When Sarah Drew was asked to join the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” as the Christian Dr. April Kepner, she wanted to make sure her religious character would be portrayed fairly and not as a “judgy Christian” often seen in television.
“I think in the media, Christians are the butt of every joke or they are portrayed running around condemning everyone to hell,” Drew told FOX411. But when she joined the “Grey’s” cast, writer “Shonda [Rhimes] came to me and said you know a lot about this and to tell [April’s] story authentically, we need your input.’”
Drew said her character was not initially intended to be a Christian character, but as soon as the writers met Drew, they were inspired by to turn April into an “authentic Christian.”
“For April, the first thing that was revealed was she was a virgin,” explained Drew. “I waited until I was married to have sex so I understood April’s motivations. The writers thought it would be a really cool and interesting story to tell that isn’t seen too often.”
Portraying April, a character similar to Drew in real life, was a way for the actress to give a new kind of voice for Christians in today’s culture.
“I know in our mainstream culture, the loudest voices and the most shocking voices are the ones that get the noise,” she said. “But the problem is, people think that's how all Christians behave if they don't know any Christians.”
Drew said she is only playing one specific Christian in April and is in no way a “spokesperson for all Christians.”
“April’s human and she’s going to make mistakes and fail, but I want to be very clear that I’m not trying to get on a soapbox and tell people how to behave.”
“The reason I love Jesus because he’s a really good guy,” she said. “He’s completely opposed to running around and judging people. I want to be able to show someone who thinks deeply and cares for people and actually tries to live out who Jesus. That's what I try to do in my daily life.”
One person who is not immune to judgment is Drew herself. The “Moms’ Night Out” star is constantly battling her desire to be more successful while staying grounded and true to herself and her faith.
“My deepest challenge has been an internal one,” Drew revealed. “It's allowing success to take over by focusing on how many Twitter followers I have, or what people are saying about me online, or just feeling like no matter how much success I get it’s not enough.”
When she feels the jealously of her peers or the desire for more success start to come on, Drew turns to God for guidance.
“I ask God to remind me what I’m doing here on this planet,” she said. “For Him to take the chains off and remind me that my identify is not based on how many awards I win or positive reviews I receive. I’m already made as a masterpiece by the Creator of the universe. That is my hardest thing and I think that anybody would find that struggle in any profession."
Despite these struggles, Drew knows she has found her calling in the world of entertainment. The actress feels blessed for her role on “Grey’s Anatomy” and for her upcoming family-friendly film “Moms’ Night Out.”
“Before I can remember, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is my dream,” Drew told FOX411. “And this is what I had been gifted with by God to do.”
Faith & Fame is a regular column exploring how a strong belief system helps some performers navigate the pitfalls of the entertainment industry.
You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.