Magazine article Variety

Jaina Lee Ortiz 'I Feel like a Natural Superhero'

Magazine article Variety

Jaina Lee Ortiz 'I Feel like a Natural Superhero'

Article excerpt

There's a new name to add to the Shondaland Sisterhood: Jaina Lee Ortiz, who stars in "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff "Station 19." Ortiz plays Andrea Herrera, a first responder in the fire department near Seattle Grace hospital of "Grey's Anatomy" fame. She'll make her debut in a two-hour premiere on March 1, introduced first on "Grey's" and then taking center stage in "Station 19," which will run for 10 episodes.

What made you want to take this part?

As soon as they mentioned Shonda Rhimes, they didn't even have to finish the sentence. I said, "I am in; what do I have to do?" When I heard it was a story about eight firefighters, I said, "Well, I've only played bad-ass characters. This is another one to add to the résumé." My roles have been rookie cop, homicide detective, Marine and now a firefighter. So I feel like a natural superhero. I'm playing these strong, tough women on TV, and that's very rare.

What does it mean for you to be a Latina lead on a primetime show?

I can count on one hand how many Latinas are the leads on any show right now, besides Gina Rodriguez, Justina Machado and Jennifer Lopez. It's very empowering. Growing up, I didn't see a lot of Latinas on TV and they had the role of the maid or the pregnant teenager or the mistress. …

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