Interview: Bellamy Young, Pt. 1
BY CINDY ELAVSKY
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Like many actors, Bellamy Young
got her first big break in television
on a soap opera – “Another World,”
to be exact. From 1994 to 1995 she
played Dr. Courtney Evans, and
since then it’s been full speed ahead
and no looking back. You might
recognize her from her scores of
guest-starring roles, on shows such
as “The X-Files,” “Cold Case,”
“Castle,” “Private Practice,”
“Criminal Minds” and “Franklin &
But it’s her role as first lady
Mellie Grant on ABC’s breakout hit
“Scandal” that really has people
talking. Mellie is a no-holds-barred,
eye-on-the-prize kind of gal, and
that prize is retaining her position in
the White House (and in President
Grant’s life), no matter what it
takes. I spoke with Bellamy recently
about her role and the show, and
was thrilled to discover she is pretty
much the opposite of her scary
Daytime Dial: When I first heard
about “Scandal,” and the fact that it
was created by and is written and
produced by Shonda Rhimes, I
knew I’d be in for a treat. What did
you think when you first auditioned
for the role?
Bellamy Young: I was overwhelmed.
It was probably two years
ago and I was reading all the pilots
for that year, and this was fathoms
above the others. Shonda just
understands people. She just knows
how to hook your heart. She gets
your brain but she hooks your heart.
She can pull you through a narrative,
and this one is so intense.
For the audition, I did what I
never do, which is I bought an outfit
especially for Mellie. I went in and
I had two lines and I was just so
happy for them to let me do
two lines in this piece that I
thought was so beautiful.
Then I got the part, and they
suddenly just started writing
the most incredible story line
for my character, and they made me
a regular. I just couldn’t be any happier.
DD: How about that Mellie? She
is quite a character to play.
BY: And you know what? I don’t
think Mellie is necessarily wrong.
She’s always got the country’s best
interest at heart, and she always has
a very strong rationale behind her
decisions and her actions. She just
isn’t patiently waiting for everyone
to catch up to her genius.
DD: Speaking of genius, how is it
working with Shonda Rhimes?
BY: Shonda’s awful special
because she sees people, not packages.
So race and gender and sexuality
are all sort of arbitrary to her
and to the integrity of the character.
Linda Lowy casts everything for
Shonda and there are no words to
explain how amazing Linda is at her
So I knew that they would, from
this incredible script, attract the best
people in town, and then just keep
writing surprising story lines for
For me personally, the office of
first lady is so fascinating, and
throughout the political history of
our country, it’s been where you can
see the most visible change,
because gender roles have changed
so much. I knew it would be a fertile
ground to explore if given the
chance. And it has proved to be
beyond my wildest imagination in
Every character on the show is so
nuanced and complex. No one is all
right; no one is all wrong. No one is
all good; no one is all bad. Humans
are flawed, so it gets interesting
when you bump up against other
smart, flawed humans.
did what I
– Bellamy Young
Photo Credit: Courtesy