Model Diaries: Camilla Luddington
Known primarily for her role on Grey’s Anatomy, as Dr. Jo Karev (formerly Dr. Jo Wilson), Grey’s Anatomy, which just surpassed ER as the longest-running medical drama. Camilla has negotiated a life for herself that can somehow happily accommodate her long standing role on the hit ABC TV series as well as her biggest role as being a mother. She is passionate about both. I first met Camilla 7 years ago at another photoshoot just when she rose to stardom and have loved watched her evolve and grow into her many new roles. She is as open and funny as she is down-to-earth and radiantly beautiful. We had the opportunity to sit down with Camilla after this month’s cover photoshoot, and this is what we learned.
Modeliste: We first met your Grey’s Anatomy character, Dr. Jo Wilson (now Dr. Jo Karev) 6 seasons ago, and now with Grey’s Anatomy being the longest running prime time medical drama, tell us about journey and how you began your acting career.
Camilla: For as long as I can remember I wanted to act. I begged my parents to take me to dance, singing and acting classes on the weekend with the Italia Conti Drama school. From there I auditioned and got my first agent when I was 11. I grew up doing musical theatre and then when I moved to the US I studied for a year at the NYFA. It was finally when I moved to LA I got a visa that enabled me to work and I started auditioning.
Modeliste: How would you describe a typical day on set?
Camilla: Every day is different. We always arrive and head into hair and makeup first, but sometimes what that is exactly depends on where your character storyline stands. For me the last few episodes has meant that grease is added to my hair to reflect Jo not “taking care of herself” and very minimal makeup applied. I wasn’t even allowed to curl my lashes let alone wear mascara. After this we usually head to set to rehearse the scene and soon after shoot. Hours are also different every day. We can work 4 hour days or we can work 16ish hour days.
Modeliste: Can you give us any insight on what’s next for your character?
Camilla: Jo is at a breaking point. I can’t give much away but I can say she hits a fork in her road. A conversation with Meredith helps her decide what to do next.
Modeliste: Where did you grow up?
Camilla: I grew up in Berkshire, England. My family are all still there so I get to go home and visit them as often as possible.
Modeliste: What is one thing you miss the most about your hometown?
Camilla: I miss Christmas in England. It’s just so cosy. Going to London and seeing the Christmas lights, heading to the pub on Christmas Day for a drink. The holiday season makes me homesick.
Modeliste: What do you love most about being an actress?
Camilla: I love taking time to dig deep into other people’s experiences and try to apply them creatively to what a character is going through. I guess we get to constantly still play “make believe”. It always feels exciting even when the material you are doing is emotionally or physically challenging.
Modeliste: What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done in your life?
Camilla: Probably move to Los Angeles (where I only knew one person and was completely broke) and try to succeed in this crazy crazy industry. Ha!
Modeliste: What’s a TV show you would like to make a cameo in?
Camilla: I would have LOVED to be in Game of Thrones. I’m utterly obsessed like the rest of the world. I would have played anything. I would have been totally fine with no lines and dragon stomping on me.
Modeliste: Having recently become a mother of a beautiful daughter, Hayden, how do you think motherhood has changed you? What do you love most about being a mom?
Camilla: Every single day feels purposeful. I think before Hayden I would get to the evening and think, wait what did I actually do today? But with her, every day has a new memory and significance to me. Even when I’m just spending the day in sweatpants with her and we are playing around the house, it feels meaningful. The thing I love the most is having the connection to a human being I’ve never had before. The depth is indescribable. It’s both amazing and terrifying all at once.
Modeliste: Describe your favourite “fan” experience.
Camilla: A couple years after the first tomb raider game came out I was at a restaurant and our server recognized my voice from the games. That was crazy. I think I fangirled out over her as much as she did me!
Modeliste: What is one thing your fans don’t know about you?
Camilla: When I was 5 years old I won a talent show singing “me and little Andy” by Dolly Parton!
Modeslite: What is something on your bucket list that you would love to accomplish in the next 5 years?
Camilla: I would love to run a marathon. My dad has run many and I love running. So hopefully one day we can run one together.
Modeliste: Describe a typical day off for you- how do you like to spend your free time?
Camilla: I spend my free time with my daughter. Right now it means we “wash” her toys a lot. She loves pretending to give them a bubble bath, so we will get a big bowl of water and scrub them in the backyard. It’s actually so cute and fun.
Modeliste: What is your #1 go-to beauty secret?
Camilla: Any kind of under eye patches you put in the fridge. God bless them on the mornings I wake up looking like I haven’t slept in years.
Modeliste: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Camilla: “You are enough.” I think so often we feel like we have to be something else, someone else, look different, fit in etc etc. I really truly hope that Hayden grows up feeling that she is enough. Because she is. We all are.
Modeliste: Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
Camilla: I just did three characters for an episode of Robot Chicken out soon!!!! I had an absolute blast. Way too much fun in the booth recording them. You’ll have to wait and see who I play though.
Modeliste: What do you love most about Modeliste Magazine?
Camilla: I love that you use a female photographer! I realized the day I showed up to shoot that I expected a man to shoot the cover. In my experience more often than not it’s a guy. I love that you use Sarah Krick. She’s beyond talented and made me feel so comfortable which I don’t always feel when doing a photoshoot. She’s awesome.