Arriane Alexander, 1993 K-State graduate, was recently awarded a role in the season opener of the television show “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“Girls from Kansas don’t dream about being actresses in LA,” Alexander said in a phone interview.
Often, she uses this declaration when people ask her what drove her to become an actress.
A Wichita native, Alexander has always had the ability to entertain people, but said the idea of acting never entered her mind. She never anticipated she would get the role of meeting “Grey’s Anatomy” star Kevin McKidd, who plays Dr. Owen Hunt, in the airport in a dramatic scene that is a continuation of the previous season’s last episode.
“It’s incredible that K-State gives the opportunity for the Arrianes of our student body, even though they may not be initially affiliated with theater, have an opportunity to perform and go on to great things,” said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students. “I remember Arriane as a high school student. She had such a passion and energy for K-State. It’s great that she is enjoying such wonderful success. It makes K-State proud.”
Alexander is still remembered fondly by some of the staff at K-State.
“We are proud of Arriane’s accomplishment and are also fortunate to have such a talented actress as a K-State graduate,” said Amy Button Renz, president of the KSU Alumni Association.
Alexander said that her family attended K-State, so she wanted to as well.
“It was a done deal,” she said.
After graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in life sciences, a friend, J.D. Higgason, also a K-State graduate, got her interested her in the fashion field at Brighton Collectibles, an accessories retail store.
“I was always doing workshops and getting people excited,” she said.
Working at Brighton, she had an uncanny way of lifting people up, making people feel better about themselves. However, after working as fashion executive at Brighton for 12 years, Alexander finally decided that it was time to leave.
Not long after, she created and sang in a cabaret entitled, “Big, Blonde, and Beautiful,” describing it as, “the sounds and stories of a single blonde bombshell looking for Mr. Right in LA.”
Alexander said she loved singing and she loved entertaining people, and she simply could not get enough of it.
“I began to take improv classes, not knowing that it would turn into a career,” Alexander said.
She then said started auditioning for commercials, and soon began to get jobs hosting and acting on a variety of shows. She hosted “What’s Happening LA?” which was featured weekly on Los Angeles Station 36, showcasing exciting things happening in the LA area.
With the help of an acting coach, she got a callback with five or six other people for the role on “Grey’s Anatomy.” In a room of producers and writers, she recited the lines and secured her role as the woman who greets Dr. Owen Hunt at an airport gate.
“It was so nerve-wracking,” Alexander said.
Even more nerve-wracking was the idea of acting with Kevin McKidd, according to Alexander.
This nervousness was cast aside when the scene was filmed at 10 o’clock on a cold night.
Alexander said she admired the fact that the “Grey’s Anatomy” cast still had the energy to act with enthusiasm; McKidd, Ellen Pompeo, who plays Dr. Meredith Grey, and Justin Chambers, who plays Dr. Alex Karev, had been on set since 8 that morning.
“They had been working since 8 a.m. Their energy [always] has to be up,” Alexander said.