On one of her recent shows Ellen Degeneres introduced actress Chyler Leigh (Potts) by saying "our next guest overcame some tremendous personal obstacles and now gets to cause all kinds of drama as the newest intern on ABC's hit show - Grey's Anatomy".
A clip of the Grey's Anatomy was shown where Chyler's character, Lexi Grey, was being chastised by Sandra Oh, as Dr. Christina Yang, who insisted upon calling her by the number three. Lexi responded by saying "Lexi, it's Lexi or Grey, it's not three, I have a name."
This particular clip was a great selection since it very clearly demonstrates the spunkiness Chyler brings to her new role as the younger half sister of Meredith Grey played by Ellen Pompeo.
Bringing lots of complications to the show which is now in its fourth year, Chyler (pronounced Chī-ler) definitely turns up the show's drama as well as the hair heat.
In the most recent episode, Lexi, who is a royal pain in Meredith's ass (and who hit on Meredith's guy, Dr. McDreamy), is seen having a fling with Dr. Alex Karev played by Justin Chambers much to the disgust of her step sister. Her hitting on McDreamy and her hook-up with Dr. Karey resulted in Meredith Grey's fans referring her to as McSlutty.
Although the 25 year old actress (Born April 10, 1982 in Charlotte, North Carolina) is considered by some to be relatively unknown, she has been acting since her teens. In fact, over the past 10 years, the up and coming actress has appeared in ten different shows.
Chyler first joined the show in her role as Lexi Grey, Meredith Grey's half-sister and a Seattle Grace intern, for the third season's final two episodes and then snagged a spot as new series regular for season four.
Being selected for Grey's Anatomy, as Ellen commented, "is the hugest show you could possibly be on". Absolutely ture.
Chyler announced she is "very excited about this role and the writing is amazing, the actors are amazing, I couldn't be happier". "It's been incredibly overwhelming, coming into this show - it has such an incredible following".
The actress says the experience of joining the hit show has been a series of pinch-me moments. "I'm still in every moment looking behind myself going: 'Who, me?' I still walk on and before every scene my heart starts pounding, but that's always been the case for me. I use it as a motivator."
Grey's is a classic medical drama with snatches of humor but for Chyler is involves lots of personal drama ranging from meeting her sister for the first time, the recent death of her mother and the drinking problems of her father.
She also has to deal with the trauma of being a first year intern, sleeping with another intern who has a married girlfriend and then dealing with death of her patients. On one of the most recent episodes, before the writer's strike kicked in, Chyler watched a love interest bleed out on her. It was shocking.
Meeting Her Future Husband At An Audition
In her real life Chyler has a different story to tell. She has a dream job on a hit show, a handsome husband that was a Meet Cute as they say in the biz, and two adorable kids. She also overcame addictions during her troubled teen years.
The beautiful former model, talking quickly and energetically on Ellen, shared details about she met her own McDreamy. Dressed beautifully in a satin slip style, above-the-knee fitted dress, Chyler told Ellen she met hubby Nathan West at an audition for her first pilot when "she was sixteen years old".
It turned out Chyler and her husband were going out for the same pilot. Where is how the Meet Cute comes in.
Chyler said "I turned the corner for the audition (in LA) and there were four guys sitting in the waiting room". My husband "was the only guy sitting on the ground and I thought he was kind of interesting" plus "he was extremely good looking". "And I saw him and I honestly knew he was the guy I was going to marry. I had the strangest sensation. It was bizarre."
In fact, the audition was the location where the couple shared their very first kiss. Ironically, as Chyler mentioned on Ellen, they "had their first kisses in front of the network, in front of 27 network executives". Their first kisses were recorded on film which Chyler thought "was awesome".
The couple wound up booking a pilot together which was as star crossed lovers (Frankie & Johnny) on The WB's Seventh Heaven. Chyler's work in the three-story arc as Frankie, a young, inept mother who adversely influenced the Seventh Heaven family, was powerful.
The romance which started by chance had a happy ending. Chyler married Nathan West on July 20, 2002 and they now have 2 children. Their son Noah Wilde, was born December 2003. At age 24, she gave birth to her second child. Daughter, Taelyn, who was born September 2006.
Who Is Chyler Leigh?
Although she was born in Charlotte, North Carolina the sizzling hot actress was raised in Virginia Beach and Miami Beach.
Chyler Leigh began her career in front of the camera at age twelve, modeling for magazines and catalogues. Chyler's print success eventually led to her being cast on several national commercials including big time commercials for Coca Cola and Wendy's.
By age 16, Leigh had already completed several pilots (ABC's "Wilder Days" and the WB's "Saving Graces"). The late great Aaron Spelling confirmed the young actress' talent when he hired her a few years later as a series regular in the WB series "Safe Harbor."
Chyler also recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel to discuss her hot new role as Lexi Gray. During her appearance Jimmy mentioned that Chyler was recently living in Alaska.
Why? Her husband is from Alaska. He was born in Alaska and grew up there. Chyler laughed and informed Jimmy "they did not live in an Igloo nor did they have a dogsled. But they did have a moose living in their front yard".
Jimmy just happened to have a short clip of Hall Pass, which was the first TV program appeared on. The show, which Chyler co-hosted in Florida, was about teen fashion, beauty and styles. While the clip played, a cutout showed the lovely Chyler who was covering her face and laughing at the retrospective. The actress has changed quite a bit and now has a more sultry look.
Other Career Successes
Although her acting career has had bumps and detours along the way the actress has had some great breaks and opportunities that came out of the blue. Chyler recounted how her role on TV's "Girls Club" was tragically cancelled after only two episodes but had a happy ending.
When the show was cancelled Leigh received a personal phone call from the producer who happened to be David Kelly. He informed her that even though Girls Club was cancelled he had a role for Leigh on his show The Practice. Within a short period of time she was at work on the set of the ABC fan favorite as Claire Wyatt, a new series regular for the 2002-2003 season.
Leigh went on to star in the half hour comedy pilot "Lucky Us" and the drama pilot "Rocky Point," opposite Billy Campbell. She also guest starred on the drama "The North Shore" and, in 2005, starred as Carla Noll in the critically-acclaimed "Reunion."
She made Stuff magazine history by appearing on the cover with Mia Kirshner which was the first time that the magazine ever featured multiple people on the cover. Ironically she was ranked #41 in Stuff magazines 102 Sexiest Women in the World in 2002. By the age of 23 years Chyler was already part of nine different TV series.
Overcoming Personal Obstacles
So what were the tremendous personal obstacles Ellen was referring to when she introduced Chyler Leigh?
It seems that when the beautiful actress hooked up with her future husband, she was just sixteen years old and living in Hollywood where "everything is very accessible and easy to get".
The young couple have been very honest about sharing their detour into a period of drugs, drinking and partying.
As Chyler pointed out "we fell into it pretty hard for a couple of years" and "as a teenager you are still trying to find out who you are, where you are in life, your significance and worth. "We both had a lot of issues". We "were young, this business can be very confusing and there are a lot of things that are easily available".
Finally the couple "just kind of made the choice" to get their lives together. They "pushed really hard, got through it, obviously that is not in our life anymore." "Now we have two beautiful kids we can talk to about these experiences."
Chyler and Nathan asked themselves, "do we want to live like this, which was not really living?" and "we were basically destroying ourselves." They decided they "wanted to live their lives and be able to walk on the other side of it.
Because they got lost into a destructive lifestyle and made it back they are sharing their experiences to help others. As Chyler noted "the great thing about when you get in a position of influence is people see you and can hear your story." "It can really help a tremendous lot of people. And that's the point, really."
Chyler Leigh's Hair History
When Chyler Leigh appeared on Ellen she was wearing her shiny brunette hair in a slightly off center part with soft curls around the perimeter which nestled just slightly below her shoulders. The 5'6" beauty has hazel eyes and a face shape that is a cross between oval and square.
Her milk chocolate hair appeared to have a hint of chocolate cherry highlights. She was wearing a gorgeous fitted satin charcoal/gun metal gray short dress with a V neck that worked perfectly with her tresses.
When she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel shortly after her Ellen Degeneres appearance her hair was pulled sleekly back from her face and wrapped into a soft sultry chignon.
In September she appeared on Extra with her tresses worn brushed up and off her face ending in a sleek soft flip. She was a vision in a black velvet strapless dress.
Chyler Leigh has reported to the media that Lexi, her character is designed to be a brighter, shinier version of her half sister, Meredith. She is also supposed to share the same biological father so it makes sense that Chyler has similar physical features, hair color and style which conceivably would make her Meredith's half sister. Indeed, both of the Grey sisters are brunettes and appear to have similar hair textures.
Chyler has experience with wearing her hair in a specific style for a character role. When the ambitious actress won the lead role as Tuesday on That 80s Show, she also received the gift of learning to deal with wearing her hair constantly spiked.
That may not sound like a problem but in reality it was definitely not a minor deal. Chyler reported it was a "pretty painful process". Her hair was colored to "make it darker" and then it was teased at the bottom and then finished with "about 9 pounds of hair spray". She also was restricted how long she could grow her tresses. Because her character's signature punk rocker style was strongly tied to the spiked hair Chyler had to "keep the hair short enough" so that it didn't fall over "whey they spiked it up".
Bobbed For Beauty
Although her Grey's hairstyles tend to run the gamut of sassy ponytails or pinned up chignons, like the other female doctors, Chyler's official photos showcase the brunette in a shoulder skimming bob hairstyle. In keeping with a real hospital setting, Chyler follows the hair-off-your-face tradition and is rarely seen with her hair down.
How To Steal Chyler's Look
Right now Chyler is busy dealing with her two young children while waiting for filming to resume on Grey's after the writers strike is concluded. She told Jimmy Kimmel that her daughter, who just turned one, is learning to walk which "is an adventure".
Her son who is four enjoys visiting the child friendly Grey's set where he was thrilled with the candy in the crafts trailer.
To achieve Chyler's sleek and straight, slightly layered bob style, complete the following steps: STEP 1
Shampoo hair with product designed for your specific type, texture and current condition of hair. Consider using color enhancing products such as John Frieda's Brilliant Brunette, Sheer Blonde and Radiant Red shampoo, conditioner or styling formulas to punch up highlights, lowlights and make contrasting hues pop. Or start with a hair treatment program from Phyto designed to protect and maintain highlights.
For ultra dry or super fragile strands, select a super moisturizing shampoo formula like Phytojoba or one designed for your specific hair type, texture and current condition. Experiment with diluting the shampoo for extra gentleness.
Completely rinse shampoo from hair. Gently squeeze excess water out of the strands. Add a rinse-out conditioning product designed for your hair type, texture and condition. Work the conditioner into the driest parts of your hair. Leave on for up to five minutes. Rinse well. Finish with a cool to cold water rinse. Skip this step if your hair is fine, thin or flattens easily.
Towel blot your strands to remove excess water. Apply your favorite detangling product or leave-in conditioning product based on your type, texture and current condition of your strands.
Keep in mind that if you have fine or thin strands, you will want to use a very light detangling spray. For medium to thicker strands, use a heavier conditioning product.
Distribute a dime-sized dollop of the straightening product of your choice into the palms of your hands and mix well. Use your fingers to work the product completely through your tresses.
Beginning at the back of your head, blow-dry hair in 2" sections using a large round brush. To create extra volume, hold brush in the hair near the scalp until the hair cools (about five seconds), then move the brush down and through to the ends of the hair. Work around to the front of the head continuing to blow dry individual sections for maximum straightness.
To create a super straight finish, separate strands into individual sections and then use a hot flat iron to touch up any sections that require a smoother texture. Work around the head from side to side to achieve an even look.
If you prefer to add saucy curls to the straight bob separate strands into 1-2 inch sections. Use a 1 12" curling iron or hot rollers to set hair. Let new curls cool completely and then remove. Tousle with your fingers.
If desired, spray lightly with the hairspray of your choice. Finish with a shine serum or spray. Apply to the palms of your hands and lightly brush across the surface of your hair.
Optional Look - Soft Ponytail
If you prefer to go with Chyler's soft pony hairstyle she wears on Grey's Anatomy, complete the following instructions:
Step 1: Start with "day old" completely dry hair. Apply a small dime sized blob of Paves Professional FLAWLESS hair cream to the palms of your hands.
Use your fingers to evenly distribute the cream from the top of the ears down to the ends. Avoid applying any product near the scalp which can make hair greasy and prone to falling flat.
(Other creams or similar products to try: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Dream Creme, John Frieda Secret Weapon Finishing Creme, John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Satin Shine Finishing Creme)
Step 3: Using fingers, carefully smooth the sides and back of your tresses into a high ponytail that rests right below the top of your crown. Be sure that all hair around the front and sides are neatly pulled into a sleek pony. Step 4: Tie off the newly created ponytail with a "hair friendly" elastic band such as a Blax in the same hue as your hair color.
Step 5: Once the ponytail is carefully tied off, lightly backcomb the entire tail to give it fullness and encourage any texture to form.
Step 6: Use your fingers to carefully smooth the back combed ponytail hair down into a sleek look. If you wish, use a 1 1/2" curling iron to "touch up" the ponytail's ends and add back some soft curls.
Step 7: Spray with a great hairspray. (Hairsprays to try: Phytolaque & Phytolaque Soie for a softer hold, PhytoPro Instant Hold Hairspray, PhytoPro Strong Holding Spray for a strong hold, Rene Furterer Instant Hold Hairspray, John Frieda Crystal Clear Hairspray, John Frieda Firm Hold Hairspray).
Step 8: For added dazzle, apply a tiny drop of shine spray to the palms of your hands. Glide your hands lightly over the top of your strands, avoiding the roots, to add instant shimmer.
(Other shine products to try: got2b - Dazzling Shine Spray, got2b Glossy™ Anti-Frizz Shine Serum, Phyto - PhytoLisse (Formerly Phytodefrisant RelaxSerum).
Customize the pony look to fight your face shape, hair length and texture by experimenting with different parts. Try tucking parts of the side hair behind the ears for a different look.
The legions of fans of Seattle Grey Hospital are keeping a close eye on Chyler as the bright Lexi Grey. Dealing with the recent and sudden loss of her mother from last season, Lexi has tried to come to terms with how her bigger step-sister should be part of her life.
She is also dealing with some of the same issues Meredith dealt with herself including developing a friendship with George and trying to handle some of the shocking medical emergencies that occur on a weekly basis.
She pointed out to Jimmy Kimmel that the cast usually doesn't know what twists and turns the episodes will take because they are kept in the dark. In fact, she noted she had no idea of her brief flirtation with Dr. McDreamy when she signed on for the part.
I guess we'll all have to wait and see how Chyler's role on Grey's Anatomy grows and evolves. It will also be interesting to pay attention to what the show's hairdressers do with her tresses as her character transforms from the new intern to a full blown character.