For nine years, Sarah Drew saved lives as the character Dr. April Kepner on the long-running series Grey’s Anatomy. Typically, actors try to become their characters. In this case, however, Drew’s character became like her. Though not originally in the script, Dr. Kepner was portrayed as a Christian who prayed for her patients. This change allowed Drew’s own beliefs and convictions to have a voice. Although Drew has now left the show, she continues to openly talk about her Christian faith.
The daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Sara Drew knew early on what her true passion was. “I’ve been acting since before I can remember,” she said in an interview with Rebecca Cusey, “It’s the only thing I wanted to do. I think my parents noticed something in me in my kindergarten graduation standing up on stage. And ever since that moment, I’ve been in community theater and plays and everything. I basically felt like this was the trajectory I was on. This was my joy, this was my passion, this was my gift and I’ve pursued it my whole life.”
She majored in drama at the University of Virginia and, after participating in a musical theater summer program, she was noticed by a casting director who began bringing her in for auditions. Only two short months after her college graduation, she booked her first movie. From there, she was cast in the film Radio and in television shows such as Everwood, Private Practice, Castle, Mad Men, and Glee.
During Drew’s whirlwind tour though Hollywood, she noticed that she wasn’t the only Christian in Tinseltown. “I’ve met Christians everywhere I go,” she said, “I’ve met Christians on every set I’ve been on, in the crew, the cast, everywhere. I’ve met producers who are Christians and are producing secular shows.”
Then in 2009, she landed the role of Dr. April Kepner on the show Grey’s Anatomy. Although the character was not intended to be a Christian, the Grey’s Anatomy staff were inspired by Drew and asked for her input in how to turn Kepner into an “authentic” Christian. “I think in the media, Christians are the butt of every joke or they are portrayed running around condemning everyone to hell,” Drew told FOX411, “Shonda [Rhimes, the show’s creator] came to me and said you know a lot about this and to tell [April’s] story authentically, we need your input.’”
“For April, the first thing that was revealed was she was a virgin,” continued Drew. “I waited until I was married to have sex so I understood April’s motivations. The writers thought it would be a really cool and interesting story to tell that isn’t seen too often.”
In an interview with Shannon M. Houston, Drew revealed that the writers also looked to her father to add authenticity to the script. “My Dad is a minister and they called me when they were writing the scene where April and Matthew were going to premarital counseling. They wanted to know what my take was on it,” she continued, “And I said, ‘The last time I was in premarital counseling was 12 years ago, but my Dad does it every year, so give him a call.’ So they called and talked to him, and specific things that he said to them wound up in the script. It was so cool.”
In 2018, Drew left the show. However, Grey’s Anatomy wasn’t the only platform she was given to show her faith. In 2014 she starred in the Christian comedy Mom’s Night Out and, in 2018, she starred in the Christian drama Indivisible.
Although Drew has already had an immense amount of success in Hollywood, she admittingly has encountered personal struggles. “My deepest challenge has been an internal one,” Drew revealed to FOX411. “It’s allowing success to take over by focusing on how many Twitter followers I have, or what people are saying about me online, or just feeling like no matter how much success I get it’s not enough.”
Of course, as a Christian, Drew is able to seek help from the Lord. “I ask God to remind me what I’m doing here on this planet,” she said. “For Him to take the chains off and remind me that my identify is not based on how many awards I win or positive reviews I receive. I’m already made as a masterpiece by the Creator of the universe.”
Sarah Drew’s favorite Bible verse: Psalm 139