Why Chandra Wilson Had a Second Job During the First Season of Grey's Anatomy

Why Chandra Wilson Had a Second Job During the First Season of Grey's Anatomy
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Chandra Wilson spent the first season of Grey's Anatomy working the graveyard shift.

In an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, Oct. 14, the veteran cast member revealed that when she started playing Dr. Miranda Bailey–a character she has portrayed for all 18 seasons of the medical drama—she had a second job.

"As a working actor out there in New York, you're used to having your bread and butter," Wilson explained to guest host Mario Lopez. "My bread and butter was my job in the document processing department at Bankers Trust at the time, before it became Deutsche Bank. It was long-term temp, and it was perfect because it was overnight and I could still audition and work during the day and make the high-end money."

Wilson continued, "I had an actor friend who said, 'Don't ever put all your eggs in one basket, especially when they call you out here to L.A., because the jobs don't last.' And I had gone through a series before, that we only got six or seven episodes before we were canceled."

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Her experience starring alongside Seinfeld's Jason Alexander in the short-lived comedy show Bob Patterson four years before Grey's Anatomy debuted in 2005, taught her to hold on to her day job. But her gig on the hit ABC series soon began to interfere.

Wilson's acting job on the hit ABC series soon began to interfere with her non-acting gig. "So, it was in season 2 when I came back to do it. As a long-term temp, you just check-in for your availability," she told Lopez. "And so, all season 1, I just kept checking in, saying, 'Oh, I'm not available this weekend.' So, when we got to season 2, my supervisor said, 'Will you stop calling and telling us that you're not available? Because we see you on TV. So, why are you telling us that you're not available?'"

Chandra Wilson, Greys Anatomy
Mike Rosenthal/ABC

Technically she didn't quit, she joked: "Basically, they had to kind of force me out."

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