Midori Francis may not literally be cutting into people as a surgical intern at Grey Sloan, but joining the cast of TV’s longest-running medical drama Grey’s Anatomy comes with its own (less bloody) intensity — and its own set of mentors. “Chandra Wilson was like, ‘What do you want to leave behind? When people see your name is on the call sheet, how do you want them to feel?’” Francis tells Bustle of her new co-star’s Miranda Bailey-esque advice.
As part of the all-new intern class joining Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 on Oct. 6, Francis’ character, Mika Yasuda, plays an integral part in bringing some much-needed new blood to the show amid star Ellen Pompeo’s reduced role due to scheduling conflicts.
As Grey’s prepares for a new era, 28-year-old Francis is entering her own. After living in New York for her entire professional career, she’s officially moved to Los Angeles — though she’s “not thrilled” about the prospect of a warm Halloween — and bought her first-ever car. She named it Yoko — as in, Yoko Ono, whom she’s been listening to lately. (Her song recommendations? “Revelations” and “Yes, I’m A Witch.”) If you know your Liberty Mutual commercials — or watched TV in 2015 — you may remember Francis having a strong emotional attachment to a car by a different name: Brad. “I will say, I’m very grateful for [that commercial] because it got me through a lot of years of auditioning and trying to sustain myself as an actor,” she says.
Today, Francis is nothing short of extremely booked. 2020 saw her play half of the titular duo in Netflix’s holiday rom-com Dash & Lily, and last year, she starred in the higher-ed ensemble series The Sex Lives of College Girls. Francis confirms that her character, Alicia, will be back for Season 2. “It was like a big, warm, fuzzy homecoming,” she says of returning to set.
The world of a surgical intern is still brand new to her, however. “On my first day, I was like, ‘Oh, I got this — these are easily sound-out-able,’” Francis says of learning her lines with medical jargon. “And I said something like ‘sty-lit,’ but it’s actually ‘sty-let.’ I didn’t realize until afterward.” Fortunately, Wilson supplied the new cast with handy rhymes to memorize the new vocabulary.
While Francis doesn’t know exactly what drama is to come in Season 19 (the first to feature longtime lead Pompeo in a “reduced” capacity), she has high hopes for Mika’s future at Grey Sloan. And when she doubts herself, she simply channels it into her performance. “When I’m nervous, or when the stakes feel high, or when I feel out of my element... all of those feelings are really in sync with what Mika would be feeling [as a new intern],” she says. Perhaps being the newbie is useful after all.
Get to know more about Francis in her Bustle Booth questionnaire below.
In The Bustle Booth
What’s your coffee order?
Recently, it’s been mocha. But right now, I switched to pumpkin spice latte, obviously.
What are the saved weather locations on your phone?
New York, Los Angeles, New Brunswick, Ogden Dunes, New Orleans, Syracuse, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Cupertino, Vancouver, Cape Town, and then I have some aspirational places — like Venice and Japan.
What’s your sign?
Favorite overused movie quote?
“Honey, I shrunk the kids.”
What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?
Barney, as a little kid. That’s why I like purple.
What’s one movie or TV show you’re currently obsessed with?
I’ve got to be completely honest with you, it’s the 8K footage that was just released of the Titanic. It’s some of the most high-tech footage that they have of the Titanic. You can actually see the manufacturer. So I’ve been up late at night looking at it.
Who is your celeb idol?
Sarah Paulson, Sandra Oh, Brené Brown, Oprah Winfrey. Lots of podcasts — I love Unlocking Us and Super Soul Sunday.
If you had to be on a reality TV show, what would it be?
It would be the one where you get to stay in unusual Airbnbs, like an igloo.
Go-to karaoke song?
“Slim Shady” by Eminem.
What’s something that’s inspiring you lately?
Probably the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood, and all the people out there fighting for reproductive rights as health care — which they are.
What is something you would want people to say about you?
That I made them feel happy.