Danielle Savre started acting when she was 7 years old. At 12, she began auditioning for film and T.V. roles and by 15, she was all in on acting. “Once I booked the recurring role of Callie on the WB show Summerland, I never looked back,” she tells us.
Savre, now 34, stars as Maya Bishop on ABC’s Station 19. Six seasons in, she says it’s her favorite role yet. “I’ve grown as a person, an actor and a director throughout these six seasons and I can’t wait to see how it all continues to evolve for seasons to come.”
Ahead, Savre discusses how she navigates the physically and emotionally demanding role, how she relates to Maya’s journey, her evolution as an actor and director on the show, and, of course, all-things beauty and skin care.
Station 19 is a physically demanding show. How do you stay in shape and maintain your physical health while filming?
It is very physically demanding but so much fun. I grew up with very active parents. My mother got me into any sport or activity I wanted to try out as a kid—figure skating, gymnastics, horseback riding, tennis, dance, you name it. My dad tried his best to get his two girls—me and my sister—into softball, basketball or soccer. I fell in love with soccer and running. That athletic background mixed with the fact that I love to workout is what keeps me in shape and able to carry the 120 pounds of gear that playing a firefighter entails. However, as I have gotten older, I have also had to prioritize preventative care. I have to rest, stretch and fit in a massage when I can to make sure I don’t injure myself while lifting the gear during the 12-hour days on set.
The show also has some serious grit to it. How do you unwind after filming intense scenes? Any wellness rituals?
It really does! From the intensity of epic adrenaline-pumping rescues to deep, emotional character breakdowns, the mental toll is actually more intense and lasting than the physical toll. For the emotionally taxing scenes, which my character has a ton of this season, it’s about finding things to lift my spirits. A nice dinner with friends or a funny film. Making sure I am getting enough sleep is essential. I also find an infrared sauna session while meditating to be both great for my mind and body. And treating myself to some See’s Candy never hurts.
How has Maya evolved over the course of the show, and how have you related to her journey?
She has had such a diverse and rewarding arc so far. Every season it is as if she reveals a new layer of herself, which has a tendency of unveiling some of her demons. The audience gets to see her face those demons and we hope redeem herself from her faults and come out a better person on the other side of it all. It’s been a blast to unravel all the little intricacies of what makes her tick, holding herself accountable and learning from her mistakes.
I feel Maya has even inspired me to admit my faults, to embrace feeling vulnerable in the pursuit of my own happiness. And that vulnerability is not a weakness. At this current moment she struggles with how to balance her career and her marriage. I, myself, have worked for quite some time now and work has always been my priority. Now, like Maya, I am also working on balancing my personal life with my work life. It’s never easy but I believe those boundaries are essential for your wellbeing and I believe Maya is finally coming to that realization as well.
Crossover episodes with Grey’s Anatomy must be fun to shoot. What’s that like on set?
It is so much fun! It feels like the holidays where you get to catch up with everyone you don’t see all the time. Stories are shared, laughing ensues and new memories are made. It just feels like we are one really big fun, happy family.
You’ve had a successful career in acting. What’s been your favorite project to work on and why?
Hands down Station 19. I’ve been lucky enough to play such a dynamic character for six seasons! It’s a gift that I don’t take for granted. As an actor I am constantly challenged in the most rewarding ways. I have gotten the opportunity to live with our family of cast and crew for all these years. I’ve been given the opportunity to have my television directorial debut this season of the show and I can’t wait to direct many many more. I’ve grown as a person, an actor and a director throughout these six seasons and I can’t wait to see how it all continues to evolve for seasons to come.
How do you choose the roles you take on, and what draws you to a particular character or story? Which have you related to the most?
I have and want to continue to represent women’s stories that haven’t been told or just haven’t been told enough.
I gravitate towards strong female roles and roles that lack representation. For example, women in male dominated work forces, women being badasses and female superheroes but also women under the pressures of, well, being a woman. The balancing act of what is expected of us vs. what we want. Taking on characters that don’t fit traditional norms of what a woman or even a family looks like or playing a woman who wants to have it all and accomplishes that. Or does she? What sacrifices does she have to make? I have and want to continue to represent women’s stories that haven’t been told or just haven’t been told enough. Early in my career I played so many characters that were either the object of desire or the victim—and it didn’t fulfill me. If I’m going to use my talent to bring a character to life I want her to have a positive effect on the world we live in. As for the stories, I want to be telling stories about women in history; the stories we haven’t heard even though they exist. It infuriates me that they aren’t being told. But I believe that is changing and I’m happy to be a part of that change.
You share so many stunning glam looks on your social. Any favorite beauty products?
I do love getting glammed up and showing I can play an unglamorous firefighter during the week and indulge in my love of fashion, makeup and hair artistry on the weekend. Elizabeth Arden’s Grand Entrance Mascara and Kosas Eyebrow Gel are essentials. I lean towards more natural products like Saie for foundation. I love Too Faced Matte Chocolate Bronzer, Nudestix matte blush, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Liner and Lipstick. As for a lip gloss I just discovered Laneige Berry Lip Balm! It’s not sticky but it has a density to it that keeps my lips shiny. I play around with eyeshadow but Urban Decay’s Naked Heat eyeshadow palette seems to always be my default.
As for a facial routine, I love Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cleanser, Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner and Shiseido Wrinkle Smoothing Contour Serum and Wrinkle Smoothing Cream. The cream tends to be a little thick but on a dry California day my skin needs it. I also love the Shiseido Pure Retinol Eye Mask. That all being said, I love experimenting and discovering new products. I love that Sephora allows me the opportunity to test out a product and return it if my skin doesn’t love a certain serum or a mascara leaks under my eyes too easily.
As for hair, I am a dry shampoo addict. I use Amika and it is amazing! I have blonde fine hair but I have a lot of it and that product just instantly brings my hair to life when it starts to get oily. It doesn’t hurt that the smell is fantastic!
Can you share your daily skin-care routine?
The majority of the time I use the products I already listed every day and night. Depending on the weather I can switch up the lotion if I am going for something lighter I use Osea’s Anti-Aging Serum paired with its Blemish Balm or Sisley’s Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream. I also love a great eye cream like Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Eye Gel or Sisley’s Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid. I love to take the time for a little face steam with some added lavender or eucalyptus. I used to achieve that by just boiling a pot of water and putting a towel over my head for about 3 minutes. I finally splurged and got the Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer. Laser Genesis is something I recently started at the Kate Somerville in LA and I’m in love with the results so far. But just pampering my skin is a nice self-care routine that brightens my mood and gives me confidence.
This could be a silly question but is that real smoke on set? What are some of your go-to beauty products for maintaining healthy skin?
Not silly at all!! And I’m glad you can’t tell—that means it all looks real and our VFX team is killing it as usual. For safety reasons, no real fire is used on the show. There are just smoke machines similar to the ones you may see at a Halloween haunted house that are possible because of water and a glycol-based fluid. In post-production the VFX team enhances and adds a smoke effect to that to bring it to the level that makes sense for the scene. It’s all just a little movie magic.
Following my facial routine day and night is key. But also hydration! I have my 32 oz Hydroflask and I try to drink at least three of those a day. My skin instantly starts to look dull when I am lacking on my hydration. So to protect against the daily pollutants, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
How does your beauty routine differ on set versus your daily life?
The products used for camera are very different and they are catered to what my makeup artist likes to work with. But we both make sure they are products my face can handle day after day and not get irritated or clogged. Luckily I’m not having to pile on a bunch of makeup everyday to play a firefighter. That really helps a lot.
You’ve traveled to many different locations for both work and pleasure. What has been your favorite destination?
I am so grateful to have traveled to as many places as I have and that is such a difficult question to answer. The Maldives felt like heaven on earth with the most beautiful sunsets and the clearest blue waters. Scotland was vast and almost prehistoric with its huge mountains all covered in green. Whereas Iceland was stark white in winter but at its edges were black sand beaches and immense glaciers. It was desolate yet stunning and showcased the magnitude of Mother Nature’s capabilities. Going on safari and seeing animals in their natural habitat in Kruger National Park was life-altering, as was witnessing the work that CARE was doing in the small villages in Zambia and meeting the men, women and children in those communities. Trekking through Europe always feels like an invaluable history lesson. And exploring the wonderful cities and National Parks of the United States by RV reminded me how diverse and beautiful my own country is. With all that travel I still have so much more to see. But I have to say the place that feels like home every time I go is northern Montana.
Season 6 is coming to a close. What can fans expect from the upcoming season of Station 19?
We will all just have to wait and see what our brilliant room of writers comes up with. But I know whatever it is will continue to be entertainingly inspiring to watch and rewarding to be a part of and I can’t wait!