No one, not even show creator Shonda Rhimes, expected Sara Ramirez to leave Grey’s Anatomy at the end of Season 12, but the show has thrived even without Dr. Callie Torres, and Sara has thrived without the role, as well. The 42-year-old actress recently resurfaced on Madam Secretary, but before that, she was enjoying a much-needed break from her TV career. In November, she told Entertainment Weekly leaving Grey’s was “absolutely” the right call.
During that time, she got a rockin’ haircut, buzzing the sides of her head and donating the trimmings to Locks of Love. She devoted time and energy advocating for the LGBTQ population, which she herself publicly joined in October 2016 when she labeled herself a “queer, bisexual, Mexican-Irish American” in a speech at the True Colors 40 to None Summit. And she likely got quality R&R with her husband of five years, Ryan DeBolt.
“It has been a really full year and a half,” Sara told EW. “Taking a step back from the industry has allowed me to take space and get even more clear about things that are important to me.”
Now, however, this Tony winner is getting back into showbiz, but only in roles and contexts that feel right. For example, she’s particularly cognizant of the way bisexual individuals are portrayed. “Stepping back into the entertainment industry is going to be a little different. I think the areas where I don’t feel seen and recognized is in the language used by the media. Especially media that is supposed to be about LGBTQ community, and speaking to LGBTQ community, and for LGBTQ community,” she said at the New York City LGBT Center’s 20th Annual Women’s Event.
“I think that sometimes the areas I don’t feel seen are in the way some characters are written, the way bi plus characters are written about, or the way that bi plus characters are written to be what their behaviors are, what their attitudes are," she added.
Grey’s Anatomy, however, has always respected and normalized its characters’ various sexual and gender identities, Callie’s included. So would Sara consider a reprise of her most famous role? “When [Grey’s creator] Shonda and I last spoke, we agreed to keep the conversations going,” she revealed to EW. “And she knows I’m open to keeping those conversations going.” (Our hopes have a pulse!)