Actress to Know: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Star Camilla Luddington
When Camilla Luddington’s not saving lives as Dr. Jo Wilson on Grey’s Anatomy, she can be found kicking butt as the voice of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider video game series. Cool doesn’t even begin to describe her acting resume, which also includes parts on True Blood and Californication. But what makes Luddington so darn likeable in real life is her down-to-earth attitude, not to mention the fact she loves Kate Moss and grunge, and is a total fangirl when it comes to her own show. We sat down with the British beauty to talk everything from style icons to George Clooney. Keep reading for our exclusive interview.
Who What Wear: You broke out onto the scene playing Kate Middleton in the Lifetime film William & Kate. Did anything surprise you about the Duchess of Cambridge when preparing for the role?
Camilla Luddington: At the time that I was researching her, she had only done one public interview for her engagement, but then was extremely private. It was interesting to me that I had never even heard her speak except for that one interview. So what I found fascinating is that she was able to keep so private during that time. We didn’t really know too much about her, but I loved that she was kind of a tomboy and was sporty. She’s from the same town as me in England called Berkshire. And she just seemed super down to earth, and that was something that was intriguing. It was that perfect… almost like Disney story of the “ordinary girl” marrying the prince.
WWW: Have you ever been mistaken for Kate in real life?
CL: The only time that kind of happened—and it was set up in a way that I think was the reason it happened—was when we went to England for the press tour. One of the things we got to do just for fun, was they said we’re going to have you guys go on a horse and carriage ride, which you can do anywhere in London. Well, when we did that, we had people take pictures and think we were William and Kate, but I think it was because of the fact that we were in an awesome carriage.
WWW: You’ve joined some great long-standing shows, like Californication, True Blood, and most recently Grey’s Anatomy. What do you find challenging about being the new girl on set?
CL: I think the most intimidating one to join was probably Grey’s Anatomy, because I was a super fan of the show and my first scene was with Ellen Pompeo, and all I could think in my head was, “Oh my God this is Meredith Grey.” So I was having to do my job and work my way through scenes and be professional, and at the same time somehow hide that I’m fangirling, and that was kind of a challenge. But that was the most exciting to join, because I also knew that I was coming on to be Alex Karev’s love interest or “person” as they say on Grey’s Anatomy, and he was an original cast member and I loved his character. It was kind of exciting to know that they were going to spend all season teasing this romance. It’s almost challenging being a fan, too, because then you fee like, “Oh I don’t want to be that character that everyone hates.” There’s an investment there that, as a viewer, you feel coming onto a show like that.
WWW: Quick: George Clooney as ER’s Dr. Ross or Patrick Dempsey as Dr. Shepherd?
CL: Oh man, that’s tough. It’s kind of a Sophie’s choice. I think that I would probably pick… I mean McDreamy has the hair and then George Clooney has the smile; they both have that magical element. If there was some sort of situation where I could marry them both, I think that would be the way to go. I’m going to be selfish and say both.
WWW: Let’s talk fashion. What item is currently on heavy rotation in your wardrobe?
CL: I have a new Isabel Marant jacket, a black one (similar style). Even though it’s like 100 degrees in L.A., I’ve been throwing it on. My friend was like, “Why are you wearing that? You are clearly too hot.” That is my obsession right now, jackets. You know we don’t really have seasons in L.A., so I feel like you sort of have to make your own season and wear it even when it’s 80 degrees out, or just kind of throw it over your shoulders. But yes, it’s clearly way too hot right now.
WWW: Who are your style icons?
CL: Growing up, Kate Moss was someone who was a big inspiration. I think my first girl crush was Winona Ryder and her ‘90s sort of grunge-y fashion—oh my God, I was just obsessed. And now I think Alexa Chung and Sienna Miller, those are the girls I find very inspiring as fashion icons. There is something so effortless about their style, which I think is what you always hope to go for.
WWW: How would you describe your own style?
CL: My go-to when I’m sort of casual just running errands is grunge, like you’ll find me in combat boots and plaids shirts and ripped jeans. For me, that’s a go-to comfortable style, and then when I want to make an effort, I’ll wear a dress or heels.
WWW: You’re now living in Los Angeles. What do you lost most about the city?
CL: I never lived anywhere close to the beach when I was in England, and it still blows my mind that I can jump in my car and literally 30 minutes later be by the ocean. I’m still almost giddy over that, so I think that’s the thing I love about Los Angeles more than anything. Now when I picture my future, I can’t imagine living in a place that isn’t close to the ocean. So it’s sort of changed the way I feel about where I want to setup a home, and definitely there’s something being by the ocean that is kind of incredible.
WWW: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
CL: Actually, I don’t think that most people know that I’m English. I still get literally every day: “Oh my God, you’re English?” Or, I don’t think a lot of people know that I play Lara Croft in a video game, unless they are a gamer, in which case they probably know. Otherwise, just a stupid thing people might not know is that I hate drinking water. I feel like I have to have like five crystal lights in it before I can even bring myself to drink it. It’s just boring. Like even in the morning, I have to mix half juice and half water. It’s a really bad habit, and I know it is. I read these blogs that say you have to drink it, but to me, it’s like eye roll.
WWW: Speaking of voicing Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider video game series, are you a gamer yourself?
CL: Well, this is a tricky question, because in order to say that you are gamer, I do believe you have to have some sort of skill, and I have zero skill. So I would say yes and no, in that I’m absolutely a fan of video games. I do attempt to play them, and I have even more of a respect for them now that I understand the process, and how difficult and how long it takes. I mean, the first Tomb Radar game took three years to shoot, so it’s a long process. I’m kind of good at Sonic the Hedgehog, which is the first game I ever played, and I can definitely get kind of far in it. Even in my own game, I’m really bad at it. I know where she needs to go and I know whom she needs to kill, but I just cannot do it.
WWW: What’s it like shooting a video game versus working on a television show?
CL: I joke all the time that for my day job I save peoples lives and at night I kill people. There is something so fun about playing a heroine in a video game, which there aren’t really many of, and in these games they go back and tell her origin story, so it’s interesting to see that character arc and that transformation from a normal 21- or 22-year-old to becoming this amazing action hero. I think the fact that you get to kick butt as a female, it’s always a fun opportunity and I wish there were more like that out there.
WWW: If you could spend the day in someone else’s shoes, who would it be?
CL: Maybe Shonda Rhimes. I don’t know how she runs three shows. I really cannot wrap my head around that, so I would love to know about she does it.
WWW: What’s your TV guilty pleasure?
CL: The Bachelor. I’m completely obsessed. I feel emotionally involved every season. I feel like I’m also dating him, I feel like I deserve a rose. Like already I’m talking about The Bachelorette and the fact that there are two, and I totally love Britt. I’m looking for her pinky lipstick she was wearing—I don't know where she got it from, but I want it. That is my obsession.
WWW: What song is currently on repeat?
CL: “Budapest” by George Ezra. My friend’s are like, “please, please stop playing this.” Because when I say repeat, I actually mean on repeat for like two hours.
WWW: What are you reading?
CL: The brand new script of Grey’s Anatomy. This season is so crazy, I don’t even want to tease anything because I don’t want fans to even try to get ideas of what’s going to happen. But this season is blowing my mind. And everyone will understand by the end of it.
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