Going Mental for Marisa

In Fox's new drama Mental, Marisa Ramirez plays a lesbian doctor trying to keep the peace and navigate a long-distance relationship in a hospital full of patients gone mad.

BY Jim Halterman

May 27 2009 11:00 PM ET

Marisa Ramirez has taken the route of many aspiring actresses: She did some modeling, appeared in a Backstreet Boys video, and guest-starred in series such as Without a Trace and CSI: Miami. However, the beauty, of Mexican-Irish-American Indian heritage, has found the most success playing roles that are more than a little bit different from who she really is. For three years she played an African-American woman on General Hospital, and now she's taking on playing a lesbian doctor in prime time. Created by Deborah Joy Levine ( Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman ), Fox's new drama Mental, which premiered this week, takes the medical genre to an arena not generally visited on a weekly basis -- the mental hospital. Ramirez plays Chloe Artis, an out and proud doctor not only helping patients find mental stability but also trying to make a relationship work long distance.

While waiting to see how audiences respond to Mental, Ramirez discusses her first major gay role, who she'd like to cast as her on-screen lover, and why women don't seem to be hitting on her ... yet.

When did you find out that Chloe was going to be a lesbian character? I knew when I went in to audition for it. It felt like me as a person. I feel like I'm such a strong person. I teach kickboxing and have been kickboxing for 12 years. I talk about cars all the time. It wasn't a big stretch for me to audition for something like that because I feel like aside from actually dating a woman, I could be a lesbian. Somebody could believe that I was a lesbian.

You've played straight characters on General Hospital and The Young and the Restless, but did you approach Chloe differently? A little bit. What I loved about Chloe was that Chloe has a little bit of an attitude toward men. The other roles that I've always played have been the flirtatious women who always hook up with the men. So Chloe, given that attitude, was really Marisa just doing herself and giving men attitude, which I always want to give. I was tired of being a nice little girl all the time, so this was fun.

Tags: television

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