Chyler Leigh is Lexie Grey on Grey’s Anatomy. Leigh gives us a call in advance of the huge Grey’s May 14 season finale.
Leigh was born in North Carolina and then raised on two beaches: Virginia Beach and Miami Beach. Her career began as a model at age 12 and by 16 Leigh had completed pilots for major networks including ABC’s Wilder Days.
The spoof film Not Another Teen Movie was her first big break in Hollywood in 2001. After a few shows that barely got out of the gate — Girls Club and That â€˜80s Show — she landed on David E. Kelley’s The Practice.When Leigh was cast as Grey’s Anatomy’s titular character Meredith’s sister Lexie, the actress had found a hit show worthy of her talents.Leigh has three children and finds the balancing of motherhood and Hollywood more challenging than any acting role. Days after giving birth to her third child, daughter Anniston Kae, May 7, Leigh dishes on life on Grey’s Anatomy — one of television’s biggest hits.
Leigh’s memorable Grey year
SheKnows: As you head into the hiatus, what are some of the most memorable parts of this year’s Grey’s Anatomy season for you?Chyler Leigh: For me, the underground intern (laughs) cutting, I guess, that was a really fun thing to go through. Being an actress, it gave me a chance to have some scenes that were by myself without some of the other regular main cast. To be able to be part of a cool storyline that didn’t necessarily have to involve everybody else, that was cool. It was fun. All the interns and Melissa George, who is just fantastic, we had a really great time playing around. That, and also, for me, learning about the relationship between Mark and Lexie was (laughs) very unexpected. But, it is also very exciting and surprising. I’m looking forward to seeing where that is going to go too.SheKnows: How has the reaction been for you joining a show with such an intensely loyal following?
Chyler Leigh: Right! (Laughs)
SheKnows: For you as an actress, having that passionate fan base has got to feel amazing heading into work everyday.Chyler Leigh: It’s fantastic. To have a drive like that that causes you to care that much more knowing there are so many people that you’re kind of living up to an expectation or standard that they have — it drives you to do a better job and enjoy what you do for the sake of fans and for people who appreciate good TV. It definitely pushes you to do better and be better.SheKnows: Many shows when they hit that fifth season and 100th episode, they really get their legs going and I think Grey’s Anatomy is one of those shows. How is it on the set to feel part of a show that is hit history really with 100 episodes? It’s so rare.
Chyler’s career pinnacle
Chyler Leigh: The rarity in and of itself is such an incredible thing to be a part of. For me personally, in my experience from my career so far, this is the first time being part of a show that got past 13 episodes (laughs). For me, this is landmark. This is huge (laughs) — even though I haven’t been there from the beginning, that doesn’t even matter. To me, to be part of something that is so well done and well established and to have so many actors on set who genuinely care about what they’re doing and care about their characters and work as hard as everybody does, to still be doing that an being appreciated and grateful, is such a gift. It is definitely very special to me to be a part of it.SheKnows: In the May 7 100th episode, many people may have expected one thing and got another — that’s what so great about this show is the surprises. Now, for you preparing for some of these great plot twists, how far in advance do you get the scripts? And how tight are they able to keep security because plot points at Grey’s Anatomy barely ever leak?
Chyler Leigh: That’s been getting increasingly more difficult as far as plotlines being spilled — or, even rumored plotlines being spilled. That’s been happening increasingly more towards the end of this season. The script that you get, you basically get a handcuff to hold the script (laughs). You cannot let it go anywhere! That’s been a bit challenge, but we certainly get much notice at all as far as when we get the scripts. It’s like days before we start an episode. Unless there’s a huge, major plotline that we need to be preparing for, we’re finding it out a couple days before we film. We don’t get much warning.