intramural baseball team.
“I was very lucky to work with them,” he says of his co-stars, a group that he describes as hilarious. “You’ll love the movie. Unless you don’t like to laugh or be entertained… then you’ll hate it.”
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Actor Jay Hayden Joins #TGIT on ‘The Catch’: Photographed by Marc Cartwright

The Series Premiere of ABC’s The Catch


Imagine that you have met the perfect guy. He is funny, smart, and witty. He loves art, cars, and you. He is a very handsome man who looks great in a suit and he worships the ground you walk on. When you first started dating, he took you to museums and showed you a world you weren’t used to, and that is part of the reason you fell for him. However, one day that all comes crashing down when this man, your fiancée, runs off  with your entire life savings and everything you owned in your shared apartment.
The Catch stars Mireille Enos as Alice Graham, a private investigator who is tough as nails in her career, and is one of the best at catching the bad guy. In fact, the show opens with Graham busting a perp at a museum. We meet Peter Krause’s Christopher Hall conning Enos without her knowledge. He is the big con man, Mr. X, whom she has been after for a year. While Graham is busy planning the wedding that she isn’t quite excited about, she states that she wants to be married, but doesn’t want the big fuss. Krause and his team are planning to take all of her money and remove every trace of his existence from her life after he leaves for work in the morning. It is clear pretty early on that he is struggling with the decision to con her because he has fallen in love with her. After pleading unsuccessfully for her to elope with him, Krause ends up going through with the plan, emptying out all of evidence of himself from the house and his work office. Graham is rightfully upset, quickly realizing that the man she loved, Christopher Hall, doesn’t exist. She finds herself replaying the moments of their year-long relationship, trying to figure out the signs she missed.
Somewhere unbeknownst to the viewer, Krause is sitting comfortably with his faux secretary assuring her that he took everything from Graham, directed with the close-ups that ‘Shondaland’ is known for, full of emotion and grit. Graham works tirelessly to find any and all clues that may lead her to where Mr. X/Christopher may be. She comes in contact with an FBI agent, Jules Dao (Jacky Ido), who is looking for Mr. X, too.  She tracks Mr. X to an unveiling of a technology  that will generate billions of dollars. The unveiling of technology is by one of Graham’s firm’s biggest clients, Seth Hamilton, and Mr. X/Christopher is using the clientele and information that he stole from Graham’s firm to become one of the clients and pretend to be them so that Hamilton will give him the money in the name of investment.
Mireille Enos of The Killing fame pretty much carries the entire hour-long pilot on her shoulders. She is believable and creates sympathy right off the bat, and keeps the audience rooting for her from start to finish. There is a naïveté in her portrayal of Alice Graham that works in the same way that Kerry Washington’s emotional Olivia Pope works and it is a joy to watch. The premise of the show is great, but in many ways, the pilot falls flat.  Peter Krause of The Parenthood fame shines when he is on con missions, but reads dry and emotionless in scenes with Enos, even when he shows doubt about conning her, when he is supposed to portray that his character genuinely loves her despite the fact that he is not supposed to. This flat portrayal is shocking because of his amazing turn as Adam Braverman on the aforementioned Parenthood. As far as chemistry goes, there is a spark there, so close you can see it, but it did not reach its full potential in tonight’s first episode. As we always say, you can’t judge a show entirely by its pilot, so we will be watching again next week with the hope that it will be better and  to see what else unfolds in the Shondaland world.
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The Series Premiere of ABC’S The Catch: photo courtesy of ABC