She had a short stint as a wedding planner on the Fox sitcom Wedding Bells. Now KaDee Strickland is trading stilettos for scrubs as Dr. Charlotte King, the chief of staff at St. Ambrose Hospital on Private Practice.
KaDee Strickland, 31, may clash with her Private Practice co-stars on screen, but unlike her uptight alter ego, she's laid-back as her warm Southern drawl.
The Patterson, Ga., native recently talked to TV Guide about Grey's Anatomy marathons and what she loves most about her latest role.
TV Guide: What attracted you to Private Practice?
KaDee Strickland: Well, the obvious talent of Shonda Rhimes and what she's been able to do with television in terms of developing rich and interesting characters. Frankly, when you sit down with her and she says she's going to write something for you, there's nothing more flattering in the world. To do it and have it be so much fun is just remarkable. It's a dream job!
TV Guide: Did Shonda write Charlotte King with you in mind?
KaDee Strickland: To a degree, one never knows. This stuff is so mysterious the way it all comes to pass when you get a job. I took a meeting with Shonda and I didn't know what show it was for or what the character was. I just knew it was a female doctor. We sat down and just really hit it off. A few weeks later, I got a phone call saying Shonda Rhimes would like to offer you the role of Charlotte King. I was absolutely thrilled. It was the first time I've ever taken a job in my life without seeing the script first. But I knew it would be great. Then she told me she liked me having a Southern accent and I thought, "God, we're going to have so much fun!"
TV Guide: So nobody actually auditioned for this show?
KaDee Strickland: From what I understand, that's kind of the way it went down for everybody. This stuff is very chemical. It either makes sense or it doesn't. I think that's a gift she has with Grey's Anatomy, as a case in point. That ensemble is extraordinarily talented. I've had the good fortune of working with her and being surprised when scripts come in. You never know what to expect. You just know she's excited about it and, when we sit down and do the table readings, we're all excited about it. It's a wonderful process.
KaDee Strickland: Oh, no! I'm not the kind of person who normally would take a contract for a character when I haven't even figured out who I'm going to be bringing home at the end of the day. But there's something about this lady where you just know she's going to give you a gift.
TV Guide: Are you having fun?
KaDee Strickland: Honey, I'm having the time of my life! This cast is a hoot. We sit around and laugh so hard. On Friday night, the cast and crew saw the first episode and you just don't know what's going to end up in there. When I saw it, I was so proud to be part of it because these actors are so good. Have you seen it?
TV Guide: Yes, I did see it and you're pretty tough in that episode....
KaDee Strickland: Me? Well, yeah.... That's why when somebody writes a part for you, you're like, "God, what do I communicate?" She's so smart and intuitive in terms of starting a character in one place and leading them completely to another. Artistically, I think that's something I look forward to. You've seen it with every character on Grey's. They all go through such an incredible journey, especially the ones who start out kind of tough and hard to get to know. When that facade starts breaking down, it's just heaven. I've had some interesting stuff to do so far but I can't wait to see where I go.
TV Guide: What first drew you to Charlotte?
KaDee Strickland: I think there's something to be said for someone who is so hardworking. I like that she has a pretty strong moral code, even if it's different than my own. Playing her is challenging sometimes. I don't necessarily agree with her way of handling people or what she stands for. But I think, at the root of it, people who have that much responsibility at such a young age can get there by accident. I'm going to be taking off my heels before too long, so I like that!
Follow the link to TV Guide to keep reading this KaDee Strickland interview ...