Danielle Savre is the entire embodiment of joy. In the weeks leading up to our interview, I dove into previous podcasts and video interviews that she’s done and was immediately smitten by her positive demeanour.
Now of course this wasn’t new information to me. I’ve been a fan of hers since I started watching Station 19, the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff. She plays a badass firefighter named Maya Bishop and has taken on the title of “queer icon” since.
I hope you enjoy reading our conversation as much as I enjoyed having it!
Elliott: You’ve become a queer icon from playing Maya Bishop. I was wondering if there were any LGBTQ+ icons that you would have seen when you were growing up?
Danielle Savre: Honestly I never had one growing up. I loved female characters that played tougher roles. Demi Moore in GI Jane, Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs, these characters that were tough women in positions of power. Even those you just didn’t see very often. But having LGBTQ characters? I feel like Will and Grace was my first time being like “oh, okay, representation on television…What is that?”
Elliott: Was that something that you would have approached your career with? Because you’ve played a few LGBTQ+ characters over the years.
Danielle: It happened naturally. I really took a lot of pride in playing those characters and bringing them to life. I went into the room playing the character like a real person and not a caricature.
Elliott: I saw the panels that you did with Stefania Spampinato (Dr Carina DeLuca and Maya’s wife) at the conventions this summer. You’re opening up to the fans. What’s it been like to say “okay, I’ll let my guard down a tiny bit”, or “I’ll talk about this”?
Danielle Savre: It’s interesting, when I’m there with the fans it just feels organic. It’s hard to not be honest. They’re sharing their personal stories and their lives with me and like, you know, it just feels the right thing to do. It feels like it’s a conversation with people that I really care about and care about me. And so in the moment, it’s totally organic and doesn’t feel scary at all. I am very much an open book, to a point where I really do feel that like, it’s a responsibility now playing this character and having this fan base to really be as honest with the fans as possible. What I’m putting out there in the world is about being true to yourself, loving yourself for yourself. I can’t say it and then not live it.
Elliott: You also talked about how you were proud of your personal life. I was wondering, what was it like to share that? That was really special.
Danielle: It was in the moment. I trusted them. It just felt like it was time to at least reveal a little bit of my personal life. I wanted to be able to explain that I understand, and I see everyone and I get some of the struggles. Not everyone’s, everyone’s got different struggles and different paths and different journeys, but, I see them and I understand and you’re not alone. We all support each other in this community that we’ve created. So in the moment, it felt like the right thing to do. And after, when it came out, I was getting texts from friends being like, “I’m so proud of you!”
Elliott: I was nervous about this interview because I didn’t want to seem like I was prying. You gotta respect the people that you’re talking to.
Danielle Savre: You were nervous that I wouldn’t want to talk about it?
Elliott: I was nervous that you would feel like I was invading your personal space. I didn’t want to do that because I’m such a big fan.
Danielle Savre: Thank you for saying that. Other people have asked in interviews but for some reason, I looked at the magazine and I looked at other stuff that you’ve done and there’s something about it that feels right. I knew going in that we were going to have some personal conversations. I can provide some intel on what’s going on but I’m still figuring life out.
Elliott: That’s the beauty of it right? I don’t think that journey is ever going to stop. It’s going to keep evolving and I think the more honest conversations we have because you know, as you said, you’re a public figure right, but you’re the same as me. You’re a human being.
Danielle: I definitely agree. I love showing my evolution as I grow as a person, like you said, you saw when I initially wouldn’t answer a question to then being honest and answering something. There are a couple of things that I remembered when you mentioned “being a public figure” – it’s not even just the fear of being scared of being accepted or loved or embraced by the actual Marina community or the Danielle Savre community. I’m taking on the hate and the judgement by people that aren’t part of it. Without fully realising, I’ve already taken it on by playing LGBTQ+ characters. It occurred to me, why should I publicly shy away from my truth? That truth being, if I don’t accept my character, then you’re not going to accept me.
Elliott: How have you dealt with that because unfortunately there are trolls right?
Danielle Savre: Earlier on, it definitely happened more. People were just saying nasty things that they wanted to say. Now you try to be nasty about Marina or Maya, the fan base will go to town. I’m fine with differing opinions and open to conversation but you have to be respectful about it. But also, being in therapy has taught me to have empathy. Because I do know that’s rooted in something that has nothing to do with you or I, or the LGBTQ+ community. That is something that is embedded in them that I hope one day they can figure out but, to have so much hate for a community that is so optimistic and positive and all about love, I’ll never understand where that hate comes from.
Elliott: What’s been your favourite part of this whole journey? Your career has evolved, and you’ve got this huge fan base – you’re beloved (as you should be!) What’s been your favourite part of it?
Danielle: I think, going back to the first question you asked, “did you grow up with representation on television?” I am so proud. An entire audience, an entire generation is gonna get to watch a character like this on television, LGBTQ+ characters in a real relationship, playing a badass woman who is also flawed and still figuring it all out. As you’ve watched me evolve, you’ve watched Maya evolve. I am so grateful to be able to play this character. It’s impacting so many people’s lives. Including my own.
Elliott: You’re amazing. I hope you know that.
Danielle Savre: So are you. You’re very special. You give off an amazing energy. Obviously, you have a huge heart. You’re a great person and you’re manifesting putting it out there and wanting to interview people that you really respect and it’s happening. So I hope that continues to happen for you.
Thank you so much for meeting with me Danielle. I can’t wait for our paths to cross again someday.
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