Sara Ramirez is One Smooth Operator

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Sara Ramirez is One Smooth Operator
is slightly mortified.

A bus showcasing her image alongside 10 other Grey's Anatomy cast members on a massive promotional poster has just pulled up on the street outside a cafe.

"Oh my God. That is so weird," she cringes.

After the initial shock wears off, she smiles, pleased with the photo.

"For one of the first times, I'm looking at myself going, 'Yeah, I'm OK with that,'" she told USA Today.

Ramirez, 31, should be pleased. After an eight-episode run last season, she's a Grey's Anatomy regular.

And while the other female doctors on TV's hottest medical drama are busy breaking hearts, Ramirez is mending broken bones... as orthopedic surgeon Callie Torres. Soon after she accepted the role, Ramirez made the most of the twisted ankle and torn ligaments she received on stage playing Lady of the Lake in Broadway's Spamalot.

Her orthopedic surgeon let her observe operations.

"I was watching surgeries where they opened up knees and shoulders, taking pictures with my phone," Ramirez said.

The actress, who hails from Mazatlan, Mexico, is no stranger to blood and guts. She's a fan of TV shows about medical procedures and grew up with an oceanographer father who brought her with him to labs.

"I was always around rows of crazy jars that smelled like weird fermenting things from beneath the sea," she said.

Ramirez's parents divorced when she was eight. Her father moved to Miami, and her mother, a former actress / singer, relocated to San Diego, where she enrolled Ramirez in a school for the performing arts.

Like Callie, who at one point was living in the hospital basement, Ramirez has resided in less than luxurious digs. During her 12 years on and off Broadway, Ramirez had several humbling living experiences in New York.

"I ended up renting a room (from) a really eccentric couple," she said. "Then there was a woman who kept every room piled up with clothes and dirty stuff. I found things missing. But it taught me I can live with less."

For now, she's renting a house in Los Angeles.

"If I was to put my money down on a house, I don't know that I'd have much left. I don't know if this job's going to last. But if the show keeps me around for a little while, I'd like to settle down. I'm kind of in that nesting phase," she said.

Ramirez has a boyfriend but prefers talking about her on-screen romance with self-deprecating softie George O'Malley (T.R. Knight).

In tonight's episode, it's make-or-break time for the couple. But Ramirez says the characters are suited for each other.

"She gives him strength, and he gives her sensitivity."

Sara Ramirez is One Smooth Operator 1

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Lexie: [narrating] Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone.
Mark: It isn't just death we have to grieve. It's life. It's loss. It's change.
Alex: And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime.
Izzie: That's how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can't breathe, that's how you survive.
Derek: By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, you won't feel this way. It won't hurt this much.
Bailey: Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way.
Owen: So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty.
Meredith: The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can't control it.
Arizona: The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes.
Callie: And let it go when we can.
Meredith: The very worst part is that the minute you think you're past it, it starts all over again.
Cristina: And always, every time, it takes your breath away.
Meredith: There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five.
Alex: Denial.
Derek: Anger.
Bailey: Bargaining.
Lexie: Depression.
Richard: Acceptance.

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.