Grey’s Anatomy star Camilla Luddington’s Kiwi obsession

Kiwi hunk Martin Henderson may have left Grey's Anatomy, but his former co-star Camilla Luddington is calling for another New Zealand actor to join the hit series!

Woman's Day sat down with the 34-year-old British beauty in San Diego to talk first-time motherhood, Lara Croft, hospital dramas and our handsome exports.

"We need another Kiwi," Camilla laughs, having starred alongside several of our lads. "It's in my contract that I only work with New Zealanders! That was sad, him leaving."

Camilla brings the good medicine as Jo in Grey's Anatomy.

"I love Martin. Every morning, he would bring his cute dog Sammy into the make-up trailer and I'm such a dog person – it made my morning."

With Martin having left the show after his character Nathan romanced leading lady Meredith (played by Ellen Pompeo) last season, Camilla's now calling for her former co-star Nico Evers-Swindell – cousin of Olympic rowing sisters Caroline and Georgina – to join the show.

"Nico's amazing," gushes Camilla, who also worked alongside "so nice and lovely" local actress Anna Paquin in True Blood. "He just texted recently and he has kids now, so we check in on each other. He's so sweet and I would love to work with him again. Maybe he could be on Grey's – Nico, you're up next!"

Camilla and Kiwi actor Nico Evers-Swindell in the 2011 telemovie William & Kate.

The pair portrayed Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in the 2011 telemovie William & Kate. Playing one of the most-watched couples in the world, Camilla had a blast getting into princess mode, but her most regal memory was away from the set.

"We went to London for press and were so cheesy, riding around on a horse and carriage together. It was one of my favourite press experiences ever because it felt so festive!"

A lot has changed since then, with Camilla appearing in Californication and True Blood, before becoming a fan favourite on Grey's as Dr Jo Wilson. Privately, she's preparing to wed 13 Reasons Why actor Matthew Alan, who is the baby daddy of her daughter Hayden, who was born last year.

Reflecting on juggling work and motherhood, Camilla says it has come with many challenges yet it has also enhanced her work. "It's been easier than I thought in one way and harder in another.

There was a part of me that wondered, 'Am I ever going to be OK leaving her?' It's good for her to grow up seeing the balance in my life and me doing something I love, but at the same time, those long days filming are hard. I can't imagine not being a mum now.

"It's made me a better actress because I feel more vulnerable after having a child. I have different fears and goals, and it has opened a part of me that I didn't know existed, so there's more to pull on. If I have to feel a certain way, I now often think, 'What would I feel if Hayden was going through this?'"

Plus, she has plenty of parenting advice on tap from co-star Ellen, who has three kids with husband Chris Ivery.

"It's been great for me because I saw everyone working and being mums for years before I was, so any questions I had even before I was pregnant,
I would bounce off them and be like, 'How do you do this? How do you travel?'

"We're an extremely supportive cast, always encouraging other mothers, and one of the biggest things I learned from everybody is that sometimes you'll be tired and that's OK. Sometimes you'll screw up. To be able to forgive yourself is important because being a parent is tough and you can be really hard on yourself."

It's not just Grey's keeping her busy – Camilla has been the face of gaming icon Lara Croft for several years. Once again, she provides the voice, facial expressions and moves for the heroine in the latest game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which was released in September.

She's calling for another Kiwi to fill our Martin's shoes.

"It was a game my brother played when I was younger and I played too, but I'll admit I'm terrible," she laughs. "It's more frustrating for me now because I know where she needs to go and can't get there!"

As for what's in store in the current series of Grey's on TVNZ 2, Camilla says writers have dubbed coming episodes the "season of love".

"Jo and Alex are navigating newlywed life together, so we'll see how that affects their dynamic as a couple," she teases. "There will also be crossovers with some characters from Grey's spin-off Station 19."

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